House of Cards is officially returning for its final season without disgraced star Kevin Spacey.
On Monday, Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos confirmed the streaming service’s plans for ending its popular original series about (fictional) deception and criminal behavior in the White House. Speaking to analysts and investors at UBS’s Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, Sarandos announced that Netflix will resume production on House of Cards‘ sixth and final season in 2018 and that Spacey’s character Frank Underwood will not be a part of the show’s final season.
Sarandos did not offer a timeframe for when the final season of House of Cards will be available for streaming on Netflix, but he said the season will be comprised of eight episodes after the previous five seasons all featured 13 episodes each.
Sarandos reportedly said the series’ final bow will “bring closure of the show for fans,” many of whom had been concerned that Netflix would never wrap up the show after firing Spacey last month in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against the star. Netflix suspended production of the sixth season of House of Cards at the end of October after actor Anthony Rapp came forward to accuse Spacey of making unwanted sexual advances toward him more than three decades ago when Rapp was underage. In early November, Netflix went a step further, announcing that the service would no longer work with Spacey, also deciding to shelve the release of the actor’s Gore Vidal biopic, a Netflix original feature film that was already in post-production this fall.
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(Spacey said he did not recall the incident described by Rapp, but apologized for what he said would have been “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”)
Sarandos added that resuming production on House of Cards also means that Netflix will be able to put the roughly 2,000 people in Baltimore, Md. (where the show is filmed) back to work. Rapp said recently that he’s experienced some backlash for going public with his accusations against Spacey, including from some House of Cards fans who had criticized Rapp for putting House of Cards‘ employees out of work indefinitely.
House of Cards was among Netflix’s first original series to become a breakout hit, earning a large following of fans along with critical acclaim after the first season of the David Fincher-produced political thriller debuted in 2013. That year, House of Cards became the first online-only series to earn an Emmy nomination and the show has since won seven Emmys in total, with Spacey nominated five times (but never winning) for his portrayal of Underwood.