Netflix has inked a new multi-year production deal with Barack and Michelle Obama this week, the streaming giant announced in a press release.
The “storytelling partnership” will see the former first couple produce a wide range of content, including scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features. For some of that content, the Obamas will serve as on-camera hosts or moderators, while they’ll serve as behind-the-scenes producers for other shows.
A specific timeline for the content has yet to be outlined, but a source told CNN that the first shows are slated to appear in 2019 at the earliest. There’s currently no word on any financial terms.
The former president and first lady, for their part, said that they want to leverage the “power of storytelling” to promote common values. To do so, the Obamas have formed a new production company called Higher Ground Productions.
“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.
The former president has stated that they will not use Netflix as a political platform to bash the current administration or directly respond to critics. Instead, the Obamas are interested in using Netflix as a way to discuss topics that were important to the previous administration — such as healthcare, voting rights, immigration and climate change.
Back in March, The New York Times reported that Netflix was in “advanced negotiations” with Barack and Michelle Obama. Sources indicated that Apple and Amazon were also interested in a deal with the former president and first lady.
The NYT added that the content schedule could include one show in which Barack Obama could moderate discussions about topics that “dominated his presidency.” In another show, Michelle Obama could continue to champion issues that she focused on in the White House, like nutrition.
While Apple has lost out on the Obama deal, the Cupertino tech giant still has a wide range of original TV content in the works. Apple has as many as 13 shows being developed, ranging from dramas and comedies featuring A-list names to a real-estate docu-series, among others.