Duchess Meghan’s animated series ‘Pearl’ was dropped by Netflix

by Susan Ryant

Just so we’re clear, the bottom hasn’t dropped out on Netflix. The streamer is still huge and they’re still developing tons of stuff. But in recent months, Netflix has felt the ebbs and flows of the market – they dropped all of their Russian subscribers because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; Netflix has more streaming competition than ever before; profits are down, subscriptions are down and Netflix is considering taking on advertisers. All of those things combined have added to the pressure on Netflix to cut projects. One of those projects? Pearl, the animated series being developed by the Duchess of Sussex, David Furnish and Archewell Productions.

Even Netflix’s in-house members of the Royal Family are not immune to a wave of cutbacks going on as the streamer recalibrates after a precipitous stock drop incurred after a drop in subscribers. Netflix has quietly dropped Pearl, the working title of an animated series that was created by Meghan Markle through Archewell Productions, the shingle the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry set up at Netflix in fall of 2020 to create scripted series, docuseries, documentaries, features and children’s programming. Pearl was to be Archewell’s first animated series.

Pearl, which Markle exec produced with David Furnish, was announced with fanfare last summer, described as a family series that centers on the adventures of a 12-year-old girl who finds inspiration in a variety of influential women throughout history. It is worth noting that the project was still in the development stage, and insiders at the streamer said there remains bullishness on the Archewell deal with a number of projects percolating, including the upcoming documentary series Heart of Invictus. And Markle has spent enough time in Hollywood as an actress to have heard the word “no” in the past.

Netflix scratched two other kids animated series last week that were in production — Dino Daycare from Ada Twist, Scientist executive producer Chris Nee, and the South Asian-inspired adventure Boons and Curses.

Word in town is that even before recent events, Netflix had been telling producers to take some development projects elsewhere, after those producers had been given indication they were priorities. Clearly, Netflix’s inordinately high content spend is being reevaluated. Many have felt that the Netflix “movie a week” mantra was an overreach, for instance. While Netflix felt pressure to generate originals to bolster its library as studios cut back on licensing titles as they started their own rival streaming services, there is a reason that generating that much content has never been done before. It is just unreasonable to expect its execs to manage that many projects, and have enough of them turn out to be memorable. Expect the Netflix model to evolve; quality control and selectivity is actually a virtue for a mature streaming service.

[From Deadline]

Yeah, these kinds of market shifts happen and Netflix’s business model has needed tinkering for a while. Meghan’s Pearl wasn’t the only project to get canceled and clearly, Netflix is canceling or dropping a lot of animated projects on hold right now. Meghan and Archewell can always take Pearl somewhere else. Now, all that being said, the British commentators are in a tizzy and of course they’re making hay while the sun shines. Keep in mind a few things: Netflix is “too big to fail” at this point; other streamers and producers will be interested in working with Meghan and Archewell; this was not just happening to Meghan, Netflix is culling projects across the board. No matter what, the endgame for the royal commentators is “Meghan and Harry lose all their money and have to come crawling back to England.” And that’s a pipe dream.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.

North America Rights Only – The Hague, The Netherlands -20220417- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending the Invictus Games athletics events in the Athletics Park, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. -PICTURED: Meghan Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry -PHOTO by: INSTARimages.com Disclaimer: This is an editorial, rights-managed image. Please contact INSTAR Images for licensing fee and rights information at sales@instarimages.com or call +1 212 414 0207. This image may not be published in any way that is, or might be deemed to be, defamatory, libelous, pornographic, or obscene. Please consult our sales department for any clarification needed prior to publication and use. INSTAR Images reserves the right to pursue unauthorized users of this material. If you are in violation of our intellectual property rights or copyright you may be liable for damages, loss of income, any profits you derive from the unauthorized use of this material and, where appropriate, the cost of collection and/or any statutory damages awarded For images containing underage children: Be advised that some Countries may have restricted privacy laws against publishing images of underage children. Inform yourself! Underage children may need to be removed or have their face pixelated before publishing USA Rights Only, The Hague, Netherlands – 20220417-The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending the Invictus Games athletics events in the Athletics Park, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands.-PICTURED: Prince Harry, Meghan Duchess of Sussex-PHOTO by: DDP/INSTARimages.com-ddp_17043883This is an editorial, rights-managed image. Please contact Instar Images LLC for licensing fee and rights information at sales@instarimages.com or call +1 212 414 0207 This image may not be published in any way that is, or might be deemed to be, defamatory, libelous, pornographic, or obscene. Please consult our sales department for any clarification needed prior to publication and use. Instar Images LLC reserves the right to pursue unauthorized users of this material. If you are in violation of our intellectual property rights or copyright you may be liable for damages, loss of income, any profits you derive from the unauthorized use of this material and, where appropriate, the cost of collection and/or any statutory damages awarded USA Rights Only – , Tonga -20181025- Royal Tour of Tonga -PICTURED: Meghan Duchess of Sussex -PHOTO by: PA Images/INSTARimages.com -39331071.jpg This is an editorial, rights-managed image. Please contact Instar Images LLC for licensing fee and rights information at sales@instarimages.com or call +1 212 414 0207 This image may not be published in any way that is, or might be deemed to be, defamatory, libelous, pornographic, or obscene. Please consult our sales department for any clarification needed prior to publication and use. Instar Images LLC reserves the right to pursue unauthorized users of this material. If you are in violation of our intellectual property rights or copyright you may be liable for damages, loss of income, any profits you derive from the unauthorized use of this material and, where appropriate, the cost of collection and/or any statutory damages awarded Royal Ascot 2018 – Day 1 – Royal Carriages,Image: 375379936, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: , Model Release: no The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive to attend the Your Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception at Marlborough House in London.,Image: 515578072, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: NO UK USE FOR SEVEN DAYS – Fee Payable Upon Reproduction – For queries contact Avalon.red – sales@avalon.red London: +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles: +1 (310) 822 0419 Berlin: +49 (0) 30 76 212 251 Madrid: +34 91 533 4289, Model Release: no, Credit line: – / Avalon Meghan, Duchess of Sussex opens ‘Oceania’ at Royal Academy of Arts on September 25, 2018 in London, England. ‘Oceania’ is the first-ever major survey of Oceanic art to be held in the United Kingdom.,Image: 534070799, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: NO UK USE FOR SEVEN DAYS – Fee Payable Upon Reproduction – For queries contact Avalon.red – sales@avalon.red London: +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles: +1 (310) 822 0419 Berlin: +49 (0) 30 76 212 251 Madrid: +34 91 533 4289, Model Release: no, Credit line: – / Avalon Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in Johannesburg, on October 02, 2019, to visit a township near Johannesburg where they will meet with inspiring local youth entrepreneurs and view skills initiatives addressing the rising unemployment challenge faced by youth in South Africa Photo: Albert Nieboer / Netherlands OUT / Point de Vue OUT |,Image: 538547272, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: UK and US ONLY – DIRECT SALES ONLY – Fee Payable Upon Reproduction – For queries contact Avalon.red – sales@avalon.red London: +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles: +1 (310) 822 0419 Berlin: +49 (0) 30 76 212 251, Model Release: no, Credit line: Albert Nieboer / DPA Picture Alliance / Avalon