Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new show on Netflix Live to Lead reveals a huge problem

Here are just a few things I think we can safely say that King Charles and Queen Camilla won’t be doing on New Year’s Eve: starting a TikTok account of their Jack Russells, letting Princess Anne in on the sherry that’s being prepared too early. , or watch the latest Netflix project of Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, live to lead.

After two years of content deal announcements followed by tumbleweeds, it’s been a comparatively dizzying five months for the Duke and Duchess, with the release of her first Spotify podcast, lukewarmly received Archetypes, two Netflix shows, and then, at the start of the new year. harry memoirs, Spare. (This is Sussex-us content!)


2023 is just around the corner and Montecito’s creative engines seem to be running at full blast; brains are buzzing, Macbook Pro keyboards are clicking as the Sussexes finally start to reveal the content the world has been promising for a long time!

But live to lead the release also means something else – that after Harry’s autobiography is released on January 10, the couple’s list of upcoming confirmed projects consists of… one document about the Invictus Games, an initiative for wounded and serving veterans that the Duke started when he was a working member royal family.

That’s all.


Apart from Heart of the Invictus and NewsThe Sussexes have no other streaming behemoth related projects.


Similarly, Spotify has not announced a second series Archetypes or any upcoming series from Harry or some new proposal from the duo.

In 2021, Meghan published a children’s book titled Benchbut in the 18 months since then, no second book, children’s or otherwise, has been announced.


Maybe it’s a lull and there are plenty of exciting series bubbling up in the Archewell Content Labs, but there’s no sign of that yet.

On the face of it, now that we’ve got a good taste of what a couple can do with (I guess) a full-fledged staff, couples’ careers seem bright and vibrant. But take a closer look, and the picture becomes less rosy.

The obvious and important point to start with is their deal with Netflix, a $140 million contract that we were told back in 2020 would allow the duo to create “content that informs but also gives hope.” (It’s hard to see much informative or reassuring in Harry and Megan for the Windsors…)

Their first offering, their six-part “documentary” of the same name, was a huge coup for the streamer, creating a kind of global cacophony that usually requires an eight-figure marketing budget to put together. Of course, most of the Duke and Duchess revelations were reruns, but never mind, the two royals digging into their deep reservoirs of pain and anger under the cameras were a hit.


And we know this because the company immediately set about informing the world after the release of the first “volume” that more than 28 million households tuned in to watch some of the series’ first three episodes. Then came the second batch of episodes, the ones that really made it to the main part of their story, and it’s been crickets ever since.

While the series remains the most watched TV show in the UK and number two in Australia and the US, it’s curious that Netflix is ​​no longer airing proudly talking about how many millions of people around the world are willing to watch The Duke and Duchess. turn family animosity into television programs.


There are other worrying signs as well. Reviews about Harry and Megan were decidedly mixed, even from publications such as Diversity who most recently put her on the cover (“Netflix’s’Harry and Megan“Rephrases the drama about the royal family, once again”).

At the time of writing, Rotten Tomatoes has a 17 percent audience rating.

If critics and audiences aren’t thrilled with this supposedly most sensational piece of theirs, it remains to be seen how commercially attractive it is.

More! There’s some serious momentum around the Duke and Duchess right now, so how did Netflix capitalize on it? announcing live to leadwhose promulgation was clearly prone to hitches.

Questions arose about the Sussexes’ involvement in the project almost immediately, given that the series stars former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who died in September 2020, the same month that the Sussexes announced their deal with Netflix.

Then New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, featured in Newsreleased her own statement that she was interviewing in late 2019 and had no “direct contact with the Sussexes”.

(Basically, it looks like they may have just filmed the bits that were crammed into this production, and voila, a new show in Sussex! However, at least it fits perfectly with what they once- they promised to do.)

Then there is the time, New Year’s Eve. It’s definitely a strange day to release the Sussexes’ next project with the company, on the exact same day that most of the world is busy popping champagne corks and trying to defrost sausage rolls for a party.

What remains to be seen is whether Harry and Meghan can create successful programs that aren’t based on them spreading royal tales of grief. Would anyone want to watch, listen to or read what they are doing if they are not badmouthing the monarchy? Does anyone care what they say (other than their band of ardent supporters) if they don’t milk their palace injury?

As content creators in their own right, they are still unproven commercial value.

Before Christmas, a source said Telegraph on the Duke and Duchess: “They’re looking forward to people being interested in what they’re doing, on top of all the drama.”

But… will people give their TV shows, podcasts, or books the attention and quantity required to make big deals if they don’t strike at the Palace?

Julia Alexander of Parrot Analytics, a firm that tracks global audience demand, wrote this month after the release of the first volume: “The Obamas had a hard time finding popular hits outside of early documentaries—who can say that would make any difference? easier for the Sussexes?

Take away their titles, take away their palace connections, take away their pretense of royal racism and callous indifference to their suffering, and will that remain an attractive proposition for, say, Netflix?

Looking more broadly, the Sussexes seem to be in a quandary. Their entire public image and business performance so far has also been based on their royal refugee status, which is understandable given that it was their most prized commodity when they arrived in the US and suddenly found the royal money had dried up, including having to pay for their safety.

(It didn’t seem to occur to them that British taxpayers wouldn’t be thrilled to pay to protect two unofficial men who lived 5,000 miles from London.) They needed money; Netflix had an insatiable appetite for content – it seemed like the perfect combination to create heaven.

Except for more than two years, Harry and Meghan seem to have painted themselves into a brand corner, and today they are defined in the public imagination not by their humanitarian work, but by their willingness to pillory the royal family, at times with acrimony. big check attached.

Interestingly, their reception in the US is not as enthusiastic as you might imagine. The survey was conducted in early December, but before the release Harry and Meganfound that 43 percent of Americans like the Duchess, compared to 52 percent who like Kate, Princess of Wales. Ultimately, Kate has a net approval rating that is 20 points higher than Meghan. (Harry and brother Prince William are head to head with 52% approval.)

So, on New Year’s Eve, many people will be looking forward to an exciting viewing featuring the legendary RBG, Ardern, and the incredible Greta Thunberg? Even if most of the world doesn’t, even if Charles and Camilla are too keen on mixing jugs of pina coladas and keeping dogs away from partridge pate, I bet Netflix execs will keep a close eye on the numbers.

Daniela Elser is a writer and royal commentator with over 15 years of experience working with a range of leading Australian media outlets.

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