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Barack and Michelle Obama ink deal to produce content for Netflix

The couple will produce content for the service through a new company called Higher Ground Productions.
Image: Barack and Michelle Obama
President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Phoenix Awards Dinner on Sept. 17, 2016, in Washington.Chris Kleponis / AFP - Getty Images file

Barack and Michelle Obama are ready to chill with Netflix.

The former president and first lady have signed a multiyear deal to produce television shows and films for Netflix, the streaming service announced on Monday — "potentially including scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features."

The couple will provide content through a new company called Higher Ground Productions, Netflix said in a news release. The New York Times first reported in March that the Obamas were in advanced negotiations with Netflix to produce a series of shows.

"One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience," Obama said in a statement.

"That's why 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 deal will give the Obamas a global platform in the Trump era, connecting them with an audience of more than 120 million Netflix subscribers in more than 190 countries.

It also suggested that the former president has not lost his interest in digital media. During his presidency, he reached out to young voters with appearances on web shows hosted by Jerry Seinfeld and Zach Galifianakis, question-and-answer sessions on Reddit, and interviews with YouTube stars.

Netflix did not disclose the financial terms of the deal. But arrangements between the company and other top-tier celebrities and producers have been worth several tens of millions of dollars.

The streaming giant has begun to muscle out traditional studios by signing lucrative multiyear deals with A-list Hollywood talent, including prolific TV showrunners Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy and comedy star Adam Sandler.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said in a statement that he was "incredibly proud" that the Obamas had "chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities."

Obama is no stranger to the platform. He appeared this year on David Letterman's Netflix talk show, "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction."