Netflix’s gamble on original content continues on February 1

house of cards on netflix

Detailed on Forbes earlier today, Netflix announced that the first season of David Fincher’s political drama House of Cards will premiere on February 1, 2013. Starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, the entire 13-episode season will be available on the first day of the month. Modeled after the BBC television drama of the same name, the show examines the life of unforgiving politician Francis Underwood who happens to have risen to the position of the majority whip in the House of Representatives. The show also stars Kate Mara from 127 Hours, Kristen Connolly from The Cabin in the Woods and Michael Kelly from Criminal Minds. According to Netflix management, they are so pleased with the first season that a second season of the series has already been ordered to begin production during the first half of 2013.

house of cards posterEarlier this year, Netflix started moving in the direction of HBO’s business plan with the release of Lilyhammer during February. Lilyhammer detailed the life of an American gangster that was relocated to Lillehammer, Norway after testifying in a mob-related trial. 

Netflix’s Ted Sarandos refused to release any viewership numbers after the launch of Lilyhammer specifically because the viewing habits of the Netflix user are vastly different than someone watching networking programming.

Regarding the discovery process of the Netflix user, Sarandos stated “We have over 23 million streaming members and they’ll have the opportunity to discover Lilyhammer not just yesterday, today or this week, but over the course of several years.  Some members have loved the show so much that they’ve already watched the entire eight-episode first season; we put all the episodes up at once for that reason. Over time, other members will hear about Lilyhammer from their friends or discover it through our recommendation engine, based on the shows and movies they’ve enjoyed in the past.”

arrested developmentBeyond the launch of House of Cards, it’s likely that Netflix will announce the spring launch date for the fourth season of Arrested Development in the coming months. However, Netflix and the producers of the show have announced that six walk-on roles will be given out based off creative entries in an Arrested Development-themed contest.

Using Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr to provide methods of entry, fans can tag their video, photo or illustration with the hashtag #BluthWalkOn. Entries will automatically appear on and the producers will choose the most creative entries such as a music parody on YouTube called Call Me, Maeby. Winners will be flown into Los Angeles during filming of the fourth season.

As Netflix faces more competition with expanded movies and television content on a rival like Amazon Instant Video or simply the option of a new service like Redbox Instant, the streaming video company will need to continue differentiating itself from competitors with original content. Other shows in the pipeline for 2013 include Eli Roth’s murder mystery show called Hemlock Grove and a 13-episode comedy series called Orange is the New Black starring Taylor Schilling and Jason Biggs. In addition, a second season of Lilyhammer is expected to being production after the show’s star, Steven Van Zandt, returns from touring with Bruce Springsteen.