Is Netflix turning into Showtime? Like that premium network, the streaming service doesn’t seem prepared to say goodbye to House of Cards, the political drama that marked one of its earliest successes in the original programming arena, despite showrunner Beau Willimon opting to jump ship. Instead of sending the show off with him, Netflix is tapping Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson, both senior writers, to take on showrunner duties.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pugliese and Gibson will begin their stint as showrunners for the already-ordered fifth season of the Kevin Spacey-Robin Wright drama. Season 4 will debut on the streaming service next month – but in typical Netflix fashion, confidence in steady viewership for the series is such that a fifth season was, business-wise, a no-brainer.
Pugliese and Gibson started writing for House of Cards in its third season, the former scribing episodes three and 10 and the latter writing episodes six and 11. Both are established TV writers – Pugliese won a WGA award for Homicide: Life on the Street, and Gibson was nominated for the same thanks to her work on The Americans – as well as playwrights.
Officially, Willimon said he left House of Cards to focus on writing an original play – though many have noticed his exit came in the wake of lackluster reviews for season 3, many of which called into question how long the show could feasibly continue. Netflix evidently hopes that, even if Willimon wasn’t committed to stretching the series out, the influx of new blood will give season 5 a creative kick.
House of Cards‘ fourth season will drop in its entirety on March 4.