"There's nobody like them," Winfrey said of Barack and Michelle Obama

By Adam Carlson
April 30, 2019 05:31 PM

Oprah Winfrey knows a thing or two about working in Hollywood, and she had some advice to share with Barack and Michelle Obama.

“When they were starting, he called me for names to run [their company], and I offered him some. They ultimately were not the people he chose, but that’s fine,” Winfrey, 65, told The Hollywood Reporter in a cover story published Tuesday.

“There’s nobody like them. Nobody,” she continued of the former first couple. “Their desire to want to use this medium to tell stories, to show us our history, to bring an informational, inspirational approach to content — I’m looking forward to seeing whatever that’s going to be.”

The Obamas signed an exclusive deal with Netflix last year for an undisclosed sum, in an unusual post-White House phase for a former president and first lady.

Credit: Themba Hadebe/AP/REX/Shutterstock

On Tuesday their production company, Higher Ground, announced the first slate of projects with the streamer.

The list includes fiction and nonfiction programming — TV series, films and documentaries.

For example, the Obamas will produce a children’s show for preschoolers called Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents, from Jeremy Konner and Erika Thormahlen; a narrative film adaptation of the biography Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom; and Bloom, a new series from Nashville creator Callie Khouri “set in the world of fashion in post-WWII New York City that depicts barriers faced by women and by people of color.”

From left: Michelle and Barack Obama
| Credit: JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty

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More titles are expected to be announced “in the coming months,” according to a news release from Higher Ground.

In a statement, Mrs. Obama, 55, hailed the range of formats and subjects their projects encompass.

“We love this slate because it spans so many different interests and experiences, yet it’s all woven together with stories that are relevant to our daily lives,” she said. “We think there’s something here for everyone — moms and dads, curious kids, and anyone simply looking for an engaging, uplifting watch at the end of a busy day. We can’t wait to see these projects come to life — and the conversations they’ll generate.”

Speaking with THR, Winfrey, who is partnering with Apple in its own streaming service, echoed that in succinct fashion.

Asked what potential opportunities and potential drawbacks awaited the Obamas with their Netflix work, she replied, “Oh, they can do any damn thing they want.”