In a shot across the cable industry's bow, Netflix is close to acquiring "House of Cards," TheWrap has confirmed.
The Media Rights Capital mini-series stars Kevin Spacey and the pilot will be directed by David Fincher. Spacey will also executive produce.
To get the deal done and to persuade Fincher and Spacey to sign with an unorthodox distributor, Netflix has agreed to a two-season, 26 episode commitment.
The original "House of Cards" was a British mini-series set in Thatcher era England. It follows a crafty conservative politician's efforts to out-scheme his way into the Prime Minister's position.
Netflix has been bolstering its television offerings in recent months — striking streaming deals with the likes of NBC and CBS to offer everything from classic television shows to "30 Rock" and "SNL."
However, it has thus far avoided offering original television programming. The company could hardly have made a bigger initial splash — grabbing one of the most hotly anticipated projects. The cable industry, which has privately feared that Netflix's expanded streaming service was cannibalizing pay TV stations and leading to cord cutting, will have even more cause for concern.
"House of Cards" success is not a fait accompli. Netflix's previous experiment in original production, Red Envelope Entertainment, closed in 2008 with few hits to its name. The company also said at the time that original productions distracted from its core business.
Netflix won't be the only one venturing into uncharted territory.
Spacey earned an Emmy nomination for his starring role in the 2008 HBO movie "Recount," but has largely steered clear of the small screen since winning his Oscars for "American Beauty" and "The Usual Suspects" in the nineties.
Fincher has likewise concentrated on his film work, most recently scoring a twin critical and box office hit with "The Social Network."
A spokesperson for Netflix declined to comment, but according to Deadline, which first broke the news, the company outbid competitors such as HBO and AMC to snag the project.
The pricey bauble will create further pressure on the company to hike its subscription fees, which currently stand at as little as $7.99 a month.