UPDATED: Ahead of the Season 4 debut of Netflix’s House Of Cards, the Internet network has renewed the acclaimed drama series for a fifth season to launch in 2017. But it will continue without its creator, executive producer and showrunner Beau Willimon, who is departing the show, produced by MRC.
“Netflix and MRC owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Beau Willimon for his strong narrative vision for House of Cards over the show’s first four seasons,” the companies said in a statement. “As an Academy Award nominated writer, he made his first foray into television and built a riveting and critically acclaimed series, establishing his place in TV history. The producers, cast and crew join us in wishing Beau the best in his next creative adventure.”
There is no replacement for Willimon yet.
House Of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, has been a game changer for Netflix, putting the streaming service on the map as an original scripted series player and establishing it as an instant awards contender.
A playwright and screenwriter, Willimon made his foray into television with HOC, which he adapted from the BBC mini of the same name. Television is a grind, and a number of acclaimed creators have left their shows after four seasons, including Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and Armando Iannucci (Veep). Both these shows continued with new showrunners. I hear the circumstances surrounding Willimon’s exit are not as clear-cut, and he is likely not leaving of his own volition. There had been rumors about issues with the series’ production that would be traced to the showrunner. Willimon, who served as an executive producer on HOC alongside David Fincher, Joshua Donen, Eric Roth, Dana Brunetti, Andrew Davies and Michael Dobbs, is expected to continue to be compensated for his work on the show.
“I’m grateful to Netflix and MRC, my fellow executive producers, our two incandescent stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, our talented writers, as well as the incredible cast and crew with whom I’ve had the privilege to work,” Willimon said in a statement. “After five years and four seasons, it’s time for me to move on to new endeavors, but I’m supremely proud of what we’ve built together, wish the show much continued success, and leave it in the hands of a very capable team.”