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PTC president slams 'Walking Dead' for 'brutally intense gore,' 'inaccurate' rating

Scott Garfield / TWD productions LLC

Zombie killing (and getting killed by zombies) is pretty violent business, as any regular viewer of AMC's undead drama "The Walking Dead" knows all too well. But for Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council (PTC), that's cause for concern.

Earlier this week, Winter wrote a letter to former Oregon senator Gordon Smith, who now serves as chairman on the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board -- otherwise known as the group that sets the standards for TV ratings.

"Throughout its run, the AMC program 'The Walking Dead' has featured some of the most graphic and brutally intense violence and gore imaginable," Winter wrote. "In the current season alone the show has depicted hundreds of scenes of grisly murder both of living and 'undead,' but human, characters. The intensely violent content has included depictions of the cleaving of human skulls with a machete, extreme gun violence, including graphic depictions of blood and brains splattering after gunshot wounds, and the use of a sharpened human bone as a weapon to stab another character."

Of course, that's all just par for the zombie-filled course on the show. But the PTC, a group known for urging networks to reconsider content and advertisers to cease sponsoring programs they find particularly offensive, isn't asking for the slayings to stop -- at least not yet. Instead Winter is focused on changing the prime-time hit's rating of TV-14.

"Clearly, this is content appropriate to an adult-only audience, but AMC has rated every single episode of 'The Walking Dead' as suitable for a 14 year old child," Winter complained.

According to his message, members of the PTC have mailed "thousands of letters" to AMC about "The Walking Dead's" "inaccurate age-based rating." Since the network hasn't changed the rating, the PTC wants Smith's group to take action.

The only higher rating that exists is TV-MA, for mature audiences only.

"Therefore, on behalf of our better than 1.3 million members, we call on you and the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board to immediately take any necessary steps to insure that this program is rated accurately, appropriately and for the audience for which the show is designed," Winter wrote.

Then again, "Walking Dead" showrunner Glen Mazarra doesn't seem too worried about the PTC's request. "If little kids don't watch @WalkingDead_AMC, how will they learn what to do in a zombie apocalypse? #Educational#PublicService" he tweeted Thursday afternoon.

But even if the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board agrees with the PTC's take, there's a problem with the request. While the group is in charge of monitoring how the ratings are applied, and welcomes viewers to contact them with questions and concerns, ultimately ratings aren't actually set by them.

"Programs are voluntarily rated by broadcast and cable television networks, or program producers," the organization's website reveals.

Do you agree with the president of the Parents Television Council? Is the show too violent for a TV-14 rating? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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