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  • Matt Cundill

House of Cards Season 3: When Can We Talk About it?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019


This weekend House of Cards returns for a third season with One Nation, Underwood. Oops! Sorry. For those who haven't seen seasons 1 and 2, I might have just spoiled it for you.

Tough. Get over it. You've had 2 years to watch season 1 and 2 and if you still haven't, well the rest of us can't wait for you. And if you think I've just "ruined" the show, the creators also don't think much of your procrastination; their new ad campaign pretty much said the same thing I did.

There was a time when nothing was off limits. No one cared if you had the show recorded on your VHS. These days, we treat Breaking Bad like the Empire Strikes Back; House of Cards like a John Grisholm novel. We do not give away the best parts.


One of the struggles morning radio shows have had over the last few years, is dealing with the culture of PVR's and Netflix TV series. It used to be that with appointment viewing, we could all spend Sunday night talking about what we saw on Breaking Bad or the Walking Dead. However, over the last few years, morning show media consumers have demanded that plot lines not be revealed because they were watching the Patriots-Broncos game and have the show safe guarded as a Monday night after dinner treat. That's all well and good for the consumer, but what does that do for your show? Does it depend on the TV show, the show's viewers, or the way the show is distributed? The answer is probably a little from each, but ideally it's about the relationship you have with your audience.

Okay, so in the summer of 1980 if you had said, "I can't believe Darth Vader is Luke's father!" - that's pushing it. Maureen Holloway from Q107 struck a fair deal with her audience a few years ago: You get 24 hours to watch it on your PVR, then it's fair game. We're not sure what her Netflix policy is, but knowing Maureen, it is more than reasonable.

If you want to set fire to your broadcast Monday, what would be wrong with challenging listeners who watched all 13 episodes to call in your radio show and summarize the entire season in 30 seconds? Provided that YOU did not offer any spoilers nor leaked any outside those 30 second segments, it would make for some intense listening. It's a practice you could do for every TV show that gets the PVR treatment:

"We're going to be talking about last night's Walking Dead, so if you haven't seen it yet, we're in Spoiler mode until 8:10". Trust me, your audience will come back and appreciate the fact that you considered them.

Another thing to consider is Sunday night's appear to be a heavily PVR'd night of television as Football, Hockey, and award shows definitely can't be PVR'd for anyone who wants to check Facebook or Twitter.

And speaking of that - why is it that consumers can expect to have a spoiler come at them on Twitter, but don't expect the same from their morning radio show? Because your show is more powerful and has an emotional touch point that Social Media doesn't.

Whatever your approach, don't let the vocal listener disarm you from doing the best show possible. Be honest and tell them what you're doing - then do it.

#houseofcards #underwood #spacey #netflix #q107

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