Barack Obama appears to be going from former president to program producer and is reportedly in “advanced negotiations” with Netflix to create a series of new shows for the streaming giant.
The New York Times first reported Obama, 56, was in talks with Netflix and the deal would pay him and his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, for Netflix-only “exclusive content” that would be available to subscribers of the digital streaming service. Netflix has about 118 million subscribers globally. It was not immediately clear how many shows or episodes would be ordered nor how much the Obamas would be paid.
However, Netflix is known for paying top dollar to big names such as David Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld and Shonda Rhimes.
Seinfeld was reportedly paid $100 million by Netflix for two comedy specials and the rights of his show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” Business Insider reported.
Letterman, whose new monthly interview program "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction" premiered with Obama as his first guest, is being paid $12 million for the six-episode series, according to Variety.
The company is on track to spend $8 billion on original content in 2018.
The Obamas were reportedly paid more than $60 million in a joint book deal for their memoirs, which have not been released. Since leaving office, the former president has received hundreds of thousands of dollars to make speeches in the U.S. and around the world.
Sources told The New York Times other streaming giants Amazon and Apple also expressed interest in signing Obama to a content deal.
The former president has mostly kept out of the public eye since his presidency ended. He is active on Twitter where he has more than 101 million followers.
Obama also has links to Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings, the streaming company’s chief executive. Hastings attended Obama’s state dinners.
Eric Schultz, Obama’s senior adviser, told The New York Times in a statement, “President and Mrs. Obama have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire. 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.”