Thursday, March 17, 2011

House of Cards

Hi, Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer here. We’re delighted to tell you that in late 2012 Netflix will be bringing to our members in the U.S. and Canada exclusively “House of Cards,” the much-anticipated television series and political thriller from Executive Producer David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey. We’ve committed to at least 26 episodes of the serialized drama, which is based on a BBC mini-series from the 1990s that’s been a favorite of Netflix members. Originally written as a novel by former UK Conservative Party Chief of Staff Michael Dobbs, “House of Cards,” explores the ruthless underside of British politics at the end of the Thatcher era. Reset against the backdrop of modern-day U.S. electoral politics, this new one-hour drama follows Spacey as an ambitious politician with his eye on the top job. Fincher, the Oscar-nominated director of “The Social Network” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” will direct the pilot written by Beau Willimon (“Farragut North” and the upcoming George Clooney-directed “The Ides of March.” )

The TV shows and movies that you are able to watch instantly are licensed from movie studios, TV networks, distributors and sometimes directly from the producers of the films and TV shows. “House of Cards” is unique, as it is the first exclusive TV series to originate on Netflix. Typically, we license TV shows the season after they run on a broadcast network or cable channel and occasionally, we have episodes from a current season, as is the case with “Saturday Night Live” from NBC, “Spartacus” from Starzplay and “Wizards of Waverly Place” from Disney Channel. In all of these cases, the shows are produced before we bring them to Netflix. “House of Cards” represents a slightly more risky approach; while we aren’t producing the show and don’t own it, we are agreeing to license it before it is successfully produced.

We’ve found the gripping, serialized one-hour drama, such as “Heroes,” “Lost,” “Dexter” and “Weeds,” has become a very important part of the Netflix experience and over the years, we’ve been able to add these shows from many different channels, with the notable exception of HBO. With David Fincher’s unique vision, the incredible acting skills of Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, and a great and timeless story of power, corruption and lies, we think “House of Cards” will become a big hit among Netflix members and thus, represents a manageable risk.

Our goal remains to constantly expand our selection of previous seasons of popular TV shows and we may bring more exclusive series to Netflix in the future, if an opportunity arises that has the key elements a show needs to be successful; great storytelling and great storytellers. We are really excited to be bringing you “House of Cards” and will keep you informed about the premiere date closer to that time.