Prince Harry had high aspirations for his now-defunct Spotify podcast.
via: The Mercury News
To launch his career as a star podcaster and to fulfill his end of the reported $20 million deal he and Meghan Markle signed with Spotify, Prince Harry floated several ideas for shows that didn’t impress producers and that may have contributed to the company’s decision to part ways with the couple.
According to a report by Bloomberg’s Soundbite newsletter, one questionable concept would be for the renegade British prince to focus on the issue of childhood trauma and to interview a series of controversial global figures “about their early formative years and how those experiences resulted in the adults they are today.”
Some of Harry’s dream guests included recently indicted former U.S. President Donald Trump, autocratic Russian President Vladimir Putin and polarizing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, according to newsletter writer Ashley Carman, citing sources with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The California-based Duke of Sussex also had an idea for a show centered on fatherhood, while another would tackle a major societal issue per episode, ranging from climate change to religion, Carman also said. For the big issues podcast, Harry hoped to interview Pope Francis.
This report about Harry’s curious podcast ideas comes a week after news broke that Spotify was ending its deal with Harry and Meghan, effectively canceling a second season of Meghan’s 12-episode “Archetypes” podcast. The report also provides a backdrop to last week’s surprising outburst by fellow Spotify podcaster Bill Simmons, who took to his eponymous show to call Harry and Meghan “grifters.” Simmons, a former sportswriter and founder of the The Ringer podcast network, suggested that he had an absurd Zoom meeting with Harry to help him formulate his podcast ideas.
“I gotta get drunk one night and tell the story of the Zoom I had with Harry to try and help him with a podcast idea. It’s one of my best stories,” Simmons said. Back in January 2023, Simmons also said on his podcast that he was “so embarrassed” to be on Spotify with Harry. He said that the only way the duke can get attention is to write a book or give interviews, dishing about his unhappy life in the British royal family.
“It’s one of those things where it’s like, ‘where’s your talent”” Simmons said on his podcast in January. “Why are we listening to you? So you were born in a royal family and then you left. … You sell documentaries and podcasts, and nobody cares what you have to say about anything unless you talk about the royal family, and you just complain about them.”
After Harry and Meghan signed their deal with Spotify in late 2020, they expressed their appreciation for the potential of audio storytelling, according to The Hollywood Reporter. They said they wanted to embrace “the extraordinary capacity of podcasts” to “elevate underrepresented voices.” They promised to “produce and host podcasts” — “note the plural,” Bloomberg said — and deliver their first full series in 2021.
Initially, Harry and Meghan co-hosted a half-hour Christmas podcast in 2021. But their first full series didn’t come until August 2022. It was Meghan’s “Archetypes” podcast. Just 12 episodes, it was entirely Meghan’s show, leading people to wonder whether her husband’s podcasting career had been put on the back burner.