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Netflix cancels Meghan Markle's series as streaming platform nosedives to be declared the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500 this year

Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

Amid a devastating past week for Netflix, the streaming service giant canceled an animated series created by Meghan Markle and Elton John's husband, David Furnish.

Deadline reported on Sunday, "Netflix has quietly dropped 'Pearl,' the working title of an animated series that was created by Meghan Markle through Archewell Productions, the shingle the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry set up at Netflix in fall of 2020 to create scripted series, docuseries, documentaries, features and children's programming."

The project was still in the development stage when it was dropped by Netflix.

Netflix announced "Pearl" in July 2021, and described as "a family-focused animated series that revolves around the adventures of a 12-year-old girl who is inspired by influential women in history."

"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 in a 2021 statement. “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."

Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, signed a deal with Netflix to offer original programming – such as documentaries, features, and scripted shows. The New York Times reported that the deal was estimated to be in the neighborhood of $100 million.

Last week, Netflix canceled two other animated series for children that were in production — "Dino Daycare" and "Boons and Curses."

Netflix has faced challenges in 2022.

Fortune reported, "For the first time in a decade, Netflix has lost subscribers, shedding 200,000 users last quarter, the company announced in its earnings report this week. Netflix stock dropped nearly 38% on the news."

Year to date, Netflix stock has nosedived by more than 68%. Netflix is the worst performing stock in the S&P 500 this year, according to the New York Times.

"Bank of America analyst Nat Schindler says things may get worse for Netflix before they get better. Schindler says Netflix's plans to reignite its growth story won't have a noticeable impact until 2024, giving investors little reason to be excited about the stock in the interim," according to Business Insider.

Netflix fired "around 25" employees on Thursday, and Vulture reported that the streaming service "told staffers at its editorial branch, Tudum — reportedly without warning — that they were being fired."

Bloomberg reported, "It is tempting to view this as a byproduct of the company's poor financial results last week. But these changes have been in the works for months. Netflix is struggling to find a marketing strategy, which is what happens when you cycle through three chief marketing officers in five years. This is the second time Netflix has restructured its marketing division in three years."

In December 2020, Harry and Meghan struck a deal with Spotify through their production company Archewell Audio to "host and produce podcasts that uplift and entertain audiences," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The deal reportedly pays the high-profile couple $30 million.

The couple have yet to produce any content for Spotify despite the major payday.

In March, Markle announced that her podcast would be titled "Archetypes," and described it as, "The podcast where we dissect, explore and subvert the labels that try to hold women back."

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