So far, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have made two TV shows for Netflix. One more show was canceled before it was finished, though. A story from The Wall Street Journal says that at first, Netflix agreed to make Markle’s dream project, an animated kids’ show called Pearl. Insiders told us why that show was canceled before it even started.
Pearl was apparently one of Markle’s ideas before she and Prince Harry moved back to the U.S., started Archewell, and got a $100 million deal with Netflix. She worked with the show’s creator, David Furnish, who is married to Elton John, to create and pitch this series to Netflix. The streaming service not only bought it but also told the public about it in May of 2022. But people close to Netflix say that the company’s leaders changed their minds about Pearl when they realized that Markle’s presence wouldn’t mean much to young viewers.
Insiders at both Netflix and the Sussexes’ company, Archewell, said this has been the problem with many of the ideas put forward under this deal. The documentary series Harry & Meghan was a huge hit, but their next show, Live to Lead, didn’t even make it into the Top 10 and didn’t show the Duke and Duchess at all. Sources say that the couple has had trouble finding projects outside of their own stories that fit with their brand.
So far, Netflix has turned down at least two other shows right away, but other shows have been given the green light. The next project that Netflix and Archewell will work on together is a documentary series about Harry’s Invictus Games, a competition for soldiers that he is very interested in. Still, unnamed sources told WSJ that they don’t think Netflix will keep working with the Sussexes after the deal ends in 2025.
This story came right after Archewell and Spotify suddenly broke off their deal. Spotify paid $20 million for exclusive audio material, including Markle’s podcast Archetypes. Last week, the two companies said they “mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together.”
As royals who want to work in Hollywood, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in a situation that may be the first of its kind. People are still interested in the couple, but it’s hard to say if they will be able to make a hit that doesn’t focus on their own story.