Coming Down the Pike: Major Obama-Netflix Deal?

'Advanced' talks reportedly underway between former first couple, streaming service
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2018 6:36 AM CST
In this Oct. 13, 2017, file photo, former President Barack Obama, right, and former first lady Michelle Obama arrive for the first session of the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

(Newser) – Trump as president and Obama on TV? It's a role reversal probably no one could have predicted, but it may be one step closer to reality. Per CNN, Obama is in negotiations regarding a "production partnership" with Netflix, in which the former president and Michelle Obama would be involved in creating exclusive content for the streaming service. What that content would be, and how much of it, is still up in the air, though ideas floated include everything from inspirational narratives, Michelle-hosted shows on topics like nutrition, or Barack moderating episodes on hot-button subjects such as health care and immigration. Also unclear is how much the Obamas would earn, though one analyst estimates it could be as much as $500 million, per Newsweek.

The move could be an Obama attempt to push back against the misinformation and "manipulation of news" he has complained about in recent months, giving him "an unfiltered method of communication with the public similar to the audiences he already reaches through social media," per the New York Times, which describes the negotiations as "advanced." (Netflix has 118 million subscribers.) What the shows won't be doing, sources say: getting directly combative with either President Trump or conservatives who've been critical of Obama. Netflix would get new original content out of the deal to keep it competitive against HBO, Amazon, Apple, and the broadcast networks, as well as another big name to boast of in its portfolio—not bad for a company that "began by distributing DVDs," the Times notes.

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