'House of Cards' Renewed for Fifth Season, Showrunner Beau Willimon Exits

House of Cards Season 4 Trailer H 2015

House of Cards Season 4 Trailer H 2015

There's good and bad news for Netflix's House of Cards.

The streaming service has handed out an early season-five renewal for the political drama — but showrunner Beau Willimon will not return, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. It's unclear who will replace him as showrunner. Willimon is said to be focused on writing an original play, according to a well-placed source.

“Prior to its fourth-season premiere, Netflix and [producers] Media Rights Capital are thrilled to announce that House of Cards will return for a fifth season in 2017. Concurrent with the renewal, creator and showrunner Beau Willimon is departing the critically acclaimed series," Netflix said Thursday in a statement. "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. 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."

Added Willimon: "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. 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."
The news comes ahead of season four's March 4 debut — and after season three's lackluster reviews.  

Willimon adapted House of Cards from the BBC miniseries of the same name. The show helped put the streaming service on the map with original scripted fare. The drama has been an awards-season staple from the start, winning three Emmys for its freshman run in 2013. 

Spacey also exec produces alongside Joshua Donen, Eric Roth, Dana Brunetti, Andrew Davies, Michael Dobbs and David Fincher.

For Netflix, House of Cards joins a growing list of series to see their showrunners depart, including Narcos (which is on its third, after one season) and Lemony Snicket.