Morgan closed a massive overall deal with the streamer last week that Deadline understands is well into the eight figures.
Harries told Deadline at a BFI London Film Festival event, “There’s a lot of key talent being bought up. It’s how the Hollywood studios have always behaved and at the moment writers are their main aim. At the end of the day, we just have to look for the new talent. I have to be philosophical about.”
He joked it was similar to a football club losing their key striker, referring to Chelsea FC.
But the boss of the Sony-owned Left Bank admitted that it hadn’t changed his relationship with Morgan.
“It actually hasn’t made any difference to our relationship with Peter at all; he’s just paid in a different way. That deal was largely made to make sure that he was happy and that he stayed on The Crown and beyond The Crown, whatever he does next will be for Netflix. You can understand, having invested so much in The Crown and in Peter’s writing, why they would want to keep that relationship. He was fielding offers from other streamers. It’s part of the hustle and bustle of contemporary television.”
Sister Pictures boss Jane Featherstone, exec producer of the Emmy-winning Chernobyl, agreed with Harries. “All of us will be looking at the new talent and alternative streamers or buyers. We love working with Netflix and Amazon but if you’re trying to build or grow a business, you want to have alternatives.”
Three sources told Deadline that Netflix’s deal with Golden Globe and BAFTA-winner Morgan was done as the company readies itself for the November 17 release of The Crown season three, in which Olivia Colman will replace Claire Foy on the throne.
Morgan is well down the track with season four of the lavish drama and sources said his exclusive Netflix deal will encompass another two seasons. This would take it to six seasons, which has long been Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos’ plan for the show.
The overall deal will also include projects by Morgan outside of The Crown, including feature films. It is said to be valued well into the eight figures, with some sources speculating that it could potentially cross the $100M mark. “The figure is beyond insane,” said someone with knowledge of the pact.
On the panel, on high-end television, Harries added that it would have not made the royal drama if Netflix did not exist – despite the protestations from the likes of the BBC and ITV that they were keen.
After debuting the trailer for season three of the Netflix royal drama to a small crowd at the London Film Festival, Harries said it was too expensive for British broadcasters and he’d been turned down by many of the premium broadcasters in the States.
“I don’t think we’d have made this show if Netflix did not exist. It was turned down by HBO and Showtime, [FX] was interested but didn’t make an offer,” he said.
He admitted that the BBC and ITV were interested but couldn’t afford to commit to the budget, which was initially split across twenty hour-long episodes for the first two seasons.
Although Harries admitted that it was “crude”, he called the British Royal Family a “perfect international brand” for Netflix as the SVOD launched its service around the world.
Harries comments come as the third season of The Crown, starring Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth, launches on Netflix on November 17. Tobias Menzies replaces Matt Smith as Prince Philip with Helena Bonham Carter replacing Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret.
This comes nearly two years on from the second season of the British drama, which launched on December 8, 2017.
Written by Morgan, season 3 of The Crown starts in 1964 and will cover events such as the rise of the Beatles and England winning the soccer World Cup in 1966. Characters such as Camilla Parker Bowles will also start to emerge in the next season.
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