Is Netflix taking over Harry and Meghan’s projects too? Now streaming giant advertises for staff on behalf of royal couple after Spotify takes Sussexes’ Archewell podcasts ‘into its own hands’
- Netflix is looking for a production designer for the couple’s streaming debut, Pearl, about a young girl
- Their £120m deal with the TV giant is yet to get into full swing more than 16 months after couple signed up
- Couple’s Archewell Audio was launched in December 2020 and has produced 35 minutes of content
- The £18million podcast deal was pledged to promote ‘shared values’ but no content since December 2020
- The audio giant has taken over production, with only one show streamed, hiring at least one new producer
Netflix has followed Spotify and is now also taking steps to get Harry and Meghan to produce some shows in 2022 – 16 months after they signed a reputed £120million deal to make TV.
The streaming giant, whose stock tumbled more than 20 per cent on Friday after warning subscriber growth would slow substantially in early 2022, placed the advert for a production designer on Instagram.
It came as audio giant Spotify reportedly took production into its own hands after the Sussexes’ £18million podcast deal a year ago with a pledge to promote ‘shared values’ has produced limited content.
Meghan and Harry have only made 35 minutes of content for their Archewell Audio channel, which was put together with Spotify’s Gimlet Studios, since December 15 2020. They had promised a series in 2021 but it has never happened.
Rebecca Sananes was appointed head of audio for Archewell in July last year – but ever since then there has been no update at all about the New York based producer, who has won the prestigious National Murrow Award for Best Audio News Documentary for her podcast episode: ‘Why Is Vermont So Overwhelmingly White?’
Now Netflix, whose huge cash deal was one of the first to be announced after they quit as frontline royals, is looking for a production designer for their debut, Pearl. The animated show, created by the Duchess of Sussex, is about a young girl who is inspired by influential women in history and counts Sir Elton John’s husband David Furnish and star documentary maker Liz Garbus among its executive producers.
The new job ad posted on social media states the person ‘will help to develop, create and support the aesthetic vision of the executive producer team’.
After the couple’s deal with Spotify resulted in only one show being streamed, the online audio behemoth is advertising for in-house staff to cover ‘every step’ of the process. The person will need ‘an interest in the intersection of social activism and popular culture’, and the show will feature ‘high-profile women,’ according to the job adverts posted on LinkedIn.
One producer will definitely work with the Sussexes own Archewell Audio team. Two other posts are also being advertised, but it is not clear if they will also be mucking in.
MailOnline has asked Netflix and Spotify to comment.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently working on documentaries and a cartoon series as part of another multimillion deal with Netflix. There also appears to be some movement with Spotify, six months after they appointed New Yorker Rebecca Sananes (right) as head of audio for Archewell in July last year
Netflix is looking for a production designer for their debut, Pearl. The aminated show, created by the Duchess of Sussex, is about a young girl who is inspired by influential women in history
After the couple’s deal with Spotify resulted in only one show being streamed, the online audio behemoth is advertising for in-house staff to cover ‘every step’ of the process for helping the couple make content
Meghan and Harry’s £18million Spotify podcast deal has been under scrutiny – after their expected 2021 Archewell series remained missing in action with the streaming giant refusing to say if and when it will air.
The Royal couple, who inked the lucrative contract last year, have been completely silent on the platform since December 15 2020.
They have only produced 35 minutes of content for their Archewell Audio channel, which was put together with Spotify’s Gimlet Studios.
Neither they nor Spotify responded to questions about the future of the aural endeavor.
But – unlike the rest of its shows – Archewell Audio is notable by its absence on Gimlet’s website.
And Spotify’s press release of December last year now looks to be completely off the mark.
It had trilled: ‘Archewell Audio will leverage Spotify’s global reach—with 144 million Premium subscribers and 320 million monthly active users—to spotlight powerful and diverse voices and perspectives.
‘The first complete series from Archewell Audio and Spotify is expected next year and will be available to stream for free on Spotify.’
But in July 2021 Rebecca Sananes was appointed as head of audio but there have been no updates.
Spotify announced the partnership with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archewell Audio in December 2020 as they were ‘citizens of the world’ who wanted to ‘elevate underrepresented voices’.
But aside from a 33-minute ‘holiday special’ that month featuring friends such as Sir Elton John and James Corden – and the intensely private couple’s son, Archie, speaking his first public words – there has been a deafening silence.
The latest move follows Harry and Meghan adding two more ‘entertainment’ companies to their growing business empire in Delaware.
The pair, who stepped back from royal duty last year, are setting up a complex network of companies all based in the opaque tax haven state.
Spotify had said it expected the first ‘complete series’ from Archewell Audio in 2021, but has since given no further updates.
In July, Archewell hired an experienced podcast producer, Rebecca Sananes, and confirmed it was ‘looking forward to sharing more content later in 2021’.
Now Spotify is hiring producers through its podcast arm, Gimlet, to work with Archewell Audio.
The jobs are being offered to applicants on six-month contracts based in Los Angeles.
One advert for a senior producer role reads: ‘We’re currently assembling a show team that will build and launch a new original show with Archewell featuring the voices of high-profile women.
‘The ideal candidate has experience working with high-profile talent, and an interest in the intersection of social activism and popular culture.’
In the meantime, Harry has guest-starred on numerous other podcasts and made a series on mental health with Oprah Winfrey, with whom he and Meghan gave their shocking TV interview last March. Meghan has undertaken several media appearances.
She and Harry are also working on documentaries and a cartoon series as part of another multimillion deal, with Netflix.
Gimlet Projects develops and launches podcasts for Spotify, often involving ‘high-profile collaborators’.
It says the new senior producer will be involved with ‘every step of the show including development, research and producing episodes’.
Two other producing jobs are linked to the advert, but do not mention Archewell.
Aside from a 33-minute ‘holiday special’ featuring friends such as Sir Elton John (pictured above, in New Orleans on January 19) – and the intensely private couple’s son, Archie, speaking his first public words – there has been a deafening silence. James Corden, who also appeared in the couple’s ‘holiday special’
Prince Harry and Meghan’s logo for Archewell Audio, their new production company, which was launched in December 2020
The long list of aides and employees that have left the Sussexes since their 2018 wedding
The diversity campaigner quit in January 2020 to become the CEO of water company Belu.
She has been in the director’s job a matter of months, after she was poached from William and Kate’s Foundation and had helped Meghan with the Grenfell cookbook.
The coupe’s former private secretary quit in October 2019 to work for Cool Earth.
A former assistant private secretary to Queen she was asked to help smooth Megan’s entry into the royal family. She had initially quit in 2018 but agreed to stay on for a further year before leaving.
Two unnamed nannies left their jobs in June 2019
The first was sacked for being unprofessional and the second only worked at nights.
A third nanny was hired, but not named.
Meghan’s PR chief quit in March 2019 to work for Prince William and his wife Kate. He had helped plan the royal wedding at Windsor but also reported allegations of bullying by Meghan to the royal household.
Meghan’s private secretary announced in March 2019 she would be leaving her role after the birth of Archie in May.
Meghan described the loss as ‘very sad’.Sources insisted the split was amicable as Ms Pickerill was moving abroad.
She played a key role during the Royal tour to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga.
The senior communication secretary quit in September 2018 after the royal wedding.
She quit her role as Meghan’s PA in November 2018 after being reduced to tears. The French assistant had been integral to the wedding, but quit after saying he could no longer cope with Meghan’s demands.
Police Protection Officer
The unnamed female officer quit as Meghan’s bodyguard in January 2019 after a year as the principal close protection officer.
Sources said she was unhappy at the way Meghan blamed her for a mix up at an event in Fiji when she stormed out of an event due to the presence of an NGO she was not attached to.
The executive quit her role as chief of staff after less than a year and was said to be transitioning to a senior advisory role. She has since joined a US start up.
Taking care of the Sussexes’ business
Andrew Meyer (second right) and Richard Genow (right) posed with Kamala Harris’s husband Doug Emhoff and fellow lawyer Patricia Wheeler in 2019
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a high-powered team of agents, lawyers and publicists that spin up companies, hash out multi-million-dollar deals and try to cultivate their image in the public eye.
Meghan’s business manager Andrew Meyer is known among Hollywood’s elite as a top money manager, whose clients have included Ellen Pompeo, Anna Kendrick, Adam Driver, Kathryn Hahn and Alexander Skarsgard.
The LA-raised partner at Freemark Financial was among the 600 guests at Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
Meyer works hand in glove with Meghan’s long-time lawyer Rick Genow, who has also repped Sir Ben Kingsley and Greg Kinnear, and is named in company documents for all of the former royals’ new firms.
Genow is a partner at Beverly Hills law firm Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smekinson & Christopher, LLP.
He told the Hollywood Reporter last year that he has known Meyer professionally and as a friend for over 15 years, adding that Meyer ‘doesn’t miss a detail and truly cares about each and every client.’
Heading up the couple’s public relations is former Pinterest communications chief Christine Schirmer. The Duke and Duchess scooped up Schirmer two months after she left her Pinterest role in July 2020.
Schirmer is one of Harry and Meghan’s most senior aides, overseeing PR firm Sunshine Sachs’s representation of the Sussexes as well as their UK publicist James Holt.
Holt handled the couple’s press relations in the UK, but was also promoted last year to Executive Director of the Archewell Foundation.
Meghan is said to have dropped her long-time agent Nick Collins last year. Though relieved from his former role, he reportedly still consults for the Duchess.
Meanwhile, state filings revealed last week that Meghan’s longtime lawyer and business manager have incorporated 11 companies and a trust for the couple since April 2020, including a firm apparently set up for Harry’s memoir book deal.
And according to The Telegraph, two further companies were also registered on the same date, including Cloverdale Inc – which bears the same name as the street that the Duchess lived on with her mother in Los Angeles as a child.
It is currently unknown what the meaning is behind the name of the second company, Riversoul.
Both companies are set up explicitly in the ‘entertainment’ space, meaning the couple now have seven separate firms in the industry.
The firms are all headquartered in the Beverly Hills offices of attorney Richard Genow, who has worked with the Duchess for years.
Also appearing on company filings for the firms is her business manager Andrew Meyer, a well-connected money guru whose clients have included Jon Chu, Anna Kendrick, Adam Driver, Kathryn Hahn, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Ellen Pompeo.
Meghan went to live with her mother in a top-floor apartment on S. Cloverdale Ave, Mid-Wilshire, after her parents got a divorce in 1983.
It was once the garage and loft space for the main front property.
Other companies inked by Meyer and Genow are two publishing firms.
The first, Peca Publishing LLC, was set up in September 2020 and used by Meghan to hold the rights for her children’s book The Bench.
The same day a second company was incorporated, Orinoco Publishing LLC – though it didn’t register its status in California until December 22 last year.
It is unclear what the couple will use Orinoco for, though it is likely it was set up to hold the rights for Harry’s blockbuster book deal with Penguin Random House for his memoir, due for publication later this year.
Some of the Sussexes’ Delaware firms were set up to hold the trademarks for their charity Archewell and its associated companies.
In a complicated structure, Harry and Meghan set up Cobblestone Lane LLC as the holder of the Archewell logo, but lodged another trademark filing for a second logo, with just the letters ‘AW’ on top of each other, under a different Delaware firm, IPHW LLC.
Cobblestone Lane LLC was incorporated in Delaware in February 2020 and five days later was used as the applicant to file for the Archewell trademark.
Companies that have already drawn international attention over the Sussexes’ high-profile entertainment deals with Netflix and Spotify include Archewell Audio LLC and Archewell Productions LLC.
One of the Duke and Duchess’ new businesses is Cloverdale Inc – which bears the same name as the street that the Duchess lived on with her mother in Los Angeles as a child (pictured her childhood home on South Cloverdale Avenue)
The companies are in the tax haven of Delaware, despite the couple living and doing business in California. Their Montecito mansion is pictured
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