Former president and first lady, Barack and Michelle Obama, signed a multiyear production deal with the Netflix streaming company to produce both a scripted and unscripted series, along with documentaries and features.
Netflix announced its agreement with the Obamas on Monday to air fresh content that will reportedly fly under the couple’s newly established banner, called Higher Ground Productions.
“President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series for Netflix, potentially including scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries, and features,” Netflix tweeted Monday.
Cashing in on the presidency …
Speaking on the deal just months after signing a $60 million multi-book deal with Penguin Random House, the former president is cashing in on his presidency yet again, selling his and his wife’s progressive inside scoop on life in the White House.
“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” the 44th president said in a statement published by TheWrap.com. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples and help them share their stories with the entire world.”
The politically correct former first lady followed up with her own statement to advertise her “open-minded” behind-the-scenes take on life in the nation’s capital while serving as first lady for two terms under her husband’s Democratic administration.
“Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others,” Michelle Obama expressed, according to TheWrap.com. “Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”
A new progressive platform?
The notoriously pro-Obama daily from the Empire State, the New York Times, announced the partnership when it was still a deal-in-the making back in March, and recently followed up with a feature story implying that the television arrangement could yield the Obamas “tens of millions of dollars over several years” – gauged by similar deals streaming services have arranged with high-profile celebrities of the likes of Barack and Michelle Obama.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos touted the deal as being a perk to his streaming company’s audience, which is also eagerly anticipating the second season of its highly controversial series on teen suicide, 13 Reasons Why, which recently had its Los Angeles premiere cancelled after the high school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, that killed 10.
“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly recognized public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” Sarandos expressed, according to the New York Times. “We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.”
The Big Apple daily mentioned that Netflix’s rivals, Apple and Amazon, also courted the Obamas while trying stay competitive with the streaming giant by broadening their content offering, and the leftist newspaper also insisted that the new Obama content is not being presented to air political views aimed against the Trump administration and conservatives.
“The deal will give Mr. Obama an international television platform during his post-presidency, allowing him to reach millions of people in the United States and internationally,” the New York Times informed. “The former president has told associates that he does not intend to use the new platform to wage a public campaign against his successor in the Oval Office, or to fight against conservative voices that populate media outlets like Fox News.”
Inspiration to the right, or just the left?
Even though many on the political right fear the Obamas will use their series to promote liberal ideals championed by the Democratic Party, another major left-leaning media hub also ensured that the content would be nonpartisan.
“Instead, [Netflix’s Obama series] would focus on inspirational content,” CNBC reported.
Yet, another staunch leftist anti-Trumper – who bowed out of his nightly talk show in recent years after it ran for several decades – also gave voice to Barack Obama’s worldview on a program broadcasted by the streaming giant.
“Obama previously appeared on Netflix's ‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman,’" CNBC’s Michelle Castillo added.
Aggressively on the move, Netfilx recently snagged a couple of big names from major American networks in a bold attempt to gain an even larger market share.
“This is the latest splashy deal for the company, which recently signed away mega-producers Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes from their respective homes at Fox and ABC,” TheWrap.com’s Jennifer Mass pointed out.