‘House of Cards’: Robin Wright-Led Final Season Draws Fewer Viewers, But Skews More Female

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Netflix drew fewer viewers for the final run of “House of Cards,” but the audience was more female for the Robin Wright-led sixth season.

According to Nielsen’s Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) Content Ratings, which measures streaming viewership, the audience makeup for the final season of “House of Cards” skewed 54 percent female, after the last season that starred Kevin Spacey was made up of 56 percent men.

But overall, viewership for the first seven days since the show’s Season 6 premiere on Nov. 2 was down compared to season five. “House of Cards” truncated eight-episode season drew an average minute audience of 1.5 million, down 21 percent from the 1.9 million that season 5 averaged for its 13 episodes within the same time frame.

Also Read: Here’s How ‘House of Cards’ Wrote Out Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood

Netflix doesn’t publicly release viewership figures for its shows, but Nielsen last year partnered with a handful of major TV networks and studios to help measure streaming viewing.

On an episode-by-episode basis, the premiere of season 6 drew an average audience of 2.88 million (compared to 4.4 million for the first episode of season 5). Viewership eroded for each subsequent episode, with the series finale of Netflix’s debut original series pulling in 901,000 viewers on average within the first seven days.

Viewing for the new season showed more parity in regards to age demographics as well, with older audiences garnering a larger share of viewing compared to the previous season. Most notably, adults ages 18-34 comprised 22 percent of Season 6’s audience (vs 35 percent for Season 5) while adults ages 50-64 accounted for 27 percent (up from 19 percent for Season 5).

Spacey was fired from the Netflix series last December, following multiple accusations of sexual assault, with Netflix deciding to give the show one more shortened season led by Wright’s Claire Underwood character.

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Picture going through your Netflix and finding out “Seinfeld” went on without Jerry, “Cheers” without Sam Malone or even that the ongoing “Riverdale” marched on without Archie Andrews. Could you believe it? Would you still watch?

So far in 2018, three award-winning TV shows have continued on without a main character. One was planned (Andrew Lincoln on “The Walking Dead”). The other two, not so much (Kevin Spacey’s exit on “House of Cards,” Roseanne Barr’s firing leading to the spinoff “The Conners.”) The trend continues in 2019. “Transparent” Season 5 will be sans Jeffrey Tambor, who exited after he was accused of sexual harassment (Tambor has denied the accusations).

A show’s lifeline after a major character exits is never certain. But by looking at how that quandary has been met by shows in the past, maybe a little insight can be gained about how it can be handled in the future.

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Recently with “The Walking Dead,” Lincoln’s departure as Rick Grimes offers no indication that the successful franchise will be ending. In fact, his story will continue in a series of original films on AMC. “TWD” is still currently the top-rated series on cable, but whether Lincoln’s absence will prove costly to the franchise remains to be seen.

TheWrap looks back at 10 notable main character exits, how they were written off, and how long the show lasted afterward.

“House of Cards”


Kevin Spacey was fired from his role as president Frank Underwood on the Netflix drama last November, after actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of predatory behavior years earlier. Afterward, more than a dozen men came forward to accuse Spacey of similar behavior. Soon after it was announced that season 6 would be the show’s last, with Robin Wright taking over as the lead for one last ride.

Also Read: Here’s How ‘House of Cards’ Wrote Out Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood

Reception of the final season, which released Nov. 2, has been generally favorable. Season 6 currently has a 76% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Barring a spinoff, “House of Cards” is now heading into the sunset.

“The Office”

Steve Carrell left the role of Dunder Mifflin regional manager Michael Scott behind in 2011 after the show’s seventh season, telling E! Online after his June 2010 announcement that “I want to fulfill my contract. When I first signed on, I had a contract for seven seasons, and this coming year is my seventh. I just thought it was time for my character to go.”

“The Office” ran for two more seasons after Carrell’s exit, with “The Blacklist”‘s James Spader and even Idris Elba taking a crack at the role of regional manager.

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“Two and a Half Men”


Charlie Sheen played the antagonistic brother Charlie Harper in the CBS comedy’s first eight seasons, but was fired in early 2011 after he made comments disparaging the show and producer Chuck Lorre.

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“Two and a Half Men” would proceed without Sheen for four more seasons, replacing him with Ashton Kutcher as an internet billionaire who buys Charlie’s house. The show continued to modest ratings, according to Business Insider, but never the highs seen prior to Sheen’s departure.

“8 Simple Rules”

After John Ritter suffered a heart attack and died early on in the second season of this ABC comedy, actor/comedian David Spade and actor James Garner joined the show.

“We don’t pretend to know exactly where this will take us; we will take episodes one at a time,” ABC Entertainment President Susan Lyne told the Washington Post in September 2003.

“8 Simple Rules” would be canceled after its third season.


After the hospital-set comedy switched networks from NBC to ABC after its eight season in 2009, the show was rebooted to focus on a new crop of medical school students. Only stars Zach Braff, Donald Faison and Ted McGinley remained series regulars in supporting roles, with the rest of the show’s originals switching to either recurring or guest appearances only.

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The ninth season, which featured actors Dave Franco and Kerry Bishe, would turn out to be its last.

“That 70’s Show”

Actors Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher surprised fans when they decided not to return for the show’s eighth and final season.

“I cried. It was really hard, actually. One of those times you really see this incredible team. But the two of them are making choices, and I am super proud of them and knowing they’re doing amazing stuff,” Wilmer Valderrama, who played Fez on the show, told Fox News in May 2005. Kutcher and Grace were both pursuing movie careers at the time.


When the show began on ABC in 2010, the musical drama focused on Rayna James (Connie Britton) and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) vying to be the top country artist in the nation. During the show’s transition to CMT in 2016, creative differences arose between the show and star Britton, according “Nashville” showrunner Marshall Herskovitz in a Variety story in Feb. 2017.

“She loved the people on the show and it was like a family, but after four years, she felt she needed a different challenge, which is something I really understand as an artist,” Herskovitz said.

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Britton would be killed off in season 5 episode 9, with the show having its final curtain call a year later with season 6.

“Three’s Company”

Asking for equal pay as your male counterpart has become the norm in 2018, but for Suzanne Somers in 1980, asking for the same kind of money as John Ritter was asking for too much.

In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter in 2015, Somers detailed how she spoke out during contract negotiations for the fifth season of “Three’s Company” in 1980. Things came to a head when Somers asked for a pay hike from $30,000 an episode to $150,000, equal to what Ritter was making at the time. The producer resisted, and soon would fire Somers “to make a point,” Somer’s husband and manager Alan Hamel said in the same story.

While the show would go last four more seasons and launch a short-lived spinoff called “Three’s a Crowd,” ratings never quite reached the highs of its earlier run.

“Spin City”

Michael J. Fox’s portrayal of deputy New York city mayor Mike Flaherty nabbed him two consecutive Golden Globes for outstanding actor in a comedy and an Emmy for best actor in a comedy series.

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But Fox left after season 4 due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease. The show would run for two more seasons with Charlie Sheen taking over in the lead role.

”This big idea that the show must go on — after a while it just didn’t seem as compelling an idea,” Fox told the New York Times at the time. ”It just seemed like the right time.”

Side note: Spin City featured both Sheen (“Two and a Half Men”) and Britton (“Nashville”) as characters. And if that wasn’t enough, the co-creator of “Spin City” was “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence.

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Here’s How ‘House of Cards’ Wrote Out Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Spoilers ahead for the final season of Netflix’s “House of Cards”)

“House of Cards’” final season is here and now we know how the show wrote out Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood.

The short story is: He’s dead, which we’ve known for a while without knowing any other meaningful details. When the season begins, its mentioned that he died in his sleep and we see photos of Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood, now president, looking at her dead husband’s casket. But here’s what happened, as far as we know:

After Claire declined Frank’s phone call in the Oval Office (when season 5 ended, she was supposed to pardon him for, well, all that stuff he did over the course of the series), she mentions to the camera it was the last time they spoke. Two months later, Frank storms into the White House, furious at Claire for not giving him the pardon she promises she would. Scared, Claire locked herself in her room and found Frank dead in his bed the next morning. She told the public they were both in that bed. And, privately, she believes he was murdered.

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An autopsy revealed he died from an overdose from his liver medication, which Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) claims is something he wouldn’t do by accident.

And, of course, it wasn’t an accident, though what exactly happened isn’t revealed until the very last scene of the series. It turned out that Frank was murdered by Doug, who mixed up the medication. Doug says that he killed Frank because Frank was going to murder Claire for not following through on her promise. As Doug explains it, “I had to protect the legacy from the man.”

The idea here throughout the season is that Doug Stamper is obsessed with protecting Frank’s reputation above all else. While everybody else is scheming nonstop and jockeying for power, Doug is constantly switching sides as he tries to figure out which side will actually prevent Frank’s name from being dragged through the mud.

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And he murdered Frank for exactly that reason. If Frank were to murder Claire there’s almost no way he would have been able to get away with it, and would thus would be remembered almost entirely for having done that. So Doug had to kill him.

Spacey was fired from the Netflix series last December, following multiple accusations of sexual assault. Netflix also dropped Spacey’s film “Gore,” on famous writer Gore Vidal, in the wake of the accusations. Though he’s obviously never seen — even the photos of Clair looking at his casket don’t show his face, and Frank made audio diaries that are mentioned often but never heard — Frank Underwood’s presence as the show’s lead for the first five seasons is felt throughout the final season.

In fact, much of what Claire has to deal with as president is weathering the fallout from all the political deals Frank made while president. This is especially apparent with the Shepherds (Greg Kinnear and Diane Lane), who serve as the season’s main antagonists after Claire won’t honor deals they made with Frank.

The sixth and final season of “House of Cards” is now available on Netflix.

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Robin Wright Wanted Stephen Colbert to be Claire’s Press Secretary on ‘House of Cards’

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Robin Wright stunned Stephen Colbert on Friday night’s “The Late Show” when she told him he missed an opportunity to be in the final season of “House of Cards.”

Since Kevin Spacey exited the Netflix show late last year following sexual misconduct accusations, Wright’s character and former first lady Claire Underwood has become President of the United States… and in need of a staff of her own.

“You know, we wanted you on the show,” Wright asked Colbert.

“You wanted me on the show?” Colbert responded. “Did I say no? I-I take it back if I said no. I say yes.”

Also Read: ‘House of Cards’ Final Season Teaser: Frank Is Dead and the ‘Bodies Are Adding Up’ (Video)

Wright teased Colbert, saying that she heard a rumor he wouldn’t audition, but would have to be offered a role outright.

“No, I won’t audition, I won’t audition,” Colbert said with a laugh.

“You would have been so great. I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great if you were the press secretary for Claire,” she said. “How great would that be, with his humor?”

Colbert moaned in disappointment, “Oh, you gotta do another season. Oh, that breaks my heart.”

Also Read: Robin Wright: ‘House of Cards’ Was ‘Very Close’ to Getting Axed: ‘I Believed We Should Finish’

After Spacey’s departure, many thought “House of Cards” would end. But Wright said while being sensitive to the #MeToo climate, they didn’t want to let down the fans or the 2,500 people who would have lost jobs on the show.

Wright added that Claire’s arc was always meant to see her take over, be the first female president and explore the adversity she would face.

“When she ended season five and looked into the camera and said ‘It’s my turn,’ it was always going to be the exploration of that,” Wright said. “She is going to have to make friends so she can create enemies to get through this administration, and she’s up against all men.

Watch the entire interview above.

“House of Cards” returns for its sixth season on Nov. 2 on Netflix.

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Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) is a scary, dangerous man — he’s not the kind of guy you just fire and wish well, President Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). Netflix unveiled its official trailer for the sixth and final season of “House of Cards” on Monday, and the footage makes actual American politics look civil.

First things first: How are the new President Underwood’s first 100 days going?

“I think she might be the worst thing that has ever happened to this country,” one talking head opines in the preview.

OK, so, not great.

Also Read: ‘House of Cards’ Final Season Teaser: Frank Is Dead and the ‘Bodies Are Adding Up’ (Video)

Perhaps it is speeches like this one:
“The American oligarchs out there, they are coming for us,” Claire says at a women’s rally. “They are trying to strip me of my constitutional power as commander in chief.”

She’s also shedding potential allies, both stateside and abroad.

“I’m not going to be told what to do anymore, Doug,” she warns Stamper, her late husband’s loyal fixer. “Not by you or any man, ever again.”

Needless to repeat, Stamper is no longer in the employ of the White House. But that doesn’t mean he’s now without influence — it just means he needs to step out of the shadows to exercise it.

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Watch the video above.

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‘House of Cards’ Final Season Teaser: Frank Is Dead and the ‘Bodies Are Adding Up’ (Video)

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The official teaser for the sixth and final season of “House of Cards” has arrived. Here’s what we know: Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is dead, Claire (Robin Wright) is president, and the inner-workings of the White House have never been darker. (You know, in fake TV world, at least.)

“The bodies are adding up,” the D.C. journalists on the Netflix series are finding in their investigation.

Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) is also back to his creepy, threatening ways. “Did you think you’d seen the last of me?” he says to a member of the POTUS’ security detail. Later, he’s throwing punches.

Also Read: ‘House of Cards’ Final Season Teaser: Here’s What Happened to Frank Underwood (Video)

And you just know it’s not good when the leader of Russia is telling our democratic commander-in-chief, “You sound like a gangster.”

Watch the teaser via the video above, during which Claire promises, “The reign of the middle-aged white man is over.”

The final season of “House of Cards” debuts on Netflix on Nov. 2.

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And Claire said goodbye to you.

A teaser for the upcoming sixth and final season of “House of Cards” dropped Wednesday, showing the series’ new president, Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), talking to her husband — her deceased husband.

Yes, we now know that Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is dead as a doornail when the Netflix political drama returns with its last batch of episodes on Nov. 2.

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“I’ll tell you this though, Francis,” Claire says in the 25-second clip while standing outside, looking down.

“When they bury me, it won’t be in my backyard,” she continues. “And when they pay their respects, they’ll have to wait in line.”

As Claire begins to walk away, the camera cuts over to two tombstones, Calvin Underwood (Frank’s father) and Francis Underwood, with the latter’s year of death being 2017, when “House of Cards” Season 5 ended. Cause of death is TBD — at least to viewers.

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The video, which was tweeted by the show’s official account early in the morning, was accompanied by the message, “You should have known.” Yeah, OK, we probably should have.

After all, fans knew Spacey was booted from the sixth and final season when sexual misconduct accusations against him surfaced last fall, both on and offset.

During a recent interview with Net-A-Porter, Wright said that the political drama was “very, very close” to getting canceled by Netflix. “Because of the climate at that time. The air was thick, you know. Harvey Weinstein… People were [saying], ‘We have to shut everything down or otherwise it will look like we are glorifying and honoring this thing that’s dirty.’”

Also Read: Robin Wright Believes Kevin Spacey Deserves a Second Chance: ‘Every Human Being Has the Ability to Reform’

Eight employees filed sexual harassment claims with Netflix and “House of Cards” production company MRC last November, CNN reported at the time. One unnamed production assistant said he was assaulted after being assigned to drive Spacey to and from the set, and later told the outlet he was “cornered” by the actor in his trailer. In addition to misconduct on the show, Spacey was accused of making advances on Anthony Rapp, a Broadway and film actor, when the latter was underage.

The final season of “House of Cards” will center on Wright’s Claire Underwood. Wright fought with Netflix executives for the show to be able to get a chance to end on its own terms. “I believed we should finish. I believed we should honor our commitment.”

Watch the teaser below.

The sixth and final season of “House of Cards” drops Nov. 2 on Netflix.

You should have known. pic.twitter.com/UFGplyDSY1

— House of Cards (@HouseofCards) September 5, 2018

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