Netflix is reportedly in “advanced negotiations” with former President Barack Obama and his wife concerning the production of exclusive content for the platform.
The streaming giant is apparently offering to pay the Obamas for the series of “high-profile” shows, the New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the discussions. Notably, those sources said that executives from both Apple and Amazon have also expressed an interest in talking to the former president about content deals.
Barack and Michelle Obama are reportedly interested in using the platform to discuss various topics important to the previous administration, rather than as a way to respond to critics or the current president.
In one possible show idea, Obama could moderate discussions about issues like healthcare, voting rights, immigration, foreign policy and climate change. In another show, Michelle Obama could hold conversations about nutrition, as well as other topics she championed during her time in the White House.
The publication reported that it’s unclear how much the Obamas would be paid for the programming, citing their “lack of experience” in the media industry. The Times added that the deal is likely evidence that Obama wishes to remain engaged in civic discussions.
While other tech giants may be interested, the NYT noted that Obama has close ties to Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos. The Netflix executive is married to Nicole A. Avant, an activist who also served as Obama’s ambassador to the Bahamas. Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, was also close to the former president during his tenure.
And while the idea might sound far-fetched, the New York Times notes that it’s a modern interpretation of an approach used by other former politicians. Former vice president Al Gore created a cable network after losing the 2000 election to George W. Bush, for example.
The discussions are just one part of Netflix’s broader plans in the content field. The streaming giant has previously said that it could spend as much as $8 billion securing content this year. The company has seen great success with its other original content, including hit show Stranger Things and Oscar-winning documentary Icarus.
But Apple has also been pushing into the original content market in recent years, and its possible involvement in the Obama discussions is indicative of that.
Apple’s current planned projects include an untitled morning show drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, a comedy series featuring SNL alum Kristen Wiig, and a series written by La La Land creator Damien Chazelle, among several others.
In fact, the Cupertino tech giant has about 10 high-profile television shows currently in the works. Though it’s currently unclear how Apple plans to roll out its original content, it could tie-in to the company’s existing TV programming on Apple Music.