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Meghan and Harry ‘focused’ and will want to avoid ’embarrassment’ over Netflix shows

Meghan Markle’s 40×40 initiative could be ‘dangerous’ says host

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Meghan and Prince Harry announced they had signed a multi-year deal with streaming giant Netflix in early September last year. Almost 12 months later, the Duke and Duchess have yet to release any content. 

However, they announced their production company Archewell Productions is currently working on two series – Pearl and Heart of Invictus.

While some royal watchers have criticised the Sussexes for waiting months before putting out any content, brand and reputation management expert Eric Schiffer believes the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are likely “maniacally” working behind the scenes to produce something of value.

The chairman of Reputation Management Consultants told Express.co.uk: “There are rumours that suggest they want to build something of quality.”

Asked whether a 12-month-wait between a contract and the release of a Netflix product is normal in the industry, he said: “It’s not incredibly unusual, especially given Covid and the productions being shut down and the likelihood that they are maniacally focused on wanting to put out something that is not going to embarrass them.” 

Seven months after Meghan and Harry announced the focus of their partnership with Netflix would be on creating “content that informs but also gives hope”, the couple hired Oscar-nominated producer Ben Browning as head of content for their audio and video production companies.

A few weeks later, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced on their website’s organisation Archewell they were producing Heart of Invictus, a multi-episode documentary putting the spotlight on a group of Invictus Games competitors from around the globe in the run-up to the tournament taking place in The Hague next year.

More recently, in mid-July, it was revealed Archewell Productions is working on its first animated series for Netflix, Pearl.

This show will count Meghan among the executive producers and will follow the adventures of a young girl inspired by influential women throughout history. 

Speaking about the new show, the Duchess said: “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”.

According to Mr Schiffer, this animated series is “very consistent” with Meghan’s brand. 

He continued: “And there is an audience for what her brand represents.

“Especially given how, I think, cleverly Meghan and Harry have positioned themselves to appeal to Gen Z and Millennials, who would welcome content along that line because they can relate to it and it’s straight off the headlines.”

Meghan and Harry have so far remained tight-lipped on the size of their deal with the streaming company but experts believe it could be worth as much as £100million (£72m).

PR expert Mark Borkowski said the deal was “fantastic” for both Netflix and the couple but it was going to present challenges for the Duke and Duchess as “producing content is very difficult”. 

Speaking to Canadian outlet CBC, he said: “Disney will tell you, you’re not making that overnight.

“There’s a long journey and you need people with the necessary scar tissue to help you.”

And royal commentator Daniela Elser claimed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have a “lot to prove, and fast” in the wake of their megawatt deal with Netflix.

She wrote on news.com.au in July: “In just over a month’s time, we will hit the one-year anniversary of the Sussexes’ Netflix deal being announced. 

“In the 10-and-a-half months since news of the ‘megawatt’ deal was broken by The New York Times, there does not seem to have been much movement on this front, publicly at least.

“While initially, the Times had reported the Sussexes would be making ‘documentaries, docu-series, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming,’ what sounded like it would be a flood of earnest content has not even amounted to a trickle.”

Meghan and Harry are currently on parental leave, having welcomed their daughter Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana on June 4. 

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