On Sept. 2, The New York Times announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had just signed a multi-year production deal with Netflix to produce documentaries, docu-series, feature films, scripted shows and children's programming.
"Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope. As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us," the couple said in a statement, adding that Netflix's "unprecedented reach will help us share impactful content that unlocks action."
Outlets immediately started speculating about the financial aspects of the deal, which were not shared publicly, with some estimating that it could be worth as much as $150 million.
But a new report is pouring cold water on those claims. On Sept. 3, Page Six quoted a top Hollywood talent agent who said he'd be "shocked if [the ex-royals'] deal was worth more than $2 million per year."
Page Six spoke to other industry insiders who agreed, with one explaining, "They are going to be producers, not content creators."
Those creatives are the ones who tend to make the truly big bucks. Page Six points out that Shonda Rhimes — the genius behind "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal" and many, many more hits — has a reported $150 million deal with Netflix. "Glee" and "American Horror Story" producer Ryan Murphy also has a lucrative Netflix deal that's reportedly in the same ballpark as Shonda's payday. Page Six also notes that "Black-ish" creator Kenya Barris has a Netflix deal that's reportedly worth $100 million.
"Hollywood is all about 'comps' " — comparable salaries around the industry — an Oscar-nominated producer told Page Six, adding, "If I was their agent, I would've asked Netflix to give me the Obama money."
That's a reference to former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama's 2018 Netflix production deal, the terms of which have not been shared publicly. Their Netflix documentary "American Factory" — the first film released under their production company, Higher Ground — won an Oscar for best documentary in 2020.
That's not to say the royals didn't do well for themselves. The couple reportedly met with Netflix, Disney, Apple and NBCUniversal too, giving Forbes magazine the impression that there might have been a bidding war for their foray into production.