Oprah Winfrey’s explosive two-hour interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, drew massive ratings for CBS Sunday night, with an audience of more than 17 million viewers tuning in live.
But those who had specifically signed up for Paramount Plus — ViacomCBS’ rebranded streaming service that launched just last week — to stream the highly anticipated interview were left high and dry. Though the special was available to watch live using Paramount Plus’ “live TV” function, the full program was not there. People who signed on Sunday night to watch the interview instead saw a splash featuring Queen Latifah for “The Equalizer” and “60 Minutes.” Nor did the search function on the site recognize “Oprah.”
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“Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A Primetime Special” is now available on CBS.com. But the program is still not on Paramount Plus.
A source has told Variety that Harpo, Winfrey’s production company, has the streaming rights to the special, not CBS. So while the special was available on Paramount Plus to stream live, and is on CBS.com for free for the next 30 days, it won’t be added to the nascent streamer’s programming.
As of last year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a multi-year deal with Netflix, and in 2018, Winfrey made a deal with Apple TV Plus. It appears those deals precluded Paramount Plus from being able to stream what will likely be one of the biggest programs of the year, showing the complexities of the streaming wars.
Representatives from Paramount Plus, CBS and Harpo did not respond to Variety’s request for comment.
But on Twitter, people had a lot of questions.
Michael Schneider and Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.
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