Netflix axing of Pearl branded ‘a complete disaster’ for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan Markle: TV host says Pearl ‘dead in the water’
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Meghan and Prince Harry’s production powerhouse, Archewell Productions, announced last summer it was working on its first animated series, Pearl. However, it recently emerged streaming giant Netflix has axed this series alongside a number of other animated programmes after experiencing a dip in its subscriber numbers.
This move could be a major blow in particular for the Duchess of Sussex, according to commentator Rafe Heydel-Mankoo, as – while she may be focused on a new project behind the scenes – Meghan is currently not known to be working on a programme for Netflix.
Mr Heydel-Mankoo told GB News: “That’s a complete disaster for Harry and Meghan and Archewell Productions.
“Netflix is having big problems with a dip in subscriber numbers, falling revenues, a plummeting share price, having spent too much on other programmes and is cutting back, particularly on animated series.
“So whilst Prince Harry’s Invictus documentary is carrying on, there is nothing for Meghan to show for it and it’s really calling into question whether they can walk the walk – they’re good at talking the talk.”
Meghan and David Furnish were two of the executive producers of Pearl, as announced in a statement shared on the Archewell website last year.
The show would have focused on the adventures of its 12-year-old female protagonist who finds inspiration in a number of influential women throughout history.
Speaking enthusiastically about the project, Meghan said last summer: “Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges.
“I’m thrilled that Archewell Productions, partnered with the powerhouse platform of Netflix and these incredible producers, will together bring you this new animated series, which celebrates extraordinary women throughout history.
“David Furnish and I have been eager to bring this special series to light, and I am delighted we are able to announce it today.”
While Meghan’s first project as an executive director experienced a major setback, Prince Harry is carrying on with the development of Heart of Invictus, a docu-series focused on a group of Invictus Games competitors from around the globe.
The Duke, who is one of the show’s executive producers, was spotted being followed around by cameras during last month’s Invictus Games at The Hague.
Meghan and Harry announced their multi-year deal with Neflix in September 2020, a few months after they officially stepped down as working royals.
Speaking about their new role of content producers for the US giant, the Duke and Duchess said they wanted to focus on “creating content that informs but also gives hope”.
They added: “As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.”
Netflix’s “unprecedented reach”, they added, would “help us share impactful content that unlocks action”.
The streaming platform said in April to have seen a drop in its total number of subscribers by 200,000 within the first three months of the year.
And, admitting its woes are likely to continue for a few months, warned it was expecting to see an additional two million users leaving the service by July.
This brought the company to cutting not just Pearl but also a number of other animated shows, including Boons & Curses.
Despite Netflix’s move, Meghan surely has her hands full ahead of the launch of Archetypes, the first podcast she is to host for Spotify.
In December two years ago, it emerged the Sussexes had struck a contract with audio streaming platform Spotify, for which they are to create exclusive podcasts.
The duo have so far only released a holiday special, which featured little Archie speaking a few words.
However, last month it was announced the Duchess will take her listeners on a journey looking into stereotypes and labels “that hold women back”.
In a trailer, Meghan said she will “speak with historians and experts to uncover the origin of these stereotypes and have uncensored conversations with women who know all too well how these typecasts shape narratives.”
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