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COLUMN: 'House of Cards' cancelation may have just been a PR move



Amid allegations of sexual assault and a surprise coming-out story from Kevin Spacey, Netflix has decided to pull the plug on its original series "House of Cards."

It is incredible Netflix has canceled a critically-acclaimed show, but this is what should be expected of mega corporations when such frightening allegations are made against stars of television shows. 

There is more to this cancellation than Spacey’s allegations, though. It appears Netflix could have used Spacey's allegations as a more PR-friendly reason to cancel "House of Cards."

Apparently, Netflix made the decision to end the show after its sixth season months ago

This may just be a convenient occasion for Netflix officials to announce the end of the show. Since its original announcement Oct. 30, Netflix has modified its statement to say production is suspended indefinitely

The decision to suspend production now is wiser than pushing through to release the sixth and final season. 

By releasing the final season, Netflix would be advertising the message that it values the money from streams of the last season of the show more than it condemns alleged violent actions of its actors. 

In all reality, Netflix has canceled its shows for lesser reasons. While it was shocking to hear that "House of Cards" was getting canceled, one must remember the shows Netflix canceled this summer, such as "Sense8" and "The Get Down." 

These shows contained incredible diversity and ingenuity. They were canceled because they were costing the company too much money, and it couldn’t afford to carry on.

"House of Cards" reportedly cost Netflix approximately $60 million per season, making it the fifth most expensive show on Netflix. The most recent season of "House of Cards" had the lowest score on Rotten Tomatoes at 69 percent, compared to the fourth season's rating of 88 percent. 

Netflix has budgeted over $6 billion for its upcoming original series in the next year, even though it is supposedly $4.8 billion in debt. 

Netflix CFO David Wells justified the move by saying the company used to be “project-constrained” and did not worry about its budget. However, it would like to make its content more "budget-constrained" moving forward.

Perhaps the combination of Spacey’s actions, the cost of each season and falling ratings are what lead to the cancellation of the show. 

It would be a show of solidarity for sexual assault victims if his alleged actions alone were what motivated Netflix to cancel the show. However, the other factors in play suggest the actions were just something convenient it could use as a good PR move. 

mmgarbac@indiana.edu

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