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'Walking Dead' producers 'did tone it down' after fans slammed violent premiere

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MIAMI — “The Walking Dead” producers toned down some of the violence in the first half of season seven after the strong viewer backlash to a gruesome killing scene in the season opener.

“Walking Dead” executive producer Gale Anne Hurd acknowledged Wednesday that the negative response to the bludgeon slayings of two key characters in the premiere prompted producers to make adjustments in episodes that were still in production at the time of the Oct. 23 season premiere.

“We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence,” Hurd said during a panel session at the NATPE conference. “We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season.”

Hurd spoke on a panel with AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan and “Fear the Walking Dead” star Colman Domingo, moderated by Michael Schneider, TV editor of Indiewire and editor at large for Variety.

Sapan and Hurd also noted that the extreme reaction to the season premiere underscored how deeply fans care about the show.

“When something matters a lot and it has a universality, then you’re bothered by it and you care about it,” Sapan said.