The viewers have spoken, and many blame over-the-top violence as the reason for the huge drop in ratings during the first half of The Walking Dead Season 7. Now, as AMC prepares for Season 7B, the last half of the TWD episodes are going to be much less brutal, and the violence will be toned down according to producers.
Where does that leave fans regarding storytelling? After all, the Walking Dead Season 7 premiere, the episode that everyone complained about, followed along with the comic books very closely, only making alterations for the Daryl Dixon storyline, which is the reason why Glenn ended up dying. Initially, it was just Abraham who would have met up with Negan’s bat named Lucille.
That whole debacle left part of the fan base angry at Daryl for not holding his tongue or for not doing something utterly heroic and unseen that might have saved them all. In any case, Daryl ended up spending much of the first half of Season 7 as a prisoner of Negan. That was something else that seemed to really disturb The Walking Dead fans and possibly was a reason that many stopped watching. It is clear now, TWD fans do not tune in to see their favorite characters in peril. They don’t want to see the breakdown of Rick Grimes or Daryl Dixon and they are still made that Glenn Rhee died.
The Walking DeadSeason 7 ratings actually started out on a high note according to Variety. AMC was breaking records with the number of viewers tuning in to see Glenn’s fate and to get the first real look at Negan. It was all downhill from there, though, with the ratings slide starting in the second episode of Season 7 and continuing on to the last episode before the break. By the time the TWD midseason finale rolled around, there was a rating decline of 40 percent from the first episode of the season compared to the last one before the break.
Many faithful The Walking Dead fans cited the extreme violence and over-the-top gore as the reason they quit watching. And despite warnings that the show was for mature audiences, many viewers were upset that the show was getting too graphic for their kids. Anyone who has been to a Walker Stalker Con knows that a lot of kids are fans of TWD and they show up in droves on the hunt for autographs and memorabilia. Whether or not children should be watching the AMC show is another debate for another time.
The upcoming episodes of The Walking Dead that comprise Season 7B are going to be less violent and less gory than those that came before. Despite whether it just worked out due to the nature of the episodes or whether producers actually made a concerted effort to tone it down, they are selling the less violent episodes as their response to the overwhelming complaints of the viewers and the drop in ratings.
Another thing to note about The Walking Dead Season 7 ratings is that despite the huge drop as the season went on, it’s still one of the highest rated shows on TV. Not on cable TV, but on TV. Even with a 40 percent drop in viewership, TWD still managed to pull in 10.58 million viewers for the mid-season finale with 6.53 million of them belonging in the 18-49 years old demographic. Aside from sports, The Walking Dead is pulling in the younger viewers in much larger numbers than any other television show.
During The Walking Dead Season 7B, there will be a lot of setting up the storyline so that Rick and his group of Alexandrians can go to war with Negan. This is very important and the “All Out War” part of the TWD comic books are considered to be the most exciting. However, right now Rick and his crew are just getting ready and there are still other people to discover, including the group that lives at the junkyard.
Right now, The Walking Dead is all about building up an army of allies so that Rick’s group can take on Negan and knock him down several pegs. That should satisfy those who are upset about Negan’s dominion over Rick and Daryl and it should also help bring back some of the TWD fans who weren’t interested in seeing the heroes in such a defeated space.
Be sure to tune in when The Walking Dead Season 7B returns to AMC on Sunday, February 12 at 9/8c.
[Featured Image by AMC]