Following The Walking Dead executive producer's comments regarding the AMC series toning down its violence, fans of the zombie drama are up in arms over losing some of their beloved horrifying, gory moments.
“We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence,” Gale Anne Hurd said at a conference. “We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season.”
Proof of the violence being pulled can be seen in the midseason finale. Fat Joey's death was hardly shown on television despite being shot in full gory and brutal detail according to Joshua Hoover, who "took a hit" from Norman Reedus on set that day.
Why is The Walking Dead pulling some of its violence?
The show is being treated like the delicate tentpole it has become at AMC. With massive ratings comes the bitter sweet approach of appeasing fans to keep them around. Clearly, it is impossible to please everyone, though. Following the Season 7 premiere, a massive backlash followed from people crying out that Negan's slaughter of Abraham and Glenn was simply too violent.
However, those fans voices may turn out to be louder than the faithful 10.5 million who stuck it out through Season 7's first half. Following the premiere, a sharp drop of almost 5 million people hit the ratings, going from 17 million on October 23 to 12.46 million on October 30 for the King Ezekiel/Carol-centric 'The Well' episode. From there, the ratings seemed to level out a bit with peaks and valleys coming and the season ending on a three-week high note of 10.58 million.
It's common sense, realizing that continually dropping ratings would mean the end of The Walking Dead.
Such drops in ratings are alarming. The Walking Dead saw its lowest numbers since Season 3. TV, like most forms of entertainment, is a business. When people stop purchasing the product, changes will come. No one here should look at Hurd or the rest of the team and point fingers -- they are protecting their product.
Will The Walking Dead suffer without violence? No. Not only are the most violent parts of the show likely behind us but, seven years in, the show is driven by fans' attachment to characters. Aside from the violence complaints, fans also complained a bit about not seeing Carol for six of eight weeks through Season 7, so far. Not having Daryl Dixon around for a couple of weeks tends to frustrate a few viewers. Those issues will be resolved in the rest of Season 7 as more inclusive episodes are on the way.
If the executives are taking notice of what is working and what is not working with The Walking Dead, they will address the rest of the show's misses just as they are taking on the complaints of violence. Reducing some gore may or may not win back the people who jumped ship after the Season 7 premiere but it also won't alienate the current fanbase. It doesn't hurt to try.
MORE WALKING DEAD:
Andrew Lincoln's Epic Reaction To Season 7 Finale / Violent Takes Were Removed From Midseason Finale / Best Moments of 2016 / Who Will Be The Next Major Death? / AMC Stock Takes Hit With TWD Ratings Drops / Spoilers: How Will Season 7 End? / New Characters Revealed In Season 7B Photo / What's Next For Eugene? / What's Next For Carol?
The Walking Dead returns for the rest of its seventh season on February 12 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead's third season does not yet have a premiere date but with The Walking Dead finale set for April 2, expectations for Fear's return are set for April 9. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.