The Obama's Higher Ground Production company is re-teaming up with Temple Hill to develop a new movie and TV event for Netflix under the title of Blackout. The project includes half a dozen love stories which are all being written by different writers. According to Netflix, Blackout is being produced as a concurrent TV series and movie, with some of the stories appearing in long-form and others in the movie version. Although it does seem like the instant creation of a franchise, sources have said that there are currently no plans for multiple TV shows and films in the future - not yet anyway.
The six writers on the project are Dhonielle Clayton (Tiny Pretty Things), Tiffany D. Jackson (Allegedly), Nic Stone (Dear Martin), Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give), Ashley Woodfolk (The Beauty that Remains) and Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything). The whole project is told from the perspective of 12 teens during a power outage, hence the title, on a summer night in New York. Temple Hill and Higher Ground have previously worked together on Kevin Hart's Fatherhood, which was released on Netflix after the pandemic put a hold on the theatrical release.
Blackout joins a number of previous Netflix projects for the Obama's Higher Ground, which have included We The People, American Factory, and Crip Camp, with numerous other projects already in development. The deal between the Obamas and Netflix was originally signed in 2018, and in early 2019 the former President and First Lady laid out a roadmap of an expansive list of projects that would be coming to the streamer, which included both movies and TV series'.
Netflix's official description of the series says, "Six prolific authors have written six black love stories all taking place during a power outage on a sweltering summer night. From the perspective of 12 teens with six shots of love, Blackout takes place as a heatwave blankets New York City in darkness and causes an electric chaos. When the lights go out and people reveal hidden truths, love blossoms, friendships transform, and all possibilities take flight. An ex-couple must bury their rivalry and walk the length of Manhattan to make it back to Brooklyn in time to kick off a block party. Two girls search for a lost photograph and find something more. Two boys trapped on the subway come face-to-face with their feelings. A pair of best friends stuck in the NYPL and surrounded by love stories figure out if there's one in their future. A trio of kids on a senior trip take over a double-decker tour bus as they try to have a little fun ... and work out their messy love triangle. Two strangers debate the philosophical nature of identity and wonder if they can find something else between them."
Talking about the collaboration between Higher Ground and Netflix back in April 2019, Barack Obama said in a statement, "We created Higher Ground to harness the power of storytelling. That's why we couldn't be more excited about these projects. 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."
Former First Lady Michelle Obama added, "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. 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."
With the project only in the very early stages of pre-production, it is unlikely we will see Blackout arrive on Netflix until 2023. This story originated from The Hollywood Reporter.