Obama-Netflix Multiyear Production Deal Is Infuriating Trump Supporters

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Written by Dana Sanchez

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have entered into a multiyear agreement to produce films and series with Netflix, the company announced in a tweet.

The Obamas have sustained post-presidency popularity and stayed out of the public eye since Barack left office, but Trump supporters instantly bombarded the Netflix Twitter page, threatening to cancel their Netflix memberships.

https://twitter.com/Dinnerisyou/status/998601980376506369

The Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features, Netflix announced in a press release.

These projects will be available to the 125-million households who are Netflix members in 190 countries.

The Obamas 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,” Barack 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 president and first lady will sometimes be on camera as hosts or moderators, a source told CNN anonymously. In other cases they will stay behind the camera as producers.

Obama-Netflix production deal

“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 said. “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 terms of the deal were not made public. Exclusive production partnerships are common in Hollywood, CNN reported. Netflix has attracted A-listers such as Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy. But this is a first-of-its-kind deal for a former U.S. president.

“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.”

In his final days in office, Barack expressed interest in pursuing digital media ventures after he left office, CNN reported:

Jen Psaki, the White House communications director at the time, told CNN that ‘he is very interested in how people consume information and the changing trends,’ citing online and mobile news consumption.”

Back then, The New York Times said Barack could possibly moderate conversations on topics that dominated his presidency while Michelle could discuss topics such as nutrition, that she championed in the White House.

The talks with Netflix were first reported in March.

“Netflix is essentially giving the Obamas carte blanche to make whatever they want, in any way they want to,” Quartz reported:

The arrangement is similar to what prolific TV showrunner Ryan Murphy enjoys at Netflix, or what musician, actor, and filmmaker Donald Glover has at FX.

Media observers expect that the Obamas will not overtly address the Trump administration, Quartz reported:

(Trump will) (no doubt will be jealous over this news) and the New York Times reported (paywall) that the former first couple will not try use the deal to create a more progressive media rival to Fox News. Rather, it’s expected that they will focus on more uplifting stories that are important to them.”

Netflix competed with other networks and streaming services for the rights to Obama’s first interview after leaving office. It was a massive coup when Barack spoke with David Letterman on the comedian’s Netflix series, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” Quartz reported.