The Obama Channel? Barack and Michelle Obama Sign Deal with Netflix
Former president and first lady will be able to produce everything from scripted shows to documentaries to feature films
By Austen Hufford
Netflix Inc. NFLX +0.99% signed former U.S. President Barack Obama and the former first lady, Michelle Obama, to a multiyear deal to produce shows and documentaries for the streaming platform.
Netflix announced Monday that the arrangement with the Obamas had been completed, giving the couple leeway to pro-duce everything from scripted television shows to unscripted shows to documentary series and features. Terms weren’t
The deal will give Mr. Obama an international platform, reaching Netflix’s 125 million streaming members around the world. While writing books and going on speaking tours have been commonplace for past presidents, the wide-ranging media deal is unique.
In a statement, Mr. Obama said he wants to use the work with Netflix to increase empathy and understanding among people.
“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. “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, helping them share their stories with the entire world.”
The Obamas have established Higher Ground Productions to create content for Netflix.
Mrs. Obama said the streaming service is the “natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share.”
Netflix has become a force in media, increasingly securing exclusive deals with top-tier talent in recent years. Earlier this year, Netflix signed producer Ryan Murphy to a multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal to create content exclusively for the service, and last year the service lured “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes away from ABC.
Last year, Penguin Random House struck a deal for separate books by Mr. Obama and Mrs. Obama that would look back at their years in the White House.
Appeared in the May 22, 2018, print edition as ‘Obamas to Produce Netflix Shows.’