Obamas reportedly in talks with LeBron James, Peyton Manning to produce new NBA players docuseries on Netflix

 October 28, 2023

Former President Barack Obama may no longer hold any official political power, but he and former First Lady Michelle Obama nonetheless still retain significant cultural influence on large parts of American society, particularly now in the realm of entertainment.

Recent reports indicate that the Obamas are teaming up with NBA superstar LeBron James and former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning to produce a new docuseries about the lives of professional basketball players, according to The Root.

At this point, the potential partnership has not yet been reported as official, but talks are reportedly ongoing between the Obamas' Higher Ground production company with James' Springhill Company and Manning's Omaha Productions as well as the NBA itself about the planned series that will likely end up on Netflix.

NBA docuseries follows pattern of other sports-themed shows

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the talks between the three production companies about an NBA players docuseries that would be modeled after Manning's Omaha Productions' hit "Quarterback" series on Netflix that follows the daily lives of three NFL quarterbacks.

Manning's company also produces the former quarterback's hit alternate "Monday Night Football" alternate telecast on ESPN, in which he and fellow former NFL quarterback brother Eli Manning and a guest provide humorous commentary and unique insights as the games are played.

James' Springhill Company, co-founded with friend Maverick Carter, has previously produced the "Space Jam" movie reboot, as well as a YouTube talk show known as "The Shop," among other things.

The former first couple created their own production company, Higher Ground, after leaving the White House and reportedly have a "first-look" deal with Netflix, which seems to be the likely platform for the NBA series.

That is likely due in part to the success of other sports-themed docuseries on Netflix, including "Quarterback" but also "Drive to Survive" about Formula 1 race car drivers, "Break Point" about professional tennis players, and "Full Swing" about professional golfers.

The Formula 1 series is about to enter into its sixth season, "Full Swing" has led to the creation of a new golf tournament and resulted in an increase in actual viewership for real PGA events, and "Quarterback" is considering expanding to include players in other positions in a forthcoming second season.

Series likely to end up on Netflix

According to The Hollywood Reporter, it remains unclear at this time which NBA players would be the main subjects of the planned docuseries involving the Obamas, James, and Manning, but if it is anything like the other sports-related shows, it will likely feature a mix of famous stars and other lesser-known players in the league.

It is worth noting that while Netflix appears to be the likely destination for this new basketball series, given the connections that both the Obamas' and Manning's production companies have with the platform, there is at least one other possible platform where it could end up.

The outlet noted that James' Springhill Company has a "first-look" contract worked out with Disney for any TV series it may produce, which raises the possibility that Disney+ or ESPN+ could end up being where the docuseries is ultimately streamed if Netflix decides to pass on the project.

No official confirmation yet

As previously noted, there has been no official confirmation from any of the parties reportedly involved in talks about the NBA docuseries project.

That said, given the star power behind the proposal, it seems highly likely that it will come to fruition and have a ready fan base waiting to watch it once it begins streaming.

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