Why Meghan Markle's Netflix Show 'Pearl' Was Canceled

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have created two TV shows under their Netflix deal so far, but they had one more canceled early in the development phase. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Netflix initially agreed to develop Markle's passion project – an animated children's series called Pearl. Insiders explained how that show was canceled before it ever saw the light of day.

Pearl was reportedly one of the ideas Markle was toying with before she and Prince Harry moved back to the U.S., founded Archewell and secured a $100 million deal with Netflix. She worked with creator David Furnish – husband of Elton John – to develop this series and present it to Netflix. Not only did the streamer buy it, they actually made a public announcement about the series in May of 2022. However, sources close to Netflix say that the executives eventually had a change of heart on Pearl, realizing that Markle's involvement wouldn't mean much to the young audience.

Insiders at both Netflix and the Sussexes' company Archewell said that this has been the problem with many of the ideas put forward under this deal so far. While the docu-series Harry & Meghan was a massive hit, their follow-up Live to Lead did not crack the Top 10 lists, and it did not feature the duke and duchess on camera at all. Sources said that the couple has struggled to find projects that match their brand outside of their own personal stories.

At least two other shows have been rejected by Netflix out of hand so far, but others have been greenlit. The next collaboration between Netflix and Archewell will be a docu-series about Harry's Invictus Games – a competitive event for veterans he is passionate about. Still, anonymous sources told WSJ they do not expect Netflix to renew its deal with the Sussexes when it expires in 2025.

This report came on the heels of Archewell and Spotify abruptly ending their deal together as well. Spotify paid $20 million for exclusive audio content – most notably Markle's podcast Archetypes. Last week, the two companies said that they "mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in a unique position as royals trying to work in Hollywood – perhaps the first situation of this kind. While public interest in the couple remains high, there's no telling if they will manage to put together a hit that does not revolve around their personal story.