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Thursday, September 21, 2023

UK’s Prince Harry wanted to interview Putin – Bloomberg

The British royal reportedly discussed multiple podcast ideas with American producers, though none bore fruit

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, said he wanted to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin – as well as former US President Donald Trump and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – for a podcast about childhood trauma and upbringing, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The series would have featured lengthy interviews with these “controversial” figures, examining how events in their childhood shaped the adults they ultimately became, several insider sources told the news outlet.

Read more: Prince Harry tells London court ‘vile’ press has blood on its hands

While the royal allegedly shopped this idea around to multiple producers and production houses in the US, members of his podcast production team said they raised concerns about the practicality of securing interviews with the desired VIPs, who are not known for publicly dishing about their childhood, or indeed much else about their personal lives.

The Duke also considered launching a podcast centered on fatherhood, and another taking on “major societal conversations” such as climate change and religion. He wanted to bring in Pope Francis as a guest on the religion show, the sources told Bloomberg.

None of Prince Harry’s podcast ideas ever made it to the recording studio. While the announcement in December 2020 of a partnership between streaming giant Spotify and Archewell Audio, the podcast company Prince Harry founded with his wife Meghan Markle, promised “podcasts that will inspire,” the initiative ultimately yielded just one season of a single series, Markle’s ‘Archetypes’.

Read more: Prince Harry to make history with UK court testimony

The couple had signed the multi-year deal to “produce podcasts and shows,” estimated to be worth some £15.5 million ($20 million), not long after their very public exit from the royal family, when their popularity was still high. Since then, Markle’s favorability ranking has plummeted to -47, the lowest since YouGov began tracking it in 2017.

Spotify head of podcast innovation and monetization Bill Simmons teased his own inside knowledge of the deal in a recent podcast. “I wish I had been involved in the ‘Meghan and Harry leave Spotify’ negotiation. ‘The F**king Grifters.’ That’s the podcast we should have launched with them,” he said. He also mentioned having a Zoom call with Prince Harry “to try and help him with a podcast idea,” though refrained from giving further details.

Following the release of the Duke’s memoir Spare, Simmons said he was “so embarrassed” to be on Spotify with him, asking, “What does he do? It’s one of those things where it’s like, what’s your talent? Why are we listening to you?”