Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been told to come up with more must-watch shows for Netflix if they want to be paid.
via: Daily Beast
Netflix has reportedly told Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to come up with new shows if they want to be paid £40m ($51m) in outstanding fees, the Sun on Sunday reports. So far, the couple, who made last year’s top-rated documentary Harry & Meghan, have been allegedly paid half of their £81m ($103m). “They will get the rest only if they produce content of real interest, an industry source has revealed,” the paper said.
If Harry and Meghan don’t come up with the goods, the Sun on Sunday reports the end of the couple’s relationship with the streaming service won’t be as publicly humiliating as the recent loss of their Spotify deal, after which Spotify executive Bill Simmons labeled them “fucking grifters.”
“There’s no question of a headline-grabbing, public parting of the way,” a Netflix source told the paper. “Netflix was pleased to sign Harry and Meghan, and is looking for some great ideas going forward. But the remainder of the deal relies on them producing those good ideas. The deal’s continually under review which is normal for ones of this magnitude.”
Last week, a Netflix source told the paper that “the lemon has been fully squeezed” when it came to Harry and Meghan producing content for the streamer. Meghan, one source said, “lives in her own bubble,” and does not seem to have “grasped the economic reality”. The source said: “There is a less friendly attitude from some at the top. The feeling is that the lemon has been fully squeezed. The big bucks Harry and Meghan signed on for do not exist today.”
To add to their humiliating broadcasting woes, it has emerged that Meghan wrote Taylor Swift a personal letter asking her to appear on her now-canceled Spotify podcast, Archetypes. “The pop star declined, through a representative,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The news follows Bloomberg’s report that Prince Harry had hoped to make a podcast talking to guests like Vladimir Putin, Mark Zuckerberg, and Donald Trump, “about their early formative years and how those experiences resulted in the adults they are today.” Another show would have looked at fatherhood, while another—on “major societal conversations…from climate change to religion”—would have featured Pope Francis. None came to be.
The detailed WSJ report charts Prince Harry and Meghan’s frustrated efforts to launch themselves as Hollywood players. The WSJ said Harry and Meghan’s Hollywood foray “is looking like a flop,” with “more cancellations and rejections than produced shows.” There has been a “graveyard” of projects that never came to be, including an animated children’s show called Pearl canceled by Netflix, “as well as at least two TV ideas that the streaming service rejected within the past year.”
One never-to-see-the-light-of-day show was described as Emily in Paris, but about a man, and another about a gay-themed show akin to British hit, Heartstopper. One show going ahead is a documentary about Harry’s Invictus Games; another show, a Great Expectations prequel called Bad Manners focused on Miss Havisham, still awaits the green light.
Netflix is unlikely to renew Harry and Meghan’s deal, which runs through 2025, the sources told the WSJ.
A second season of Meghan’s Archetypes show was discussed, then nixed—despite the show going to the top of Spotify’s charts upon its release. “Archewell didn’t make good on all of the terms of the Spotify deal, which included each of the Sussexes voicing and being directly involved in a podcast. Harry, in particular, struggled to land on an idea,” the WSJ reported. Various ideas of his—about veterans, misinformation, as someone new to living in America, and a show which he would have co-hosted with comedian Hasan Minhaj—came to naught.
Harry and Meghan’s Hollywood efforts were “undermined by their inexperience as producers and trouble finding material consistent with their brand, as well as problems beyond their control, including a retrenchment in the entertainment and podcasting businesses,” the WSJ says.