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'Walking Dead' notes: Violence backlash addressed; Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus salaries

This was posted on Saturday, January 21, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Producers of "The Walking Dead" said this week that after all the negative feedback from the first episode of the season regarding the level of violence, they decided to adjust later episodes.

"We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence," said executive producer Gale Anne Hurd at the NATPE conference. "We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season."

She insisted they were not trying to pursue "torture porn," a phrase used to criticize the moment when Negan whacked Glenn on the head and his eyeball partially popped out. It came straight from the graphic novel version but was far more grotesque in reality. And he was a most beloved character. To see him like that turned off a lot of viewers, who fled in large numbers as the season dragged on.

As a Forbes writer wrote:

The show lost something here. This sequence, in which two beloved characters were killed, was consumed by the violence and gore because of how extreme it was. It wasn’t sad or depressing that these characters were being lost, it was just gross and weird. It made this entire scene simply disgusting rather than emotionally resonant. That’s why the violence went too far in that instance.

A GQ writer said there is more violence on some other shows but in this case, the problem was the way the episode portrayed the violence: "When people call violence 'gratuitous,' what they usually mean is that they think there’s too much of it. But the actual definition of 'gratuitous' is narrower and more useful: something that’s unearned." In other words, the episode failed to convey other emotions. It was just nihilistic without any deeper meaning.

By the time the debut aired in October, the show was well already deep into production on the second half of season seven. We'll have to see how the "war" between Negan and Rick transpires.

What this all shows it America's deep tolerance for blood and gore. I recall when I went to South Korea, they blurred out even instances where a knife penetrated the skull of a walker. There was a lot to be blurred.


The Hollywood Reporter does an annual compilation of salaries from TV shows.

In this story, they managed to dig up the pay of Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, the two biggest stars on the show and the most indispensable.

Without citing sources, it said they both recently renegotiated to make $550,000 and $650,000 per episode for seasons seven and eight, respectively. I suspect this only includes episodes they appear in so it's not quite as expensive for "The Walking Dead" as it sounds.

Among the top-paid actors on TV are the cast of "The Big Bang Theory" at $1 million per episode for 22 episodes. That makes sense. It pulls in the biggest ratings of any comedy, which has been the case for years. The biggest actors on HBO's hugely popular "Game of Thrones" pocket $1.1 million per episode.

Kiefer Sutherland is pocketing $300,000 per episode of his ABC show "Designated Survivor," the most ever for an actor in a new series.


Lennie James, the British actor who plays Morgan, was recently cast in a new British drama "Gone."

That has fueled speculation his character on 'The Walking Dead" may be a goner this season.

The Independent described the series: "Set on a southeast London housing estate, the story - written by James himself - follows Nelson “Nelly” Rowe who, when accused of a terrible crime, determines to clear his name and find the real perpetrator."

There is also worry that Sasha might be dead too because the actress Sonequa Martin-Green was cast as the lead in "Star Trek Discovery."

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.