"The Walking Dead" is listening to its fans and toning down the violence.

At an industry panel, the show's producers acknowledged the backlash after the season 7 premiere, in which two major characters suffered brutal deaths. Many fans declared they intended to stop watching the AMC drama and ratings did drop somewhat for the first part of the season.

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

"The Walking Dead" has always been gruesome, but the deaths-by-beating of Glenn and Abraham were particularly visceral. "Our show's not a success if no one cares when you kill off main characters," Hurd noted. "[Fans] let us know they were heartbroken."

While Hurd believes there is a bit of disconnect between what people saw and what they thought they saw, she declared, "This is not a show that is torture porn ... Let's make sure we don't cross that line."

"The Walking Dead" returns for the second part of season 7 on Sunday, Feb. 12.

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