Netflix Eyeing Current Events News Programming

Netflix reportedly is looking to launch a current event news program similar to “60 Minutes” on CBS and ABC’s “20/20.”

The program would cover both sides of the political aisle and feature field reports – the latter a dying feature among broadcast news organizations facing dwindling ratings and operating costs.

“Netflix [is] proceeding with caution over this because they’re well aware that most new current affairs shows underwhelm and are expensive,” an unidentified TV executive told MarketWatch.

The subscription streaming video pioneer, which is spending $8 billion on original content this year, has aggressively branched out from episodic programming to feature-length movies and high-profile talk shows.

Netflix reportedly is in negotiations with former President Obama and his wife Michelle for programming. It currently streams a periodic Q&A show with David Letterman (whose first guest was Obama), recently inked comic Norm Macdonald for a satirical look at news, in addition to “The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale.”

The latter similar to McHale’s former show, “The Soup” on E! featuring cutting commentary on TV programs and popular culture.

Jeff Wlodarczak, analyst with Pivotal Research, questioned Netflix’s move into the news genre, whose shelf life is limited.

“All of their content generally has durability — you can watch in months or years later and it is still interesting. But I can see them doing something similar to ‘The Daily Show,’” he said.

While a Netflix rep wasn’t immediately available for comment, the service earlier this month began streaming “Flint Town,” an eight episode docu-series about the aftermath of the Michigan town’s public water crisis.

The documentary is in partnership with Vox Media, and includes upcoming (March 16) release, “Wild Wild Country,” about a guru who attempts to start his own utopian city in rural Oregon.

 

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