Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has been the victim of cutbacks at Netflix, according to a US report that says the struggling streaming giant has dropped plans for its animated series Pearl.
Announced with great fanfare last summer, with Meghan as its creator and executive producer, the “family series” was meant to have focused on the adventures of a 12-year-old girl inspired by historically influential female figures.
It was to have been the first animated production under the Archewell brand for Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, to be created in 2020 as a vehicle for their new careers in the US, following their split from the British royal family.
Netflix, once dominant among streaming platforms but now struggling with falling subscriber numbers and a collapse in share value, abandoned the project amid a wave of cuts, according to Deadline.
Referring to the decision unflatteringly as “a royal flush,” the entertainment industry website said the project that Meghan co-executive produced with David Furnish, who is married to Elton John, was scrapped at the stage of growth.
“Word around town that even before recent events, Netflix had been telling producers to move some development projects elsewhere,” the report says.
“Clearly, Netflix’s excessively high content spending is being reassessed. It’s unreasonable to expect your executives to manage so many projects and enough of them to be memorable.”
Netflix did not immediately comment.
There was also no immediate reaction from Archewell, so it was unclear whether the company would continue production of the Pearl or try to move it elsewhere.
Archewell’s other projects with Netflix, including the documentary series Heart of Invictus, about Harry’s Olympics-style Invictus Games for disabled former service members, are not expected to be affected.
The former working royals, who live in Montecito, California, signed a multi-year deal with Netflix in September of last year.
Netflix has released two animated series not produced by Archewell, Dino Daycare and Boons and Curses, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
In publicity material for Pearl’s announcement last summer, Meghan said she was excited.
“Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges,” she said.
“I am thrilled that Archewell Productions, in association with the powerful platform of Netflix and these incredible producers, 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.”