Pop Culture Intervention

5 Ideas We Hope Come To Life In The Obama-Netflix Storytelling Partnership

Can "Keeping Up With the Obamas" be a real thing?

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It was announced earlier this week that Netflix had entered into a multi-year production agreement with former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama to produce films and series. The news sent the internet spiraling into a yasss-induced state and, while we have no idea what will result from it, we certainly have a few ideas of what these two powerhouses could do together.

Barack and Michelle, I hope you're listening.


The press release lists various formats that the Obamas, using their new company Higher Ground Productions, could end up creating, including scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries, and features.

"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," Mr. Obama said. "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."

"Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others," Mrs. Obama said. "Netflix's unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership."

We're likely in for a little wait before we'll see anything result from this — after all, Netflix has also struck major deals with the likes of Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy — but in the meantime let's daydream about what could be, shall we?

1. Anything with gorgeous cinematography by Pete Souza.

Thanks to Pete Souza, an American photojournalist who was the chief official White House photographer for both President Ronald Reagan and President Obama, we have seen numerous intimate photos from the lives of our former leaders. From what we can tell, Souza has yet to express interest pursuing a gig in TV or film, but we think he would have a lot to bring to any project with an award-winning creative eye that is able to make powerful points with poignant images

2. Partnerships with other famous makers of media.

One of the results of being the president is shaking hands with some of the biggest A-list names Hollywood has to offer. The Obamas are friendly with the likes of George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey, just to name a few. These people are all content creators in their own right and could team up with Higher Ground Productions to make some truly incredible things. Could you imagine what would come from a meeting of the minds here?

3. TV shows or films that highlight issues that are important to them.

There are many issues the Obamas hold dear — for instance, Michelle's push for America's youth to be more educated about nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating, as well as Barack's legacy with the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Imagine Michelle teaming up with Robert Kenner (Food Inc.), Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), or Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) for a documentary or docu-series. Or imagine Barack bringing Kip Andersen (What the Health), Michael Moore (Sicko), or Peter Nicks (The Waiting Room) aboard for a similar project.

4. A feature film about Chicago.

Lena Waithe's The Chi is currently tackling Chicago on the small screen, so it only makes sense for the Obamas to make something about the city they lived in for the big screen. Michelle is from there — the South Side, specifically — and Barack has called the Windy City home for decades. They are passionate about it and we think they could really show the world Chicago in a beautiful way. We also wouldn't be opposed to them telling their love story a la 2016's Southside With You.

5. "Keeping Up With the Obamas."

OK, this one is a little out there and would likely never happen in a million year, but we can't not put it out there into the universe. We're obviously not talking about anything that is trashy or in poor taste, but following around Mr. and Mrs. Obama would make for a truly captivating reality show. We'd get to see inside their personal lives and experience what they go through on a daily basis. Plus, you know these two eloquent speakers would make some great confessionals.

Cover image: John Gress Media Inc / Shutterstock.com


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