'House of Cards' Taps New Showrunners

Senior writers Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson will share the duties and take over for creator Beau Willimon on the previously announced fifth season of the Netflix drama.
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Melissa James Gibson, left, and Frank Pugliese

Netflix has found its new commanders in chief for House of Cards.

Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson have been tapped to take over showrunning duties on the streaming giant's political drama, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Pugliese and Gibson will take over the reins from creator Beau Willimon, who in January exited the series when it was renewed for a fifth season. Willimon and House of Cards helped put the streaming giant on the map as a destination for original scripted programming.  

Pugliese and Gibson boarded House of Cards as senior writers in season three. Pugliese penned episodes three and 10; Gibson wrote episodes six and 11.

"I welcome Frank and Melissa in their new roles on House of Cards and look forward to collaborating with them and our creative team on season five,“ executive producer/star Kevin Spacey said Friday in a statement.
Added Pugliese and Gibson in a joint statement: "We and the rest of the House of Cards writers look forward to the next chapter of the reign of Underwood."

Pugliese's TV credits include winning a WGA Award for Homicide: Life on the Street and reuniting with Tom Fontana for Canal Plus series Borgia. He has penned episodes of Copper, Law & Order and, like Willimon, is a playwright. His theater credits include Aven'U Boys, The King of Connecticut, The Talk and The Alarm. Pugliese is repped by WME and Manage-ment.

Gibson's TV credits include a stint on FX's The Americans, which earned her a WGA nomination. She is also an established playwright whose credits include Placebo, What Rhimes With America, Suitcase and Brooklyn Bridge, and she penned the feature film All Is Bright. She is repped by CAA and Manage-ment.

Willimon, sources tell THR, exited House of Cards to focus on writing an original play.

"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," he said in a statement at the time of his departure.

News of Willimon's departure came two months 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 drama has been an awards-season staple from the start, winning three Emmys for its freshman run in 2013. Tucker Gates (Homeland), star Robin Wright, Tom Shankland (The Missing), Alex Graves (Game of Thrones, Bloodline), Kari Skogland (The Walking Dead) and Jakob Verbruggen (The Fall) all directed episodes of season four. Executive producers include Gibson, Pugliese, Spacey, David Fincher, Eric Roth, Willimon, Joshua Donen, Dana Brunetti, Andrew Davies, Michael Dobbs and Wright.