In one of my last Prince Harry posts of 2022, I wrote about promotion for the release of his upcoming memoir, Spare, and the publisher’s presumed expectation for him to go out and drive sales. A book deal is a business deal. They paid him a lot of money, not just to share his story but to also go out and make sure people read his story.
This wasn’t the case with Harry & Meghan on Netflix, because there were so many hours of footage for them to use – in the form of trailers and memes – that Harry and Meghan Markle didn’t have to make the press rounds to market their show. But as I said a couple of weeks ago, book promotion isn’t quite the same – there are no trailers, no visuals to work with, this is all words on a page, this requires more effort. So Happy New Year to the British royal family, because from the opening moments of 2023, that effort came into focus.
The media plan, thus far, seems pretty conventional. Harry’s given two interviews, one in the US and one in the UK, and both networks released their teasers at around the same time earlier this week. For the UK interview, Harry met with a journalist he’s spoken with before – Tom Bradby, whom he’s known for 20 years; Tom is the reporter who was on the South Africa tour with the Sussexes in 2019, and he’s the one who asked Meghan how she was doing, to which she replied that she was “not okay”.
In the US, Harry’s interview is with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes on CBS, also the network that aired Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah. Needless to say, a big get, and they’re definitely dialing up the drama with this voiceover:
Anderson Cooper will interview Prince Harry on 60 Minutes next Sunday, January 8, on CBS. It will be Prince Harryâ€™s first U.S. television interview to discuss his upcoming memoir â€œSpare.â€ https://t.co/fF1Sppo62X pic.twitter.com/ylwzxJ6NzV— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) January 2, 2023
Not sure yet how long Harry’s segment on 60 Minutes will be as they typically don’t devote an entire episode to just one story. Harry will no doubt be the main feature, but I’m curious to see how much of the show he takes up.
In the UK though, we already know it’ll be a lengthy conversation because, well, his name is on the programme – Harry: The Interview, this is all him. And even though the British are supposedly known for their restraint, they too are going all in with the drama, the foreboding music playing in the background, punctuating Harry’s sharp words against his family.
The @ITV interview with Prince Harry will be broadcast at 9pm on Sunday.— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) January 2, 2023
The programme is scheduled for 90 minutes.
ITV have given no further information about what was discussed in the UK interview, other than this 20 second trailer.
Interesting that both networks, with no affiliation, chose these specific clips to promote their interviews. Both are clips of Harry accusing the royal institution of planting and leaking stories about him and Meghan to the tabloids. Which is not news, but now it’s being highlighted by news agencies. Yes, of course, they covered all this in the docuseries but that was Netflix. 60 Minutes and ITV are news outlets. They’ll be expected to bring a news focus to the situation. I’ll be curious then about the follow-ups, the second and third questions in response to Harry’s answers to elaborate on his and Meghan’s betrayal by the family who sold them out to the tabloids. And for those who might be all like, we’ve been through this already, these two need to get over it…
One of those tabloids is The Sun, the publication that two weeks ago published a column by Jeremy Clarkson fantasising about Meghan being violently degraded in public. These papers, for years, have been fomenting misogyny and racism against her – this is a personal safety issue, these are real threats, we have seen how this kind of irresponsible discourse results in actual harm. And the British royal family is IN BED with these people? Is it fair to expect Harry and Meghan to “get over” that?
The Sun received a record number of complaints about Jeremy Clarkson’s piece, and they issued a statement of regret just before Christmas although they stopped short of apologising directly to Meghan Markle. Hilariously they acknowledged that with “free expression comes responsibility”, but they fell short of that responsibility by publishing that article in the first place. Multiple people would have had to sign off on that column so none of this represents meaningful change. And these are the people the British royals continue to associate with.
Dr Shola said it best:
The Sun never meant to #ApologiseToMeghan. Non-apology was to profit off her & take heat off Camilla for partying with Meghan haters.— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@SholaMos1) December 24, 2022
If the Palace had defended Meghan just once, the Sun wld be compelled to apologise to her.
Sussexes are right - so called apology is a PR Stunt. https://t.co/8ERBI5VZK8
.@SholaMos1: "The royal family is the most powerful and oldest family in Britain... They tacitly fed, approved, turned a blind eye to a toxic combination of misogynoir, racism, and sexism against Meghan Markle, a member of their own family." #TheReidOut pic.twitter.com/uZNYeu9E4I— The ReidOut (@thereidout) January 1, 2023