Fury over stars massive Fierce Queens payday
Staff at the troubled new streaming platform Quibi are seething after Reese Witherspoon was paid $8.65 million ($US6 million) to narrate a nature show where her husband works.
Witherspoon voices the show Fierce Queens, which gives a feminist slant to nature documentaries by exploring heroic female animals including cheetahs, hyenas and ant queens, telling viewers: "Imagine a world where females call all the shots."
But Page Six reports that the show, produced by the BBC's Natural History Unit, has been one of the weakest performers on Quibi, as one source said: "Quibi may have to implement cutbacks, and people are fuming that stars like Reese got paid millions."
Witherspoon's husband, Jim Toth, recently left his high-profile gig at top US talent agency CAA after 23 years to work at Jeffrey Katzenberg's start-up as head of content acquisition and talent.
A huge roster of stars - from J.Lo to LeBron James - were hired to make content. But after launching a service that offers supershort programming, aimed at commuters and people on the go, Quibi's "quick bites" have been a bad fit for viewers stuck in lockdown.
The source told Page Six that Quibi has already cut overtime for its lowest level staffers and quietly let go of others, adding: "The mood is dark."
It's now fallen out of Apple's Top 200 apps, while Sensor Tower, which measures apps' performance, now has it at 1007.
Hypebeast reported on Tuesday that with over $US1.7 billion in funding, Quibi has no shortage of cash, but its subscription service and ad revenue are crucial to continuing to make content. And, more worryingly, most subscribers are coming to the end of their free 90-day trials.
As of May, one month after launch, it recorded more than 3.5 million app downloads and 1.3 million active users, disappointing figures for co-founder and former Disney studio boss Katzenberg. "It's not up to what we wanted," he said in May. "It's not close to what we wanted."
Reps for Quibi and Witherspoon were unavailable for comment.
This story originally appeared on the New York Post and is republished here with permission
Originally published as Fury over Reese's massive payday