Former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama have signed a surprising deal with Netflix to produce films and TV series.
The unique arrangement will see the Obamas work both in front of and behind the camera after entering “a multi-year agreement”, Netflix announced Monday morning (AEST).
Netflix says the Obamas’ projects will “potentially” include “scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features” under the company name Higher Grounds Productions.
The agreement with Netflix, which boasts some 125 million subscribers worldwide, will give the Obamas a voice outside of the traditional public speaking, books and charity work that recent ex-presidents have relied on.
“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 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.”
Netflix did not specify a timeline, but sources quoted by CNN said the first content from the Obamas would appear in 2019 at the earliest.
“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.”
Rumours of the alleged partnership between the streaming service and the Obamas first appeared in March, when The New York Times reported two potential show ideas involving the couple.
One possible project was for Mr Obama to moderate debates on issues such as health care, climate change and immigration.
The other was said to “feature Mrs Obama on topics, like nutrition, that she championed in the White House”.
Exact details of programming and financial terms have not been disclosed.
“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly-recognised public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said.
“We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.”