The Obamas May Become The First Post-Presidency Streaming Show Producers

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Until Theodore Roosevelt, who jumped in and out of the political fray, former presidents often return to their homes, allowing their successor to establish themselves as the new commander-in-chief.

George Washington became the country’s largest whiskey distiller. William Howard Taft became Chief Justice of the United States. George W. Bush pursued his passion as a painter. 

Much of President Barack Obama’s moves in the weeks leading to his White House exit was left to speculation. For 55-year-old Obama, living in seclusion was not an option. He had already announced in 2016 that he wasn’t leaving Washington until his daughters completed school. He also said he’d have no choice but to speak up if America’s core values and principles were ever under attack. He didn’t say much else other than taking his wife, Michelle on a vacation trip.

According to the New York Times, the Obamas are close to securing a deal with Netflix to produce a series of high-profile shows.

“President and Mrs. Obama have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire,” Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to the former president, said Thursday. “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.”

Although the format for the shows and the number of episodes are yet to be decided, the report stated that President Obama’s plan is to highlight inspirational stories instead of using the platform for response to President Donald Trump.

One potential show idea, the Times said, was for President Obama to moderate conversations on topics that dominated his presidency, from healthcare, voting rights, immigration, foreign policy to climate change. The program could also feature topics Michelle Obama championed as first lady. The couple could also lend their brand and endorsements to Netflix programming that align with their beliefs and values. 

Still unclear is how much the couple will be paid and whether it will come close to their $65 million book. The exclusive content would be made available on the streaming platform to its nearly 118 million global subscribers.

For Netflix, the Obamas’ deal is a part of a broader strategy to develop more original content as the streaming service competes with Apple, Amazon, and traditional broadcast networks. Late last month, Netflix announced it was going to spend as much as $8 billion on original shows this year alone. Not only does Netflix spend more money on non-sports content than any streaming provider, it also spends more than many traditional TV media companies.

Apple and Amazon, which both own their own streaming services, have reportedly “expressed interest in talking with Obama about content deals.”

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