9:18am PT by Jackie Strause
Obamas Ink Producing Deal With Netflix
Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are officially getting into business with Netflix.
The Obamas have entered into a multiyear agreement to produce films and series with the streaming giant, Netflix announced Monday. The pair will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docuseries, documentaries and features under their Higher Ground Productions banner.
“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,” Barack 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.”
The former first lady added in her own statement: “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. 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."
The unprecedented deal is the Obamas' first big move after exiting the White House in 2017. Previous former presidents have limited their post-White House pacts to book deals; the Obamas also have a $65 million deal with Penguin Random House to publish individual books.
The partnership marks the latest talent feat for Netflix as the streamer continues to expand its unscripted and informational original programming. Netflix's recent pact with mega-producer Ryan Murphy is said to be worth as much as $300 million.
“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 in a statement. “We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.”
The New York Times first reported that the Obamas were in advance talks to sign the streaming deal back in March. The former president also appeared on the first episode of David Letterman's Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, where he spoke about life after the presidency.
Barack Obama has a massive social reach of 103 million Twitter followers, in addition to the outreach he and Michelle have done through their Obama Foundation. Netflix has 125 million global subscribers.