Peter Rice's Next Act; Prince Harry's 'SNL' Flip-Flop
The top exec was spotted dining at Disney, but don't read into that
Prince Harry will be attending the coronation of his father, King Charles III, on Saturday, but The Ankler has learned of another solo engagement he had on the calendar earlier this year: hosting Saturday Night Live. Long one of the most coveted celebrity slots and a rite-of-passage for those looking to elevate (or cement) their profiles, Harry was all set to host… until he wasn’t. In January, producer Lorne Michaels received a last-minute snub following weeks of discussion and a soft yes. “I think he was feeling oversaturated and questioning whether he was becoming too much of a ‘celebrity’ as opposed to a figurehead,” says a source with knowledge of the situation.
The timing would’ve made sense. Harry’s memoir, Spare, had just been released and was burning up the charts having moved 3.2 million copies in its first week and the 38-year-old Duke of Sussex wasn’t exactly shying away from press. He went on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, 60 Minutes, and aired dirty laundry in Harry & Meghan, Netflix’s most successful docuseries debut ever. The salacious parts of Spare would have provided ample grist for the SNL writers room to dream up some hilarious bits (Coldplay frontman Chris Martin was being discussed as a potential musical act in the same show, according to a source; the entire band ended up performing on Feb. 4 with Pedro Pascal as host). But with weeks to go before the taping, Prince Harry had a last-minute change of heart. A spokesperson for NBC Universal declined to comment; a spokesperson through Harry’s production company with wife Meghan Markle, Archewell, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Meanwhile, Archewell looks dramatically different than it did a year ago. In January, the company announced that its head of content Ben Browning and head of marketing Fara Taylor were both exiting the company and that those positions would be dissolved. The company’s production pipeline remains to date small given the size of the deals the pair inked with Spotify (a $25 million multi-year deal) and Netflix (somewhere in the high eight-figures); Markle announced last week that she had signed with WME.
Peter Rice: ‘He’s the Whole Package’
Peter Rice was spotted having a friendly lunch in March at Disney with the newly restored Bob Iger and Dana Walden, chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, prompting speculation that the beloved exec might be headed back to his old employer. He was even also later spotted meeting with Kareem Daniel, with whom he’d butted heads, after Daniel’s own ouster from Disney, raising more question marks about what was afoot.
But it turns out Rice, who left Disney nearly a year ago, is on to another plan. Though there’s been nary a peep heard from Rice, who’s remained coy about what his next professional move might be, that’s about to change.