Will Netflix Delay 'House of Cards' For Emmys?

As of 2013, shows like Orange Is the New Black, The Killing, and — of course — House of Cards have helped give Netflix more U.S. subscribers than HBO (although HBO retains a larger presence around the globe, as well as far bigger profits) — and Netflix has done a tremendous job of turning those subscribers into addicts. These shows hook audiences by letting them binge on an entire season in one weekend and then making them salivate for more than an entire year. Season two of the Kevin Spacey-helmed drama debuted on Netflix on Feb. 14, which means that if season three were to premiere twelve months later, we'd be about halfway through that excruciating wait. But what if we're not? What if, god forbid, Netflix decided to postpone the debut of the next thirteen episodes?

There has been no official word from the streaming giant on when season three of Cards will drop, but there are a couple of signs that have me worried it could be later in the year than usual. And the biggest one is the upcoming 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. What impact could the Television Academy's honors have on Netflix's popular political thriller, you ask? Fair question.

It's quite the understatement to say that House of Cards has some stiff competition at this year's ceremony. You know it's a tough year for dramas when the hands-down best season of CBS' The Good Wife is shut out of the Outstanding Drama Series race. (Still not over that one.) The 2014 Emmys are almost certain to be dominated by two shows: the critically acclaimed final season of AMC's Breaking Bad and the critically acclaimed first season of HBO's True Detective. One or the other of those shows will likely take home Outstanding Drama Series, and either Bryan Cranston or Matthew McConaughey seems like a lock for Outstanding Lead Actor. Robin Wright has a better chance in the Outstanding Lead Actress category, but even there she has to compete against Claire Danes, who's already won two years in a row for her performance in Homeland. And we know how the Television Academy loves honoring the same shows and people over and over again.

All this is to say, it's looking very possible for a complete Cards shut-out. And Netflix certainly wouldn't be too happy about that — especially if Orange Is the New Black racks up the trophies due to its dubious submission in the less competitive Comedy category. Black winning big and Cards going home empty-handed wouldn't look too good for the prestigious drama. With a pedigree like Kevin Spacey and David Fincher, a certain amount of awards attention is undoubtedly expected.

When the Emmy nominations were announced on July 10, it had been a full five months since Cards season three had debuted on Netflix — and since most viewers probably binged it within a few days, it had been about that long since season three ended, as well. (Compare that to fellow competitors like Mad Men and Game Of Thrones, which ended their seasons in May and June, respectively.) If Cards fails to win big at this year's awards, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Netflix could push back the show's third season so it remains more fresh in Emmy voters' minds come the 67th Annual Awards.

This prediction of a later premiere jibes with the news that emerged earlier this year that production on the new season had been delayed about two months due to negotiations over tax breaks in Maryland, where the show is filmed. Though filming on season three is now well underway, the team did get a later start than expected, which by itself is an ominous sign. Couple that with the show's Emmys chances, and you have a perfect storm of signs pointing to a later-than-usual premiere. Keep in mind that Netflix has already set a precedent for pushing back Cards: Season two premiered a full two weeks later in the year than season one did. Could we be looking at something as late as a May 2015 debut for season three? Sadly, it seems likely — but at least you'll have ample time to re-watch all 26 existing episodes in preparation for the maniacal maneuverings of President Underwood.

Images: Netflix (3)