Gale Anne Hurd, one of the executive producers on AMC's “The Walking Dead,” has revealed that some negative fan reaction to the show's brutally bloody Season 7 opener has already had an impact on the series, prompting its creative team to reassess their approach to the portrayal of violence later on in the season.
Speaking in a Panel discussion at the National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Maiami, Florida, Hurd said "We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence," adding "we did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season."
The barbed-wired baseball bat bludgeoning of the Season 7 premiere echoed a similar graphic scene in the "The Walking Dead" comic, but with double the head count as — spoiler alert — both Glen (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) were beaten to death by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan.)
Hurd's sentiment was echoed by her fellow panellist, AMC Networks president-CEO Josh Sapan, who expressed his view the reaction indicated a deep fan investment in the show, saying "when something matters a lot and it has a universality, then you’re bothered by it and you care about it."
On a lighter note, Hurd also revealed that she and many of her fellow exec producers had initially been highly sceptical that their zombie apocalypse drama could support a live aftershow like "The Talking Dead."
"All of us said, ‘You’re kidding. People are going to watch a show where people talk about what they’ve just seen? That’s absurd,'" Hurd said, before adding that the spin-off had proven “absolutely brilliant — and not something we as creatives on the drama side could have ever anticipated.”
Returning Sunday, February 12 at 9 pm ET/PT on AMC, “The Walking Dead” stars Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peleteir, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Green and Danai Gurira as Michonne.