Entertainment

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hire new Head of Audio to produce their Archewell podcast


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have hired a Head of Audio to produce their Archewell podcast – after giving Spotify just 35 minutes of content so far for their £18million deal.

The Duke, 36, and Duchess of Sussex, 39, who are currently living in their $14 million mansion in Santa Barbara, have taken on producer Rebecca Sanaes to oversee their podcast business, according to Deadline.

She was previously lead podcast producer for Pivot, New York Magazine and Vox Media’s show hosted by Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway and will report to Archewell’s head of content, Ben Browning, when she joins the company in August. 

The hire comes weeks after a royal expert said streaming giant Spotify would be expecting ‘something in return’ from the Duke and Duchess after their £18 million megadeal last year. 

The Duke, 36, and Duchess of Sussex , 39, who are currently living in their $14 million mansion in Santa Barbara, have taken on producer Rebecca Sanaes to oversee their podcast business

Before joining Pivot, she worked in public radio, where she worked on episodes including Why Is Vermont So Overwhelmingly White.

In 2015, Rebecca received the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting HIV/AIDS Fellowship 

The Sussexes were last heard on their Archewell Audio Spotify podcast for the 2020 Christmas special, and the platform had planned for ‘a full-scale launch of shows’ in 2021. 

In the brief 35 minute episode, the couple called on a number of their famous friends to appear during the first episode, which feature a range of prominent British and American artists, activists and musicians. 

The hire comes weeks after a royal expert streaming giant Spotify would be expecting 'something in return' from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after their £18 million mega-deal

The hire comes weeks after a royal expert streaming giant Spotify would be expecting ‘something in return’ from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after their £18 million mega-deal

These included Sir Elton John, Brené Brown, Deepak Chopra, Stacey Abrams and James Corden, who they invited to review 2020.

Discussions focused on mental health and mindfulness in the first episode before sweetly concluding with the gospel song This Little Light of Mine.

The royal couple promised their podcast will ‘uplift and entertain audiences around the world’ as they spoke with a range of people who ‘inspire us’.

They also encouraged two-year-old Archie to say Happy New Year on the podcast, despite their pleas for privacy.

The Sussexes were last heard on their Archewell Audio Spotify podcast for the 2020 Christmas special, and the platform had planned for 'a full-scale launch of shows' in 2021 (pictured in 2018)

The Sussexes were last heard on their Archewell Audio Spotify podcast for the 2020 Christmas special, and the platform had planned for ‘a full-scale launch of shows’ in 2021 (pictured in 2018) 

Harry and Meghan, who have fiercely defended Archie’s privacy since his birth in May 2019 and filed a lawsuit this year to fight to protect it, encourage their son to talk into the microphone, with Harry telling him: ‘You can speak into it.’ Meghan also asks: ‘Archie, is it fun?’

The couple haven’t uploaded anything in the seven months since the podcast.  

It is understood that the couple will be paid the full £18million fee after their duties have been met, The Sun previously reported.

Royal author Phil Dampier said: ‘We’re being told they’re having up to five months off and people who are paying them a lot of money will expect something in return.’

Harry & Meghan holiday special now available on Spotify - the 34 minute episode is the only content available so far, aside from a three minute trailer for the podcast

Harry & Meghan holiday special now available on Spotify – the 34 minute episode is the only content available so far, aside from a three minute trailer for the podcast

Mr Dampier questioned whether the couple may ‘have too much on their plate’ after securing numerous deals and agreements before the birth of their daughter.    

Just days after Meghan and Harry’s bombshell two-hour Oprah Winfrey special, the couple announced they were hiring producer Mr Browning to head up their film and television ambitions in the US.

He took on the role of head of content for Archewell Productions and Archewell Audio after being recommended to the couple by a mutual entertainment industry contact.

Mr Browning has previously worked on films including The Big Sick, Arrival, Room and Late Night and is set to head up Archewell’s work with Spotify and Netflix.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have hired veteran producer Ben Browning (pictured) to head up their film and TV company

Earlier this year, it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have hired veteran producer Ben Browning (pictured) to head up their film and TV company

Earlier this year, it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have hired veteran producer Ben Browning (pictured) to head up their film and TV company

Most recently,  Mr Browning worked on Promising Young Woman, starring Carey Mulligan, which was nominated for five Oscars.

Mr Browning said in a statement to Forbes: ‘From the moment they shared their vision for Archewell as a global production company that will spotlight diverse voices and share uplifting stories, I knew I wanted to help with this unique opportunity.

‘It’s a thrilling company to be starting.’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in a joint statement after signing the deal with Spotify last year: ‘What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction.

‘With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are.’ 



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