Prince Harry and Meghan Markle interview with Oprah will cost CBS at least $7 million to air, per report

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey.

After days of tantalizing tidbits and escalating accusations, the highly anticipated Prince Harry and Meghan Markle interview is nearly here, and one broadcast network is betting the big event will be worth the wait – and the money. 

ViacomCBS is paying between $7 million and $9 million for the rights to air the royal couple’s two-hour, primetime interview with Oprah Winfrey, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, however, are not being compensated for the interview, the outlet reported.

The special “tell-all” interview will premiere on CBS in the US at 8 p.m. EST/PST and 7 p.m. CT Sunday, one of the most popular nights of the week for television events.

According to the Journal, the multi-million dollar deal also guarantees the network the rights to license the interview internationally. ITV will air the interview on Monday at 9 p.m. local time in the UK.

The transaction was part of a deal made between CBS and Winfrey’s production company, Harpo Productions, the Journal reported. Harpo also reportedly pitched the exclusive event to Comcast’s NBC and Walt Disney’s ABC before a deal was settled with CBS.

Winfrey has past history with CBS, where she briefly worked as a special contributor for the company’s “60 Minutes” team. She also maintains a longstanding relationship with Gayle King, a prominent CBS News anchor. 

The broadcast network sought nearly double the normal price of comparable ad time, roughly $325,000 for 30-second commercials during the interview, according to the Journal. 

The well-known rift between the royal couple and Buckingham Palace intensified in recent days ahead of the explosive interview. Tensions over the duo’s public departure from royal life last year erupted this week in an unprecedented media war between the couple and the palace.  

On Wednesday, the normally tight-lipped royal household announced it would launch an investigation into allegations that Meghan bullied palace staff, charges the Sussexes have painted as a smear campaign encouraged by Buckingham Palace itself.

The couple moved to California last year and struck a deal with Netflix to form their own production company focusing on creating documentaries, docu-series, feature films, scripted television shows, and children’s programming.

Interest in the couple’s Sunday interview has skyrocketed as CBS has released teaser clips and commercials in recent days in which the royal duo discuss their infamous departure.

In one clip, Winfrey asks Markle how she thinks the palace would respond to her opening up about her frustrating experience.

“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that ‘the firm’ is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Markle said. “If that comes with the risk of losing things, I mean, there’s a lot that’s been lost already.”

 

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