Obamas Sign Deal With Netflix, Form 'Higher Ground Productions'

May 22, 2018
Originally published on May 22, 2018 9:08 am

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama have signed a multiyear deal to form their own production company and provide content to Netflix.

Netflix said in a statement that the Obamas would "produce a diverse mix of content – including docu-series, documentaries and features" under their imprint, Higher Ground Productions.

"Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix – 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," the former president said in the Netflix statement.

"Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others," Michelle Obama said. "Netflix's unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership."

Worldwide, Netflix has 125 million subscribers.

According to Variety, "It is unknown how much the Obamas' Netflix agreement ... is worth. In March, Penguin Random House signed the couple to a joint book deal that pays them a reported $65 million for their respective memoirs."

Rumors of the deal first surfaced in March in The New York Times. At the time, the newspaper reported that the former president did not intend to use the shows produced "to directly respond to President Trump or conservative critics," but instead to produce "shows that highlight inspirational stories."

The Associated Press reports:

"The Obamas can be expected to participate in some of the programming onscreen, said a person familiar with the deal, not authorized to talk publicly about it, on condition of anonymity.

... The type of people that Obama — like other presidents — brought forward as guests at his State of the Union addresses would likely provide fodder for the kinds of stories they want to tell."

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