Meet Team Sussex’s latest member: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have hired former Disney+ executive Chanel Pysnik to head up nonfiction content for Archewell Productions
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have added yet another new hire to their growing roster of Archewell employees: a former Disney+ executive who has been brought on to oversee their production company’s unscripted projects for their incredibly lucrative partnership with Netflix.
News of the couple’s new hire was revealed by Deadline on Friday – just two weeks after they confirmed their second project for Netflix, an animated series created in collaboration with Elton John’s husband David Furnish, which Meghan, 39, will executive produce.
However it is likely that LA-based Princeton graduate Pysnik will have little to do with the animated show – which focuses on the adventures of a ’12-year-old girl who finds inspiration in influential women’ – and will instead concentrate on boosting the couple’s roster of unscripted and nonfiction projects.
This could well mean that she will play a key role in the couple’s first Netflix project – Heart of Invictus, a documentary series about the Invictus Games starring Prince Harry, 36 – which was announced in April of this year and would fall under Pysnik’s remit as Head of Unscripted.
While it is unclear how Pysnik landed the role at Archewell, she does have an acquaintance in common with Prince Harry: British soccer star David Beckham.
Helping hand: News of Harry and Meghan’s latest hire comes just four months after they signed up Hollywood producer Ben Browning to lead their production company
One of Pysnik’s most recent projects for Disney+ was securing a new unscripted series with the sports star, who has been close friends with Harry for years – and attended the Sussexes’ wedding with his wife, Spice Girls singer-turned-designer Victoria, in May 2018.
While his series for Disney – entitled Save Our Squad – was only announced in April and has yet to be released, Pysnik reportedly played a role in its creation, and will likely therefore have worked closely with the 46-year-old father-of-four during that time.
If Beckham was the person who recommended Pysnik for the job, it would be the second time that he has helped Harry and Meghan to add to their growing roster of staff.
In May 2020, it was reported that the couple had enlisted the Beckhams’ former Hollywood aide, Rebecca Mostow, to help ‘run their day-to-day lives’ in LA, while they were still living in director Tyler Perry’s lavish Beverly Hills home.
Psynik, who graduated cum laude from Princeton University, will take on a much less personal role for the couple – focusing her efforts on trying to boost their roster of TV and movie projects.
According to Pysnik’s LinkedIn page, she most recently served as the Director of International Content for Disney+, where she oversaw the streaming site’s ‘unscripted series and documentaries for non-US markets’ for 17 months – before making the move over to Archewell.
Prior to landing the role at Disney, Pysnik spent almost six years working at CNN on the network’s original series, having moved there from The CW, where her focus was ‘alternative programming’ and included shows like the Tyra Banks-led reality series America’s Next Top Model.
Helping hand? Pysnik recently worked on a Disney+ show with David Beckham, who is close friends with Prince Harry (seen in 2010) and attended the Sussexes’ May 2018 wedding
According to Deadline, Pysnik will work under one of Archewell Productions’ other new hires: Hollywood producer Ben Browning, who was brought on board in March of this year to run the couple’s fledgling film and TV company.
On her LinkedIn page, Pysnik boasts that she has a ‘proven track record of building creative strategies within global media corporations’ – something that will no doubt have appealed hugely to Meghan and Harry as they attempt to make a name for themselves in Hollywood.
Beckham has been close friends with Harry, 36, for years and he and wife Victoria were among the celebrity guests invited to attend the Sussexes’ May 2018 wedding
Her personal bio adds: ‘[Chanel] is skilled in premium unscripted development & production, brand growth, and both English- & local-language series & films.
‘Chanel has worked for top streaming, news, and broadcast networks targeting US and international audiences around the globe.’
In the ten months since they announced their deal with Netflix – which is rumored to have netted the couple up to $100 million – the Sussexes have announced just two projects for the streaming site, neither of which have yet to be released.
Progress has also been slow as far as their Spotify podcast is concerned; the couple has only released 35 minutes of content in the eight months since they signed their contract, which sources claimed was worth around $20 million.
As with their production company, the Sussexes brought in a seasoned industry expert to try and boost audio efforts, hiring producer Rebecca Sanaes as Archewell Productions’ Head of Audio earlier this month.
Prior to landing her new role, Sanaes was previously employed as 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.