In one of the more high-profile production deals we’ve ever seen, Netflix earlier this month inked a deal with both Barack and Michelle Obama. The deal was officially signed with Higher Ground Productions, the Obama’s production company. While programming specifics remain somewhat vague, Netflix did note that the deal would have the Obamas oversee production across a number of different genres, including television shows and documentaries.
Of course, with politics being what it is, some folks on the right were a little miffed at the news and expressed some concern that the Obamas would use Netflix’s massive platform to exclusively promote partisan viewpoints and politically oriented programming.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, however, recently said that such concerns are unfounded. While speaking at an event in New York this week, Sarandos said that “there’s no political slant to the programming.”
Sarandos, whose remarks were originally relayed via our sister-site Variety, added that the Obama’s production company will focus on entertainment programming as opposed to political programming.
That said, Sarandos allowed that “it’s hard to argue that there’s not a left lean to the creative community.” But he insisted that the original content Netflix greenlights and distributes is “an aggregation of all those storytellers,” not reflecting “the politics of me” or Netflix chairman and CEO Reed Hastings.
When news of Netflix’s deal with the Obamas first broke, there was some surprise that the former first couple didn’t opt to sign a deal with Apple, especially given Apple’s massive hoard of cash. It’s worth noting, though, that Sarandos has long had a personal relationship with the Obamas. In fact, Sarandos’ wife — Nicole Avant — was the United States Ambassador to the Bahamas for about two years during the Obama administration.