Barack and Michelle Obama are going Hollywood. The former US president and first lady have inked a multi-year deal with Netflix to produce original TV shows and movies.
The agreement, which was rumored in the New York times in March, was made official today (May 21) in a tweet from Netflix.
The Obamas’ deal with the streaming service is still in the very early stages, but it’s also clear that it has enormous potential. Most people let alone former politicians with no filmmaking experience, get such major production deals like this one. Netflix is basically giving the Obamas carte blanche to make whatever they want, in any way they want to.
The deal shows the Obamas’ sustained post-presidency popularity, as well as their influence in American culture. This makes them bona fide Hollywood players and now they have the opportunity to create their own imprint on global entertainment.
“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 president said in a statement.
Most media observers expect that the Obamas will not overtly address the current occupant of the White House who must be turning burnt orange over this. It has been reported that the former first couple will not try use the deal to create a more progressive media rival to Fox News. Instead, it’s expected that they will focus on more uplifting stories that are important to them.
Barack Obama, for the most part has stayed out of the public eye since Donald Trump became president last year. He does have a prior relationship with Netflix, though: In January, Obama made his first post-presidency talk show appearance on the streaming service, when he spoke with David Letterman on the comedian’s Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.
That appearance marked a big win for Netflix, which fought other networks and streaming services for the rights to Obama’s first interview after leaving office. This new production deal is much bigger than that, and not surprising for a company known for making big bold moves.