Posted on Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 by Germain Lussier
Previously relegated to just showing other people’s content, Netflix is about to enter the original programming business. The movie rental service has reportedly just locked down a $100 million plus deal to create and distribute House of Cards, a new series executive produced by David Fincher and Kevin Spacey, with Spacey in the lead and Fincher directing the pilot. Based on a British series and novel of the same name, the show will be a political thriller about a conservative politician with his eye on a high ranking office. And though the original was set in England during the end of Margaret Thatcher’s run as Prime Minister. this version will change the setting to modern America while retaining the blackmail and intrigue.
Netflix reportedly beat out other interested parties such as HBO and AMC by committing to two full seasons, something that is completely unheard of in today’s TV market. Read much more about the deal after the break.
Deadline exclusively broke the news of this deal, which marks a major gamble for Netflix. It’s posing itself as a next generation HBO, which also started as just a place to show old movies and now is best known for original content.
Because so many people were interested in the show (and why wouldn’t they be with Fincher and Spacey attached?) it leads us to believe the material is solid. However, television today is a crap shoot and no matter how great the idea or how popular/ successful the network, virtually every single series on the air right now had a pilot episode before it went to series. Just to make sure everything works. Netflix won the series by agreeing to buck that model and agree to air and market two full seasons of 13 episodes each, without seeing any of the show. No pilot. Just straight to series.
If House of Cards turns out to be the next Sopranos or Mad Men, then it will be a huge coup. If it turns out to be Rubicon or John From Cincinnati, then they may have a problem.
The deal is not yet done so there is no word if Netflix will simply stream the show on the service, offer it as a DVD rental, air it live or a combination.
Deadline has much more information about the deal, including how this will affect Netflix’s competition in Facebook and Amazon, but I feel like all major companies have to take calculated risks to expand and this might be a good one for Netflix.
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