Barack And Michelle Obama Ink Production Deal With Netflix

The former President and First Lady have struck a first-of-its-kind agreement to produce a wide variety of content for Netflix.

Former President Barack Obama and his wife former First Lady Michelle Obama have entered an agreement to produce content for Netflix:

WASHINGTON — Former President Barack Obama formally announced on Monday a multiyear production deal with Netflix in which he and the former first lady, Michelle Obama, will produce television shows and films for the streaming service.

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 couple has created “Higher Ground Productions,” a company to produce content for Netflix, the streaming service announced.

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.

Instead, a release from Netflix said the Obamas will produce “scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features” that highlight issues and themes the president pursued during his eight years in office.

“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,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “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.”

More from CNN Money:

Barack and Michelle Obama will work both in front of and behind the camera in a multi-year production deal with Netflix.

The unique pact was announced on Monday. The first content from the Obamas will appear in 2019 at the earliest, according to a person involved in the deal.

Netflix did not specify a timeline. But the company’s announcement of the deal said “the Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features.”

Sometimes the former president and first lady will be on camera as hosts or moderators, the source said on condition of anonymity. In other cases they will stay behind the scenes as producers.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The Obamas are giving Netflix valuable content that many of the streaming service’s 125 million members may want to watch. And Netflix is giving the Obamas a valuable platform to stay visible in their post-White House years.

The Obamas said Monday that they want to harness “the power of storytelling” to promote common values.

“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,” Barack Obama said in a statement.

“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,” Michelle Obama added.

The Obamas now need to hire a team of producers. They have set up a company called Higher Ground Productions “as the entity under which they will produce content for Netflix,” Netflix said.

These types of exclusive production partnerships are common in Hollywood — in fact, Netflix has been attracting a bevy of A-listers, including Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.

But this is a first-of-its-kind deal for a former U.S. president.

Here’s the press release from Netflix:

Hollywood, Calif., May 21, 2018 — President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series with Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service.

The Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features. These projects will be available to the 125 million member Netflix households in 190 countries.

The Obamas have established Higher Ground Productions as the entity under which they will produce content for Netflix.

“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,” said President Obama. “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.”

“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,” said Mrs. Obama. “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.”

“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,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.

There’s no word at this early date about what kind of content the Obama’s would be involved in providing, but from the description, it sounds like it will run the gamut from dramatic series to documentaries. It’s also unclear how much of this content will include programming hosted by the former President or First Lady, which would certainly be something of an unprecedented step. In the past, of course, the first step that former Presidents take after leaving office is to write memoirs covering at the very least their time in office. The Obama’s secured that deal shortly after the former President left office when it was announced that both of them had signed a deal with Penguin Random House worth more than $65 million. The financial terms of this deal with Netflix haven’t been disclosed, but it is likely to be worth far more than even that.

Not bad for a guy who retired at the age of 55.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Economics and Business, Entertainment, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Joe says:

    Media celebrities crash the White House. Time for political celebrities to crash entertainment. The perfect response. We’ll see whose better qualified to break into the other’s space.




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  2. JKB says:

    Things are shifting quickly now. Theirs may morph in to a true crime drama or reality court room.




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  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Oh my…I do hope they get what Dennison has always wanted more than anything but never deserved…an EMMY.
    (Full disclosure…I have three)




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  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @JKB:
    You’re dumb.




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  5. michael reynolds says:

    In other news Donald Trump earned $20 for an article in Penthouse called, “Grabbin’ ‘Em By The Pussy,” part of their Senile Creeps and Sex series.




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  6. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Oh yes, yes, yes they are, JKB. It’s all going to turn around and you will be vindicated! Yes! At last your brilliance will be recognized and all of us who doubted Dear Leader will be laid low, crushed, humiliated.

    Oh, what a happy day that will be! Totally going to happen. It’s not just that you’re drunk and fantasizing.




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  7. An Interested Party says:

    Yet something else for the Orange Blob to get jealous about…how could he possibly overturn this deal…




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  8. teve tory says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: On the bright side, he’s helping keep the kids on the straight and narrow by showing the dangers of chronic crack abuse.




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  9. Kathy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I am surprised the Trumpidians haven’t come to rant and rave about the Great FBI Espionage Caper of 2016.




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  10. Mister Bluster says:

    test




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  11. Mister Bluster says:

    true crime drama

    ‘Too inconvenient’: Trump goes rogue on phone security
    The president has kept features at risk for hacking and resisted efforts by staff to inspect the phones he uses for tweeting.

    “I did it so the Russians could hear every word I said.” Pud Tweets from his Hotel in Moscow after fleeing the United States to dodge charges of treason!




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  12. Slugger says:

    Very interesting development. The possibilities boggle the mind. In today’s world of old show revivals, I can see a new “Honeymooners “ with Bamz as Ralph Cramden and Joe Biden as Ed Norton or “Startrek” with Obama, Captain Kirk, Michelle, Uhura, and Hillary as Spock. The obvious one, the one crying to be made is “The Huxtables” with a Dr. Huxtable you would trust as a gynecologist.
    I am having trouble thinking of suitable Trump vehicles…King Lear?




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  13. Franklin says:

    @JKB: Curious where you get your news. I read many sources and have come to the opposite conclusion.




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  14. An Interested Party says:

    I am having trouble thinking of suitable Trump vehicles…

    Dr. Strangelove, only much, much, much dumber…




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  15. John430 says:

    Their TV productions will be modeled after his administration; all fluff and absolutely no substance.




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  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @John430:
    And yet your man-crush has spent a lot of time tearing down Obama’s “substance”.
    (Obama didn’t have nearly as many associates indicted or entering guilty pleas.)
    Reconcile.
    Go ahead…we’ll wait.




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  17. Mister Bluster says:

    fluff

    You may consider “grab them by the pussy” to be locker room talk or what ever other lame ass excuse you might have for Pud’s behavior.
    Decent folk hear that as a confession to commiting sexual assault.
    “grab them by the pussy” also defines Trump’s character and is the substance of his administration.
    I suspect he is everything you ever wanted in a white man.




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  18. TM01 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    You’re dumb.

    Wow. You’re a frakking genius.

    Episode 1:
    Host: Barack Obama
    Title: Know Your Enemies: What I knew and when I knew it




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  19. teve tory says:

    @Mister Bluster: Kevin drum reminded us yesterday that Trump was caught on tape telling billy bush how gullible his supporters were:

    “People will just believe you. You just tell them and they believe you.”




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  20. Mister Bluster says:

    TRUMP’S FOLLIES!

    Episode One: Know your Porn Stars!
    I don’t know anything about the $130,000 my lawyer paid Stormy Daniels…ask him…

    Episode Two: Know how much you paid them!
    Giuliani says Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000

    Episode Three: Know what your lawyer is going to say before he says it!
    Trump says Giuliani didn’t get his ‘facts straight’




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  21. Guarneri says:

    Angry old man is a bad look, Michael. Although I must say it suits you.

    But what do you care, you’re in New Zealand, right? Right?




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  22. One American says:

    Sorry if I missed it as there is always great reporting here, but where is the I Spy Obama report? Netflix aside…




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  23. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    Actually, I’m in the UK at the moment, enjoying room service breakfast at the Heathrow Sofitel, going to visit the Pinewood set where the movie of my wife’s book is being shot with Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie and Helen Mirren. When we’re done with that I’ll be off to Amsterdam to research my second adult mystery. But angry, so angry and old.

    And how’s your insignificant life of mediocrity, mental decay and loneliness going?




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  24. TM01 says:

    @One American:
    Good question!
    They seem to ignore stories that don’t fit.
    I don’t recall seeing anything here on the IG report fully justifying McCabe’s firing. So far no comment on an administrator using the DoJ to spy on a political opponent. Comey stating Flynn didn’t lie, then changing his story.

    “We didn’t spy on Trump, but if we did it was for the good of the country!”

    Big question: if the Obama DoJ had someone in the Trump campaign to monitor The Russians, who did they have in Hillary’s campaign?
    Or Jill Stein’s campaign?

    Maybe Obama will tell us all about how He was protecting us from The Russians in His first Netflix episode.




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  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Slugger: The Exorcist.




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  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @TM01:
    Excellent recitation of the fever swamp talking points. You must of spent extra time in front of Dennison TV last night.
    Ever had an independent thought?
    Tell me who said this, with a link:

    “We didn’t spy on Trump, but if we did it was for the good of the country!”

    Bet you can’t.
    Then tell me who said this:

    “When I ran, they were looking for dirt on me every day. That’s what you do. Maybe you shouldn’t. But you do it…There is nothing illegal about that. Even if it comes from a Russian or a German or American, it doesn’t matter.”

    FYI…it does matter and it is illegal.




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  27. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    OT…but interesting…
    In September Paul Ryan went to a Harley-Davidson plant in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, to tout the Republican tax cut for the rich.

    “Tax reform can put American manufacturers and American companies like Harley-Davidson on a much better footing to compete in the global economy and keep jobs here in America,”

    Four months later in Kansas City, Missouri, 800 workers at a Harley-Davidson factory were told their jobs were being moved to PA, and would result in a net loss of 350 jobs.
    Just days later, the company announced a dividend increase and a stock buyback plan to repurchase 15 million of its shares, valued at about $696 million.




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  28. EddieinCA says:

    To those of you NOT in Entertainment, let me explain to you how Hollywood movies and TV Series get made.

    IT’S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS!

    You get a project greenlit because you’ve put together elements on a project that someone thinks will mkae them money.

    For Netflix, it’s a brilliant deal. Who better to put together elements than Barack and Michelle Obama. They instantly have access to almost EVERYONE in Hollywood – except for maybe Chuck Norris, Tom Selleck, Jon Voight and a few others. There’s almost nobody that won’t return a call from Obama. He can get Speilberg, Zemeckis, Oprah, Rudin, Nolan, Denzel, Angelina, Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Affleck, Reynolds, Theron, etc, etc, etc, on the phone any time he wants. He’lll have access to the best writers, scripts, ideas out there.

    Not to mention, Obama could probably raise a billion dollars in private equity overnight, if he wanted to.

    Look at what Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have already accomplished in film and TV, and they don’t have 1/4 the cache of Obama.

    Win-Win.

    Haters gonna hate. Brilliant move by Netflix.




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  29. James Pearce says:

    He used to be leader of the free world. Now he’s Jenji Kohan.

    He’s young enough that, if he continues on this path, he might be remembered more for his media career than his presidency. Get your money, I guess.




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  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    Get your money, I guess.

    It’s the American way.




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  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @teve tory: I’m really hoping I’m just imagining seeing what you just did there.




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  32. teve tory says:

    I’m confused. I didn’t think my joke was very ambiguous. 😛




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  33. de stijl says:

    Check the pic for this article.

    There is a President actually holding hands with a willing First Lady and she isn’t batting his hand away!

    That’s crazy!

    Modern-day Presidential has taught us that such things do not and cannot happen. Couples do not hold hands – it is so and it has always been so.

    Husbands and wives lead entirely separate lives. And husbands bang porn stars while their wives are still telling the senior nanny to have someone tell the wet nurse to feed baby Barron – I don’t care what it takes – just get it done, Esmerelda!

    That is the new normal. It has always been so.

    No one knows what happens in others’ relationships and how good it is and how sound it is, but Barrack and Michelle give every appearance of an awfully strong bond between the two. They are a cute couple.




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  34. de stijl says:

    @TM01:

    Hey, douche!

    Are you going to claim antisemitism again? I have not forgotten what you falsely said about me.




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  35. TM01 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Tell me who said this, with a link:

    “We didn’t spy on Trump, but if we did it was for the good of the country!”

    Bet you can’t.

    First people like you called Trump stupid for saying that his phone was tapped. Because that would never happen. Impossible. He’s delusional.

    Now you’ve literally got Clapper saying Trump should be happy they were spying on his campaign because MuhRussia.

    I’m not giving you a link, you lazy slob. I hope you know how to use a search engine.

    But back to the point, I’m kind of no longer surprised actual news isn’t written about here that doesn’t further your narrative.

    But hey! There’s more important things like Obama on Netflix and The Twitter out there!




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  36. michael reynolds says:

    @TM01:
    How many times does it take you to learn not to touch a hot stove? Are you dumber than a cat?

    You trot in here with your latest Hannity talking points, boldly proclaim a position. . . and then minutes later your idiot president contradicts you with a new lie. You’re living out Groundhog Day, aren’t you?




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  37. Matt says:

    @TM01:

    But back to the point, I’m kind of no longer surprised actual news isn’t written about here that doesn’t further your narrative.

    Apparently Daryl and his brother Darryl secretly runs this website and James is just a puppet or a fake creation or something…




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