– by Joseph Jammer Medina

House of Cards has been an important show for Netflix. It’s one of the main reasons audiences actually started to take it seriously as a producer of original entertainment. In a world where linear television was still a thing, and standard cable networks like HBO were about as far removed from typical network TV as you could be, it was a tough fight for them to win. But win it they have, and now when people think of Netflix, they think of high-quality TV (and low-quality films, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about today).

But, of course, the show was sent through quite the storm when its star, Kevin Spacey, was accused of attempting to rape an underaged actor some decades ago. Spacey was immediately dropped from the show, necessitating a rewrite of its final season, one that focused on his wife, Claire Underwood, in the wake of Spacey’s character’s death. But how would a Spacey-less season fare? Well, thanks to Nielsen, we may have an idea.

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According to the ratings service, in the first seven days of its availability, Season 6’s first episode saw an average minute audience of 2.9 million U.S. viewers. This compares to the 4.4 million of Season 5’s first episode. This is a substantial drop, but the difference isn’t so extreme when comparing the average minute audience of the entire season. All eight episodes had an average of 1.5 million U.S. users while Season 5 had an average of 1.9 million for its 13 episodes.

Also interesting is the gender demographics. Season 5 had a reported 44% female audience, while Season 6 had an increase to 54%, which may have to do with Claire taking on the lead role.

It’s worth mentioning that these are not official numbers from Netflix. The streaming service keeps its official numbers under lock and key, and have, in the past, disputed the accuracy of Nielsen ratings. But, as of this writing, its all we have to go off of, and even if they aren’t accurate, they work well for comparing shows or seasons, as their numbers are gathered using the same methods.

Does this decrease in ratings surprise you, or did you expect it to drop even lower? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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SOURCE: Variety

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.