Why did Netflix drop Pearl? Meghan Markle’s animated show axed by streaming service amid cutbacks

The Duchess of Sussex at her husband Prince Harry’s Invictus Games on 17 April (Photo: PA)The Duchess of Sussex at her husband Prince Harry’s Invictus Games on 17 April (Photo: PA)
The Duchess of Sussex at her husband Prince Harry’s Invictus Games on 17 April (Photo: PA) | PA
The Duchess of Sussex’s animated show about a young girl has been dropped by Netflix

Netflix has dropped Meghan Markle’s animated show about a young girl, as it looks to make cost savings.

The Duchess of Sussex’s show Pearl was set to focus on the adventures of a 12-year-old girl inspired by influential women from history.

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The Archewell Productions series was one of two projects announced as part of Harry and Meghan’s Netflix deal.

Meghan was to serve as an executive producer of the series alongside David Furnish – filmmaker and husband of Sir Elton John – according to an announcement published on the Archewell website last July.

Why has Netflix dropped Pearl?

Pearl has been axed by Netflix as part of strategic decisions the streaming giant is making around animated series. It is understood Netflix has decided not to move forward with development on several projects, one of which is Pearl.

This is believed to be not uncommon for development, and Netflix recently decided not to move forward with other animated series.

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Last week two shows in production were also dropped: Dino Daycare and the South Asian-inspired adventure Boons and Curses.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex cheering at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 5, 2020 in London, England (Photo: Paul Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images)Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex cheering at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 5, 2020 in London, England (Photo: Paul Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex cheering at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 5, 2020 in London, England (Photo: Paul Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Harry and Meghan signed a multimillion-pound deal with Netflix in 2020.

The news that Pearl is being dropped comes after it emerged that Netflix lost 200,000 users over the first three months of 2022, falling well short of predictions it would add 2.5 million subscribers.

Netflix has stumbled in the face of increased competition from the likes of Disney+, Amazon Prime and the reopening of cinemas.

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The US entertainment giant said Archewell Productions remains a valued partner and they are continuing to work together on a number of projects, including the documentary series Heart Of Invictus.

The show follows people competing at the Invictus Games, and a camera crew was seen close to Harry and Meghan during their time at the event in The Hague, Netherlands, last month.

What has Meghan Markle said about Pearl?

When Pearl was announced last summer, Meghan said: “Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges.

“I’m thrilled that Archewell Productions, partnered with the powerhouse platform of Netflix, and these incredible producers, will together bring you this new animated series, which celebrates extraordinary women throughout history.

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“David Furnish and I have been eager to bring this special series to light, and I am delighted we are able to announce it today.”

An announcement on the Archewell website, dated July 14 2021, says: “Archewell Productions is creating its first ever animated series with Netflix.

“Pearl (working title) focuses on a young girl’s heroic adventure as she learns to step into her power and finds inspiration from influential women throughout history.

“Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex will serve as an executive producer of the series alongside David Furnish, Carolyn Soper, Liz Garbus, Dan Cogan and Amanda Rynda.”

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According to the Archewell website, Archewell Productions was created by Harry and Meghan “to produce programming that informs, elevates and inspires”.

The website – which says Archewell Productions will “utilise the power of storytelling to embrace our shared humanity and duty to truth through a compassionate lens” – lists Heart Of Invictus and Pearl as the two “exciting projects” it has announced.

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