Harry and Meghan sign production deal with Netflix

Author: Frank Pallotta, CNN Business
FILE – In this Jan. 7, 2020, file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House in London. Six months after detangling their work lives from the British royal family, the couple have signed a multiyear deal with Netflix. According to a statement Wednesday, they plan to produce nature series, documentaries and children’s programming through a new production company. The two recently relocated to Santa Barbara, California, with baby Archie. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

First, Netflix had “The Crown.” Now it has Harry and Meghan.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have signed a multi-year production deal with the streaming company that will have the two former royals producing exclusive films and series for the service, Netflix announced on Wednesday.

That includes scripted series, docu-series, documentaries, features and children’s programming. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may appear on camera for some of the projects, but Meghan has no plans to return to acting. Markle starred on USA Network’s legal drama “Suits” from 2011 to 2018.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The news was first reported by The New York Times.

Netflix noted that the two are “committed to highlighting diverse voices in front of and behind the camera” and “to diverse hiring practices for the key roles they are actively filling at their production company.”

In January, Harry and Meghan announced that they were “stepping back” from their roles of members of the British royal family, and would split time between the UK and North America. The news became a worldwide story and sent shock waves through Britain.

Since then, the two have purchased a home in California, and dabbled in the entertainment industry. Meghan, for example, was the narrator for Disney’s nature documentary “Elephants.”

The Netflix deal is the next step in that evolution.

“Through our work with diverse communities and their environments, to shining a light on people and causes around the world, our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope,” The Duke and Duchess said in a statement on Wednesday. “We are pleased to work with Ted [Sarandos] and the team at Netflix whose unprecedented reach will help us share impactful content that unlocks action.”

For Netflix, the deal is similar to the one the company made with Barack and Michelle Obama in 2018. Bringing Harry and Meghan in house not only allows the company to work with two of the most famous names in the world, but also continues to fill the content pipeline. That’s vitally important as more services like Disney+ and Peacock come online to compete with Netflix for consumer’s time and money.

“We’re incredibly proud they have chosen Netflix as their creative home — and are excited about telling stories with them that can help build resilience and increase understanding for audiences everywhere,” Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and content chief for Netflix, said in a statement.

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