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Obama said to be in talks with Netflix to produce shows
9 March 2018 — 2:28pm
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Former US President Barack Obama is in advanced negotiations with Netflix to produce a series of high-profile shows that will provide him a global platform after his departure from the White House, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Under terms of a proposed deal, which is not yet final, Netflix would pay Obama and his wife, Michelle, for exclusive content that would be available only on the streaming service, which has nearly 118 million subscribers around the world. The number of episodes and the formats for the shows have not been decided.
Obama does not intend to use his Netflix shows to directly respond to President Donald Trump or conservative critics, according to people familiar with discussions about the programming. They said the Obamas had talked about producing shows that highlight inspirational stories.
But the Netflix deal, while not a direct answer to Fox News or Breitbart.com, would give Obama an unfiltered method of communication with the public similar to the audiences he already reaches through social media, with 101 million Twitter followers and 55 million people who have liked his Facebook page.
In one possible show idea, Obama could moderate conversations on topics that dominated his presidency — health care, voting rights, immigration, foreign policy, climate change — and that have continued to divide a polarized American electorate during Trump's time in office.
Another program could feature Michelle Obama on topics, such as nutrition, that she championed in the White House. The former president and first lady could also lend their brand — and their endorsement — to documentaries or fictional programming on Netflix that align with their beliefs and values.
It is unclear how much money the Obamas will be paid, given their lack of experience in the media business.
The former president has maintained a low profile since leaving office. He and his wife are each writing highly anticipated memoirs, for which they were reportedly paid more than $60 million. And Obama has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches in the United States and around the world. The Obamas are rarely seen in public in Washington, where they still live.
New York Times
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