After actor Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of sexual misconduct when the Star Trek: Discovery actor was 14 years old, Netflix made a series of moves for House of Cards and its lead actor.
The groundbreaking series turned the streaming service from just a distributor of content to a serious creator of content. However, after five seasons, the show coming to an end will change little for Netflix.
On Oct. 30, Netflix and producer Media Rights Capital announced House of Cards is ending with its sixth season. Then, production was halted indefinitely, amid allegations that Spacey created a "toxic" work environment on the set. And minutes after a Variety report said producers were considering killing Spacey's Frank Underwood character, Netflix announced that Spacey will never appear on the show again. Netflix also dropped plans for a Gore Vidal biopic starring Spacey.
“Netflix will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey,” Netflix said Friday.
Although House of Cards remains a milestone for Netflix, the streaming giant should be able to survive without it. In recent years, the show's creative juices have dwindled, although fans thought season five was a return to form. Fans on social media were divided over the decision to fire Spacey.
It has only received a handful of Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for its most recent seasons. Season five won a single Emmy for its musical score, while it won zero for season four. In 2016, its only Golden Globe nomination was for Robin Wright, who won in 2014. Spacey won a Golden Globe in 2015, but never took home an Emmy.
Since House of Cards launched in 2013, the series has been overshadowed by other streaming hits like Orange Is The New Black, The Crown and Hulu's The Handmaids Tale.
"I think of House of Cards as a trampoline,” Paul Levinson, a professor of media and communications at Fordham University, told the Los Angeles Times. “Netflix put it up, jumped on it and Netflix got so high that it no longer needs House of Cards.”
Plus, Netflix's quick reaction to the scandal can also help Netflix keep subscribers. Buzzfeed published Rapp's allegations against Spacey on Oct. 29 and within five days, Netflix completely broke from Spacey.
Variety reported on Nov. 3 that Netflix was also looking into Spacey's contract to see if House of Cards could continue without him. Spacey was an executive producer on the show, along with creator Beau Willimon and director David Fincher. Andrew Davies and Michael Dobbs, who created the U.K. series that inspired the show, were also executive producers.
“Anthony Rapp’s story is deeply troubling,” Willimon, who left the show after season four, said. “During the time I worked with Kevin Spacey on House of Cards, I neither witnessed nor was aware of any inappropriate behavior on set or off. That said, I take reports of such behavior seriously and this is no exception. I feel for Mr. Rapp and I support his courage.”
Photo Credit: Netflix