By Lisa Richwine
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Reuters) – A Netflix Inc executive promised on Sunday a “fitting end” to the streaming service’s acclaimed political drama “House of Cards” but did not divulge how the series wrote out scandal-tainted star Kevin Spacey.
“House of Cards” put Netflix on the map as a home for original entertainment when the series debuted in 2013 starring Spacey as conniving politician Frank Underwood. The show’s coming sendoff centers on Robin Wright, who plays Frank’s devious wife, Claire.
“We’re really proud of the show, and it’s a fitting end,” Cindy Holland, vice president of original series at Netflix, said in response to questions at a Television Critics Association event where networks promoted upcoming shows.
“We always planned for season six to be the final season, and we are proud of the work of Robin” and the rest of the cast and crew, she added. The company has not yet set a release date.
“House of Cards” upended television when Netflix released the first season’s episodes all at once to encourage online “binge viewing.” The show earned widespread critical praise.
In November 2017, Netflix quickly cut ties with Spacey after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. Spacey has been accused by more than 20 men and has said nothing publicly about the allegations since an apology to the first accuser in October 2017.
Five years after Netflix’s gamble with “House of Cards,” the company plans to release about 700 original TV series, movies and other types of programming around the world this year. The sheer volume has led to questions about whether Netflix can keep churning out programming with a high level of quality.
“Quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive,” Holland said. “We are maintaining quality as we grow by hiring brilliant talent who are passionate about the stories they want to tell and giving them creative space.”
She also addressed complaints from some producers that their work can get lost in the flood of Netflix programming. Netflix devises a marketing plan for each show and is one of the biggest online advertisers in the world, Holland said.
She added that the best way to reach viewers was by Netflix’s promotion of the shows when people turn on the service. The company reported it had 130 million subscribers at the end of June.
“That is by far the most powerful promotional vehicle we have,” she said. “I’m confident we are doing justice to our programming.”
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Peter Cooney)