Not even Duchess Meghan is safe from Netflix cutbacks: Streamer drops her TV series
Netflix has scrapped an animated series created by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, the latest in a series of cost-saving moves after losing 200,000 subscribers in its first quarter.
The Los Angeles Times confirmed Sunday that the streaming giant has decided not to move forward with “Pearl,” a feminist children’s series executive produced by the former Meghan Markle via Archewell Productions. (The retired TV actor and her husband, Prince Harry, signed a major production deal with Netflix in 2020.)
In July, the duchess was “thrilled” and “delighted” to announce that Archewell had partnered with Netflix for “Pearl,” about a young girl inspired by “extraordinary women throughout history.”
“Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges,” Meghan said in a statement at the time. “I have been eager to bring this special series to light.”
Netflix cited several reasons for the subscriber loss, including rising competition and password sharing. Executives said they would consider a lower-priced option with ads.
The cancellation of “Pearl” comes shortly after Netflix laid off an undisclosed number of marketing employees, several of whom voiced their frustration this week on social media. The streamer has been scrambling to cut costs after estimating that it would lose an additional 2 million subscribers in the current quarter.
“Netflix recruited me seven months ago only to lay me and a bunch of other talented people off today,” wrote Evette Dionne, a former Netflix editorial and publishing manager on Twitter. “I’m going to take time off to just exist, so please get in touch if you’ll have editing and content strategy opportunities.”
“Netflix just laid off me and my brilliant team members,” tweeted H. Drew Blackburn, who wrote for Netflix’s pop culture website, Tudum. “Continue to cancel your subscriptions!”
A week after reporting its first subscriber loss in more than a decade, Netflix laid off several people working on its marketing site Tudum, former employees said.
Though “Pearl” is no longer in development at Netflix, the company still has various Archewell projects in the works — including “Heart of Invictus,” a documentary series about the Invictus Games executive produced by Prince Harry.
Other animated series recently dropped by Netflix include “Dino Daycare,” created by Jeff King, and “Boons and Curses,” created by Jaydeep Hasrajani.
“Our whole crew just got laid off from ‘Boones and Curses’ over at Netflix,” tweeted animation director and storyboard artist Ian Laser.
“The work we did was amazing. So sad no one will get to see the beautiful things we were working on.”
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