Under terms of a proposed deal, which is not final, Netflix would pay Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, for exclusive content that would be available only on the streaming service.
WASHINGTON — Former President Barack Obama and his wife are in advanced negotiations with Netflix to produce a series of high-profile shows, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Under terms of a proposed deal, which is not 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 worldwide. 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.
It is unclear how much money the Obamas will be paid. Netflix recently signed a five-year, $300 million deal to lure Ryan Murphy away from 21st Century Fox, but Murphy is among the TV industry’s most sought-after producers
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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 reaches through social media, with 101 million Twitter followers and 55 million people who have liked his Facebook page.
“President and Mrs. Obama have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire,” Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to the former president, said Thursday. “As they consider their future personal plans, they continue to explore new ways to help others tell and share their stories.”
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 the 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.
Several people familiar with the Netflix discussions said executives from Apple and Amazon, which have their own streaming services, have also expressed interest in talking with Obama about content deals.
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.
Obama has long expressed concerns about how the flow of information — and misinformation — has the power to shape public opinion.
In the past several months, he has discussed with technology executives and wealthy investors the threats to U.S. democracy from the manipulation of news.
For Netflix, securing the Obama programming is a part of the company’s broader search for original content, as the streaming service competes for viewers with HBO, Apple, Amazon and the traditional broadcast networks.
Netflix has said it could spend up to $8 billion on content this year. It has been paying top dollar for original programs like its hit “Stranger Things” and the documentary “Icarus,” which won the Oscar this year for best documentary feature.