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The Rocky Trump Transition Is Headed To Netflix, Thanks To Barack Obama And Michael Lewis

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Staff Sgt. Sean Martin/Air Force file photo

Michael Lewis’s book The Fifth Risk, out last month, criticizes the transition between Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s federal governments as dysfunctional and, as a consequence, deeply dangerous for the country and the world. Obama, it would seem, concurs.

The former president and his wife, Michelle Obama, have signed a multi-year agreement with Netflix to produce TV shows and movies. And as Lewis announced on Katie Couric’s podcast (audio, at 01:02:50) today (Nov.1), that could include a series based on his book.

“He’s optioned the book to come up with a series for Netflix to help people better understand the government,” says Couric, to which Lewis responds, “Yes, it’s just as a civics lesson.”

(This doesn’t mean the show will for sure happen, but that Netflix and the Obamas have exclusive rights for some period to develop the show. Netflix, the Obamas, and Lewis’s publisher, W.W. Norton, have not responded to requests for further details.)

Lewis and his beloved quants are, of course, rich fodder for Hollywood. The Big Short, based on his book about the lead-up to the financial crisis, and Moneyball, based on his book about a statistical approach to winning baseball, have racked up 11 Oscar nominations.

The Fifth Risk looks at the critical period in which one president leaves office and another brings in 4,000 or so new appointees to fill leadership roles in the federal government. It’s a rocky and awkward transition for any two presidents, and in Lewis’s eyes, has been botched particularly badly by the chaos-plagued Trump administration. Drawing on people and stories from within the departments of commerce, agriculture, and energy, Lewis shows just how wide-ranging and misunderstood their functions are. Indeed, with their drab offices and disheveled nerdery, these Lewisian characters seem ready-made for camera.

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