Quibi — the subscription-based streaming platform that delivers super-short-form shows to mobile devices — launched in April, but things haven't gone as well as hoped.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, with people stuck in lockdown, consumers just haven't been using the service as much as executives anticipated: Co-founder and former Disney studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg told The New York Times in May that the less-than-stellar viewership numbers are "not close to what we wanted" and that he attributes "everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus. Everything."
A source told Page Six that the poor performance has led to cutbacks at Quibi, which has begun to slash overtime for lower-level staffers and has already let go of some employees. "The mood is dark," the source admitted. That, the source explained, is why many employees at the quick-bites platform are livid about the huge paydays that some of the A-list names working with the service are getting.
According to Page Six, Quibi staffers are "seething" that Reese Witherspoon was paid $6 million to narrate the nature show "Fierce Queens" — which explores the lives of female animals including cheetahs, hyenas and ant queens – which the source said has been one of Quibi's weakest performers.
"Quibi may have to implement cutbacks, and people are fuming that stars like Reese got paid millions," the source explained, pointing out that the actress-producer's husband, former CAA agent Jim Toth, is the head of content acquisition and talent at Quibi.