Netflix series to star Kevin Spacey

Netflix, which has become a US video giant streaming movies and TV shows, is getting behind a series of its own starring Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey as an ambitious US politician.

David Fincher, who was nominated for an Oscar for his Facebook movie "The Social Network," will be the executive producer of the political thriller "House of Cards," Netflix's first foray into original programming.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said in a blog post that the series will be available in late 2012 to Netflix members in the United States and Canada.

"We've committed to at least 26 episodes of the serialized drama," he said, which will be "the first exclusive TV series to originate on Netflix."

"While we aren't producing the show and don't own it, we are agreeing to license it before it is successfully produced," Sarandos said.

"We think 'House of Cards' will become a big hit among Netflix members and thus, represents a manageable risk," he said, adding that the company may back other exclusive series in the future.

Sarandos said "House of Cards" is based on a BBC mini-series from the 1990s that "explores the ruthless underside of British politics at the end of the Thatcher era" and has been reset in the United States.

Spacey, who won Oscars for "The Usual Suspects" and "American Beauty," will play "an ambitious politician with his eye on the top job," Sarandos said.

Fincher, who was also nominated for an Oscar for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," will direct the pilot.

Market research firm NPD said this week that Netflix enjoys a commanding 61 percent share of the US market for digital movies streamed into the home or downloaded over the Internet.

Entertainment and cable giant Comcast was next with an eight percent share of the market followed by DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, and Apple with four percent each, NPD said.

Netflix shares lost 2.10 percent to $209.40 on Wall Street on Friday.

The Los Gatos, California-based Netflix is available in the United States and Canada with members paying a flat monthly fee for the service. It has 20 million subscribers in the United States and Canada.

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