has canceled development of “Pearl,” an animated series from Meghan Markle, in the latest attempt at cost-cutting measures amid struggling subscriber numbers for the company.
According to a Sunday report from Deadline, several projects in development at Netflix were recently dropped by the service, including one the Duchess of Sussex’s “Pearl,” which was set to follow the life and adventures of a 12-year-old girl who finds inspiration in the lives of historically influential women.
“Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges,” Markle said when the show was announced in 2021. She added at the time, “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. 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.”
Some of the other projects that were axed by Netflix mentioned in the report were animated shows called Dino Daycare, Scientist and Boons and Curses.
Markle and her husband Prince Harry signed a multi-year content agreement with Netflix in 2020, and that deal remains in place, per the report. Part of that content deal was for the couple’s production company Archewell Productions to create movies, documentaries and shows for Netflix. Archwell’s other Netflix projects, including its upcoming Heart of Invictus documentary series, remains uninterrupted by this latest move.
The news comes after Netflix reported a loss of 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, leading to an over 30% drop in the company’s stock in the subsequent days that erased billions in total market cap.
Netflix also hinted at cracking down on password sharing as a way to boost subscriber numbers.
In the aftermath of the stock’s drop, the streaming giant stated that it would be looking to cut back on spending in the short term.
“We’re pulling back on some of our spend growth across both content and noncontent spend,” CFO Spencer Neumann recently told NBC.
Netflix also laid off staff members of Tudum, its journalism companion website that created written content based on Netflix properties.
“We’re trying to be smart about it and prudent in terms of pulling back on some of that spend growth to reflect the realities of the revenue growth of the business,” Neumann continued.
Netflix Inc. shares were up 3.91% in late afternoon trading on Monday, but have dropped 51% over the past three months.