The ratings slide The Walking Dead has the cast and crew paying attention to chatter among fans but won't stop them from enthusiastically doing their jobs.
Since the Season 7 premiere, which earned the second-largest audience in The Walking Dead's history, the numbers on Sunday nights have slipped to the lowest since 2011. With 17 million tuning in on October 23, 2016 to learn the identity of Negan's victim in brutal fashion, the still top rated show on cable fell to 7.85 million with Episode 8x05 on November 19, 2017.
Still, the show's cast and crew remain high-spirited and eager to produce the best quality product possible. During an interview which will air during ComicBook.com's After the Dead this Sunday night, Jadis actress Pollyanna McIntosh revealed her perspective of the ratings slide and how it influences her performances.
While McIntosh says those involved with the AMC series "do take in the fans of the show," she notes they have to show up to work each day and do their job. "We listen to what they have to say, and we're in touch with them in lots of ways," McIntosh said. "I think season seven knocked a lot of people sideways with the gore, you know? And we took that into account, but it also set up... the truth of it, this is a show from a comic book, you know? And people will be dying in hideous ways. I mean, that's part of the personality of the comic book. And as long as we keep the great character development and the great threads of morality and the human condition within there, I think we have some room to have a bit of fun with that blood and gore."
McIntosh would know a thing or two about blood and gore, having starred in several horror films prior to The Walking Dead and is currently gearing up to direct one of her own. Whether or not The Walking Dead actually cut down on its violence has been unclear, with some actors claiming more violent takes were removed after the Season 7 premiere's backlash and executive producers have voiced conflicting perspectives.
"I have noticed that in [Season 7], beyond the first episode, it wasn't quite as brutal or as visceral as [the Season 7 premiere]," McIntosh said. "But I mean, how could it be? We always knew that that was gonna be kinda the worst it could get with two people that we loved so much going in that hideous way. And you know, that really set Negan up for the guy that he is, so we don't need to see him doing so much vicious and violent stuff that's so very visceral, because we know he's capable of it."
When it comes down to it, however, the cast and crew are showing up to work, doing their jobs, and enjoying themselves as they create episodes of what is still top-rated show on cable with an avid fanbase.
"We don't concern ourselves with ratings at all," McIntosh concludes. "That would drive anybody crazy. You know, none of us are going around going, 'We're on a number one show.' We're just going, 'Is it working? Are you guys with us? Are you following the story? Are you loving what's happening? Are you hating who you should hate and are you thrilled and excited about what's to come?' And we're certainly hearing that message."