Netflix Partners With Prince Harry for ‘Heart of Invictus’ Docu-Series

Netflix has partnered with Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, for “Heart of Invictus,” a documentary series about a group of wounded military service members training to compete in the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, now set to take place in 2022.

The multi-episode series will join the competitors as they train, and along the way reveal powerful stories of resilience and hope. The series will also follow the organizers as they work to prepare for the Games, postponed until next Spring due to the pandemic, and as they partner with each nation’s team to support their competitors over the coming year.

Last year, Netflix inked a multiyear content agreement with Harry and his wife Meghan Markle (the Duchess of Sussex) for a variety of projects.

“Since the very first Invictus Games back in 2014, we knew that each competitor would contribute in their own exceptional way to a mosaic of resilience, determination and resolve,” Harry, co-founder of Archewell Productions and Patron of The Invictus Games Foundation, said in a statement. “This series will give communities around the world a window into the moving and uplifting stories of these competitors on their path to the Netherlands next year.”

This series is Archewell Productions’ first with Netflix and this partnership with the Invictus Games Foundation. Harry will appear on camera and serve as executive producer on the series. The series will be directed by the Oscar-winning/nominated director/producing team of Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara. Their joint projects include Netflix original films Virunga, Oscar winner The White Helmets and Evelyn, which all focus on the core of the human spirit, seeking inspiration from everyday individuals and teams from around the world.

Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer at Netflix, said Harry and Meghan’s production company has an ambitious content slate that reflects “the values and causes” they hold dear.

“From the moment I met them, it’s been clear that the Invictus Games hold a very special place in their hearts, and I couldn’t be happier that their first series for Netflix will showcase that for the world in a way never seen before,” Sarandos said.

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry TV Interview Draws Big Ratings, But There Have Been Bigger

NEWS ANALYSIS — In today’s fractured media landscape, generating more than a pulse among viewers is considered a win for programmers. Oprah Winfrey’s highly-publicized two-hour sit-down CBS interview with Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle,  Duchess of Sussex, featuring allegations of racism and suicidal thoughts during the couple’s brief existence within the British Royal Family, drew an impressive 17.1 million average viewers, according to the network.

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The March 8 airing in the U.K. on ITV drew 11.1 million average viewers, peaking at more than 12.3 million. Another 2.2 million people streamed the Q&A. Media reports say online sales of the outdoor furniture Harry, Meghan and Oprah sat on sold out online. Heady stuff even in today’s influencer-dominated social media world.

But then CBS rookie cop TV series reboot “The Equalizer,” starring Queen Latifah, scored 11.1 million viewers through March 8. In fact, CBS’s venerable news magazine “60 Minutes” has scored some big celebrity interviews in recent years.

Porn star Stormy Daniels’ 2018 interview about her affair with married Donald Trump before he became president generated 22.1 million viewers. The show’s 2020 interview with Trump attracted 17.4 million viewers, despite being leaked online ahead of time by the president.

The show’s biggest Q&A: The Jan. 26, 1992, sit-down with presidential candidate Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, which attracted 34 million viewers in the pre-Internet days.  CBS’s biggest-ever ratings — 45 million viewers — was for the 1977 David Frost interview with former President Nixon, who had resigned years earlier to avoid being impeached for the Watergate scandal.

When it comes to all-time Q&A ratings winners: The  March 3, 1999, “20/20” interview on ABC with Monica Lewinsky drew 48.5 million viewers. But Oprah Winfrey’s Feb. 10, 1993, talk with Michael Jackson topped all with a massive 62.3 million viewers.

 

Netflix Signs Prince Harry and Meghan to Multiyear Production Deal

Netflix’s ongoing quest for original programming now includes British royalty.

Six months after their voluntary departure from royal duties at the House of Windsor in pursuit of financial independence, Prince Harry and wife Meghan have inked a multiyear production deal with Netflix.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be paid an undisclosed amount in the production of documentaries, feature films and docu-series and scripted TV shows. Meghan Markle last worked in Hollywood in 2018 on the series “Suits,” which is not available on Netflix.

“We are incredibly proud they have chosen Netflix as their creative home and are excited about telling stories with them that can help build resilience and increase understanding for audiences everywhere,” Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer, said in a statement.

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Netflix has an existing production deal with former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, which in March produced  documentary “Crip Camp” about the origins of the disability rights movement. The film is considered a 2021 Oscar favorite for best nonfiction film. A recent Netflix film about the Paralympic Games — Rising Phoenix — features Harry, who helped create the Invictus Games for wounded veterans.

Netflix’s landing of Meghan and Harry followed reported meetings with Apple, Disney and NBCUniversal, among others. Media reports suggest the power couple, who have relocated to California, was looking for a deal around $100 million.

“The value of this signing to Netflix is unquantifiable,” Jonathan Shalit, chairman of InterTalent Rights Group in London, told The New York Times. “Never before has a real-life royal of this magnitude gone commercial and to Hollywood.”

‘Harry & Meghan: A Very Modern Romance,’ ‘Princess Diana: A Life After Death’ Due on DVD Nov. 26 From MVD

Two documentaries about British royals, Harry & Meghan: A Very Modern Romance and Princess Diana: A Life After Death, are coming to DVD Nov. 26 from MVD Entertainment Group.

Harry & Meghan: A Very Modern Romance is a one-hour special that explores the social background that makes the adventurous marriage between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry seem thoroughly in keeping with the modern British royal family. It explores the lives of actress Markle, a woman’s rights campaigner, and Prince Harry, who has broken out of the royal straight jacket without losing his royal dignity. Eighty-two years after a romance with a divorced commoner from America led to the abdication of a King, this royal marriage sets and confirms a revolutionized set of British values.

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Princess Diana: A Life After Death, a new documentary timed to coincide with the anniversary of Princess Diana’s untimely passing, is not just an anniversary program, but also is a summary of Princess Diana’s historical, political and social legacy. Princess Diana’s death set the British nation thinking deeply about its monarchy and its royal family. In the unstable summer of 1997 a strange atmosphere existed throughout Britain. The country’s young Prime Minister Tony Blair had just won an election with a big majority and the tabloid press were pursuing Princess Diana after her separation from Prince Charles. Events were already leading to a full-scale crisis for the British monarchy. The terrible sudden and completely unexpected death of Diana changed Britain. The program looks at the history of Princess Diana’s life after her death through the lives of her sons and family after her death and through the collective memory. The selfless aspects of Princess Diana’s wide interests continue to act as a form of both emotional ballast and inspiration to the British nation and the world at large. Contributors include Sir Anthony Seldon, Alastair Campbell, Jeffrey Archer, Emily Nash, Katie Nicholl, Catherine Mayer, Richard Kay and Sarah, Viscountess Bangor.

‘Harry & Meghan’ TV Movie Coming to DVD Oct. 16 From Lionsgate

Lionsgate Oct. 16 will release the Lifetime TV movie Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance on DVD.

The movie stars Murray Fraser (TV’s “The Loch”) as Britain’s Prince Harry and Parisa Fitz-Henley (“Jessica Jones”) as actress Meghan Markle in the story of the couple’s courtship and falling in love.

The movie aired May 13, a week before the real-life Meghan and Harry got married in a lavish ceremony May 19.

Royal Wedding Skyrockets TV, Online Viewing

The May 19 royal wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle generated more than 29 million TV viewers in the United States, according to Nielsen — topping the 22.8 million people who watched Prince William marry Kate Middleton in 2011.

Online viewership spiked as well, with a 343% increase in online video streaming in the U.S., and 119% increase in the United Kingdom, according to Limelight Networks, a content delivery network (CDN) provider.

The biggest online viewership spikes occurred during the first appearance of the bride (or Duchess of Sussex), Harry and Meghan’s first kiss, and beginning of the formal procession.

“The Royal Wedding demonstrates the growing pressures high-profile events can put on a broadcaster’s broadband network,” Jon Smith, managing director of EMEA at Limelight Networks, said in a statement.

Smith said high-profile events streamed online require CDNs capable of navigating the “crowded public Internet” for fast and reliable delivery of video content.

“Without the right CDN, additional requests from viewers just cannot be met, resulting in the loss of customers and the loss of revenue,” he added, in a self-serving comment.