chief content officer Ted Sarandos (left), an Obama bundler,
helped broker the deal to bring the Obamas to Netflix.
chief content officer Ted Sarandos celebrated Barack and Michelle
Obama as “among the world’s most respected and highly-recognized
public figures” in announcing a deal last week for the Obama family
to produce films and series for the streaming service.
are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for
their formidable storytelling abilities,” Sarandos said in a news
Sarandos didn’t mention: He and his wife have long been donors and
friends to the Obamas, having raised more than a half-million
dollars as bundlers for the president’s campaign in 2012. His wife,
Nicole Avant, also was appointed by Obama as ambassador to the
Bahamas, serving from 2009 to 2011.
confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday that Sarandos himself was directly
involved in brokering the Obama deal.
Sarandos is our chief content officer so of course he was engaged in
bringing Higher Ground Productions to Netflix,” a company spokesman
told Fox News on Monday.
Ground Productions is the name of the company established by the
Obamas to produce content for Netflix.
SIGN MULTIYEAR NETFLIX DEAL TO PRODUCE SHOWS AND FILMS
to the New
York Post, which first reported Sarandos’
involvement in the deal, Sarandos and Avant bundled nearly $600,000
in contributions to Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign.
official Ted Sarandos and wife Nicole Avant, the former US
ambassador to the Bahamas, have been big Obama donors. (Reuters)
father, Clarence, a music executive, also bundled nearly $450,000
for Obama’s presidential campaigns, the Post reported. The newspaper
said one source estimated the deal with the Obamas could be worth
over $50 million.
Obama deal also comes just two months after Netflix announced that
Susan Rice, Obama’s former national security adviser and ambassador
to the United Nations, would be joining the company’s board of
am thrilled to be joining the board of directors of Netflix, a
cutting-edge company whose leadership, high-quality productions, and
unique culture I deeply admire,” Rice said in March.
on Monday suggested Rice had no involvement in bringing the Obamas
to the company.
members play no role in content decisions at Netflix," the spokesman
said when asked about Rice's potential role.
says the Obamas will produce a variety of content, including
scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and
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 last week. “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.”
not yet known what specific projects the Obamas will tackle.
Sarandos, during an event in New York on Tuesday, denied that the
former first family would be using the platform to turn Netflix into
“the Obama Network.”
no political slant to the programming,” Sarandos said of the planned
Obama productions, according to Variety.