Following President Barack Obama's successful appearance on David Letterman's Netflix show, the former president is reportedly in talks with the streaming giant to produce new programs that could give him an unprecedented global audience.
Sources familiar with the talks told The New York Times that, under the deal, Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama would create exclusive content for Netflix's 118 million subscribers worldwide. The deal is not final and it is not clear how the programs would be presented. The number of episodes and format are still up in the air.
The programs would focus on inspirational stories, rather than direct responses to President Donald Trump and Republicans. One idea for a program would include Obama moderating conversations on topics that dominated his presidency and continue to divide Americans today. Another idea would have Michelle Obama discuss nutrition and other topics she supported during her husband's administration.
The Times reports that Netflix is not the only company to approach the Obamas about a streaming venture. Apple and Amazon executives have also talked to them, sources said.
“President and Mrs. Obama have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire,” Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to the former president, told the Times. “Throughout their lives, they have lifted up stories of people whose efforts to make a difference are quietly changing the world for the better. As they consider their future personal plans, they continue to explore new ways to help others tell and share their stories.”
Obama was only 55 when his two terms as president ended, and he has continued to search for new ways to speak out. Outside of an appearance on Letterman's new show, he has rarely been seen in public. Both Obama and Michelle Obama are writing memoirs, which have reportedly earned them over $60 million. Last year, the Times also reported that Obama received $400,000 to speak before a Wall Street firm.1comments
As for Netflix, this could be a major coup for the company as it competes with traditional television media and its streaming rivals. ReCode reported last month that Netflix plans to spend $8 billion on original programming in 2018.
The company also has close ties to the Obamas. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings attended state dinners. Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, is married to Nicole A. Avant, a political activist who was Obama's ambassador to the Bahamas during his first term.