Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are in negotiations with Netflix to produce exclusive content for the streaming giant, according to The NYT.
Right now, there is no indication of how many episodes or what show types the content would comprise, but this would be another big get for Netflix after inking deals with TV moguls Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes. The streaming giant is positioning itself to outshine traditional networks, premium and digital cable outlets like HBO and Showtime, as well as other streaming platforms like Amazon and Hulu. Speaking of Amazon, they, along with Apple, have also expressed interest in working with the Obamas.
While many will see this as a way for the former president to address our current president or his GOP critics, Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to President Obama, hinted at a more inspirational tone, as he stated, “President and Mrs. Obama have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire.” He added, “As they consider their future personal plans, they continue to explore new ways to help others tell and share their stories.”
This deal seems to be a way for the former president to work his way back into doing civic work, like in his pre-Illinois senator, pre-POTUS days. It plays into Obama’s lingering interest in blending politics, technology and media. The potential deal with Netflix shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Former President Obama has ties with both Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos and chief executive Reed Hastings from his presidency. President Obama also recently appeared as the inaugural guest on the streamer’s new talk show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.
Netflix would be a good place for the former president to reach his already-huge following, with over 100 million followers on Twitter and 55 million likes on Facebook. This indicates he could communicate his thoughts and ideas to an already built-in audience, a major incentive for Netflix.
Since leaving the White House, the former president and first lady have kept a low profile on the D.C. scene while mingling with famous friends and continuing their philanthropic work.
As Netflix continues to expand their range of programming, there seems to be a hit-or-miss mentality as the competition for viewership grows stronger and stronger amongst all platforms. Getting the Obamas would be major win for the ever-growing streaming service.