The life of a president after permanently leaving the White House typically involves charity work, paid speeches, and maybe a little painting. But former President Barack Obama could add a new job to the mix: Media powerhouse.
According to multiple news outlets, Obama is in formal talks to produce a series for Netflix that will “highlight inspirational stories.” And while the format hasn’t yet been decided upon, each show could have a different angle and vibe.
The show could be anything from a talk show moderated by President Obama to a traditional nonfiction explainer. Think Mythbusters meets Food Network with Michelle Obama talking about nutrition, as just one hypothetical we can imagine. Specifics haven’t made their way to the rumour mill quite yet, but the show isn’t expected to be highly political.
“President and Mrs. Obama have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire,” Eric Schultz, an adviser to Obama, told the New York Times late yesterday.
“Throughout their lives, they have lifted up stories of people whose efforts to make a difference are quietly changing the world for the better,” continued Shultz. “As they consider their future personal plans, they continue to explore new ways to help others tell and share their stories.”
It’s not clear yet how much Barack and Michelle might make from any deal, though the former president has been paid as much as $400,000 (£288k) per speech and the former First Couple expect to get as much as $60 million (£43 million) combined for their memoirs. The Hollywood Reporter points out that no former president has ever made a TV deal like this. Former residents of the White House have stuck to books as a way to tell their stories.
As the New York Times notes, President Obama is just 55 years old, and presumably has plenty of years left to devote to any number of projects. But the deal with Netflix isn’t finalised yet. And there are rumours that both Apple and Amazon are knocking on Obama’s door to get a show from them.
The entire thing is kind of amusing in light of the rumours about what President Trump would have done if he’d lost the presidency. Many insisted that not only was Trump not serious about his run for the highest office in the land, but that his entire campaign was just setting the stage for him to launch a media empire.
If Trump ever steps down as president it’s hard not to think that he’d be salivating to have his own show—given his single-minded obsession with comparing himself to the 44th president of the United States. But Trump is probably out of luck for now. Obama TV looks like it’s going to be a thing long before Trump TV gets off the ground. [New York Times and Hollywood Reporter]