Imagine being so famous that you have to worry that an upcoming docuseries about your romance that you’re producing for Netflix might somehow conflict with another series on Netflix that just happens to be about your family. Apparently, that’s where Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are living right now.
Now imagine that’s not the least of your worries.
That’s also where they’re living right now, if a pair of stories from the U.S. edition of the British tabloid The Sun are to be believed.
On Sunday, The Sun reported that the couple had been put on notice by Netflix that the company could “pull the plug on their multi-million-dollar deal at any point,” should the final product not be to the streaming giant’s liking.
Not being to their liking meaning, in this context, unlikely to provoke anyone new to cough up $20 a month to watch it, one presumes.
Apparently, the issue came up because of the possible conflict with “The Crown,” a Netflix historical drama revolving around the life of Queen Elizabeth II that has received such stellar reviews that I refuse to watch a single minute of it.
“The Crown” is, of course, only based on actual events — it takes some dramatic license and makes no claim to be pure documentary. But that puts Harry and Meghan in something of a pickle.
They want final editing rights because they may need to censor what they’ve said about the show, particularly since their docuseries is slated for release only weeks after the fifth season of “The Crown” comes out, according to The Sun.
“Meghan and Harry have an interest in having a portrayal where they are philanthropic,” said author Richard Fitzwilliams, whom The Sun described as a “royal expert.”
“And there’s nothing philanthropic about too much kiss and tell. Especially with the passing of the Queen. They would be worried about their public perception. In America the Queen was enormously respected and they know that.
“The question is: public perception is very important to them,” Fitzwilliams explained. “They are very highly thought of in a lot of circles.”
“Netflix struck a deal with the promise of exclusive insight into the lives and outlook of The Sussexes, which they felt would be a ratings success,” an unnamed Los Angeles-based consultant with ties to Netflix told The Sun. “If they are uncertain that the content will produce the ratings they desire, then that becomes a problem. At pitch and content production meetings it is made clear that Netflix prides itself as an independent editorial broadcaster. They do not simply release whatever contributors serve up to them — they can go to YouTube for that.”
There’s pressure, The Sun implied, from Netflix to endorse the veracity of “The Crown,” while there’s also the decided possibility of pressure from the royal family to undermine it.
The recent death of Elizabeth may have something to do with that. Harry was also allegedly “desperately making last-minute changes” to his memoir, according to another report from — you guessed it — The Sun.
It’s one thing, however, to scribble out one paragraph and pencil in another in a book that hasn’t yet gone to print. It’s another to edit video footage that’s already “in the can,” as the Hollywood types say.
It’s possible that the Sussexes will find a middle ground that pleases both Netflix and the royal family. It’s also possible that they’ll try and fail.
In which case, I guess they can go to YouTube.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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