Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will appear at an event celebrating TIME’s list of the 100 most influential people, which will be broadcast on television for the first time.
The TIME list’s announcement is usually accompanied by a series of in-person events but they cannot take place this year due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
Instead, ABC will broadcast an hour-long special on 22 September, featuring musical performances from Halsey, Jennifer Hudson and The Weeknd.
This year’s list of ‘the most influential people’ has not been revealed yet, but Harry and Meghan appeared on the list in 2018, and being named for the event has fuelled speculation they will be on the 2020 list.
However TIME has said they are attending as previous honourees.
TIME’s studios president Ian Orefice told E news: “In a year in which we are unfortunately unable to convene the TIME100 community together in person, we are excited to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the members of this year's list with a brand-new experience on ABC that will allow more people to participate than ever before.”
Rob Mills, ABC's senior vice president of alternative series, specials and late night, added: “Amidst this unprecedented year, we hope that viewers at home will not only be entertained but feel inspired by the impact that the honourees of the 2020 TIME100 list have made on the world.”
In 2018, actor and friend of Meghan, Priyanka Chopra wrote about the duchess, saying: “More than anything else, Meghan is an important influencer in a world that needs strong public figures to respect and look up to. People the world can be inspired by. Meghan, standing shoulder to shoulder with Harry, will be a princess for the people.”
Elton John, writing about Prince Harry, said: “Prince Harry has that rare ability to walk into a room full of strangers and make everyone feel comfortable and at ease. As he has grown in maturity, I have watched him take on these causes with the remarkable skill to see and communicate how it truly feels for the people he is trying to help.”
Harry and Meghan have signed a mega deal with Netflix to make documentaries, scripted series and children’s programming, and already have two projects underway.
They are preparing to set up a production company, the name of which has not yet been revealed.
It’s the biggest step the couple has made as they seek financial independence, and it led to them paying off the renovation bill on Frogmore Cottage, their UK home, as well as ending their reliance on any funding from Prince Charles.
Harry celebrated his 36th birthday on 15 September and the couple marked the day by matching donations made to CAMFED, a pan-African charity, after a fundraiser held by the ‘Sussex Squad’, their online supporters.
TIME100 will air on 22 September at 10pm ET (3am BST) on ABC.