As much excitement as it generated at the time, it’s understandable if you forgot entirely about the Obamas’ upcoming partnership with Netflix: It was announced nearly a year ago, and scant additional details to those initially provided emerged in the months since. But that may have been because they’d all been working too hard to pause for an update, because the one that suddenly popped up on Tuesday was quite robust.
According to Higher Ground Productions, the production company that Barack and Michelle Obama launched last spring, the couple has no less than seven projects in the works with Netflix—a number that’s set to grow with even more announcements in the next few months. Whether scripted, unscripted, or documentary, each is meant to reflect the Obamas’ aim with their choice and manner of storytelling: “Touching on issues of race and class, democracy and civil rights, and much more, we believe each of these productions won’t just entertain, but will educate, connect, and inspire us all,” Barack said in a statement.
The educational aspect is more evident in some projects than in others. Falling in the former camp are a movie on Frederick Douglass, and two feature-length documentaries, Crip Camp and American Factory. (The former traces the origins of the disability rights movement back to a ’70s-era summer camp for disabled teens; the latter sees a post-industrial section of Ohio come to terms with its future after its former General Motors plant passes into the hands of a Chinese billionaire and entrepreneur.)
Bloom, on the other hand, sounds more like an entertainingly informative binge watch. While exploring the hurdles that women and people of color faced in post-WWII America, it’s also an upstairs/downstairs drama series, and not of the Downton Abbey variety. It takes place in “the world of fashion” in New York City, arguably the capital of drama in the industry. Written and executive produced by Callie Khouri, who won an Oscar for the screenplay of Thelma & Louise,” Bloom has yet to announce its star, but it’s already looking like Lucy Hale, who landed the titular role of Katy Keene, a fashion musical drama [spin-off of Riverdale*](https://www.wmagazine.com/story/riverdale-spinoff-katy-keene), might be in for some competition. (Especially if Michelle Obama, who’s long championed emerging designers, ends up weighing in.)
The other two TV shows that Higher Ground has in the works are proof of Michelle Obama’s belief that “there’s something here for everyone,” from preschoolers to avid obituary readers. For those who haven’t been getting it around to their stacks of New York Times, Overlooked will catch you up on the paper’s obit column, whereas Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents is more about food and family. Last but not least, there’s also Fifth Risk, a nonfiction series about the government’s “everyday heroes,” based on a book by Michael Lewis (the author of Moneyball and The Big Short.)
As for what the projects that have yet to be announced will look like, well, your guess is as good as anyone’s. And if “storytelling” seems like too broad of an approach to television, well, Oprah Winfrey has a reminder for you: These are the Obamas, and “they can do any damn thing they want.”
Michelle Obama Might Be the Best Dressed First Lady Since Jackie O
Michelle Obama in Alexander McQueen at a state dinner in Washington, D.C., January 2011.
Michelle Obama in Azzedine Alaïa in Baden-Baden, Germany, April 2009.
Michelle Obama in Ralph Lauren in London, England, May 2011.
Michelle Obama in Michael Kors on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, January 2012.
Michelle Obama in Thom Browne at President Obama’s second inauguration in Washington, D.C., January 2013.
Michelle Obama in Carolina Herrera at a state dinner in Berlin, Germany, June 2013.
Michelle Obama in Marchesa at the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., May 2014.
Michelle Obama in Bibhu Mohabaptra at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner in Washington, D.C., September 2014.
Michelle Obama in Zac Posen at the BET Black Girls Rock! special in Newark, New Jersey, March 2015.
Michelle Obama in Mary Katrantzou in London, England, June 2015.
Michelle Obama in Christopher Kane in London, England, June 2015.
Michelle Obama in Carolina Herrera at the arrival of Pope Francis in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, September 2015.
Michelle Obama in Vera Wang at a state dinner in Washington, D.C., September 2015.
Michelle Obama in Tanya Taylor in Washington, D.C., March 2016.
Michelle Obama in Jason Wu at a state dinner in Washington, D.C., March 2016.
Michelle Obama in Carolina Herrera arriving in Havana, Cuba, March 2016.
Michelle Obama in BCBG at the opening ceremony for the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida, May 2016.
Michelle Obama in Naeem Khan at the Nordic state dinner in Washington, D.C., May 2016.
Michelle Obama in Hugo Boss speaking with Oprah in Washington, D.C., June 2016.
Michelle Obama in Marni in Monrovia, Liberia, June 2016.
Michelle Obama in Proenza Schouler in Marrakech, Morroco, June 2016.
Michelle Obama in Peter Pilotto in Marrakech, Morocco, June 2016.
Michelle Obama in Proenza Schouler arriving in Madrid, Spain, June 2016.
Michelle Obama in Preen in Madrid, Spain, July 2016.
Michelle Obama in Christian Siriano arriving at a memorial for police officers killed in Dallas, Texas, July 2016.
Michelle Obama in Christian Siriano at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 2016.
Michelle Obama in Brandon Maxwell at a state dinner honoring the first family of Singapore in Washington, D.C., August 2016.
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 08: First lady Michelle Obama speaks during the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities poetry reading to honor student poets at the White House, September 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. The first lady honored five students with the nation’s highest honor for teen poets presenting original work. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Michelle Obama in Naeem Khan at the Phoenix Awards dinner in Washington, D.C., September 2016.
Michelle Obama in Self-Portrait at the Broadway Shine a Light event in New York, New York, September 2016.