×

Michelle Obama Joins YouTube’s Book Panel Discussion Special

YouTube has tapped Michelle Obama to headline an original special, “BookTube,” slated to debut next month during Women’s History Month.

The former First Lady will discuss her bestselling memoir “Becoming” with a panel of YouTubers.  John Green — best-selling author of books including “The Fault in Our Stars” and co-founder of YouTube channels vlogbrothers and Crash Course — will moderate the discussion. Along with Michelle Obama, the special will feature a panel of YouTube creators including Jouelzy, Ariel Bissett, Kat O’Keeffe, Jesse George and Franchesca Ramsey.

YouTube plans to release the original special in March, to be available for free, with an exact date yet to be determined. “BookTube” will comprise seven short-form “chapters,” each under 10 minutes, based on the questions from the YouTube creators for Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” was first released Nov. 13, 2018, by Penguin Random House’s Crown Publishing, and is being published in 44 languages around the world. The book was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller after one week of sales, and to date has sold more than 5.9 million units in all formats and editions in the U.S. and Canada.

Separately, Barack and Michelle Obama have established a production company, Higher Ground Productions, which has a multiyear development deal with Netflix. On Tuesday, Higher Ground named Priya Swaminathan, formerly with Annapurna, and Tonia Davis, who hails from Chernin Entertainment, as co-heads of the venture.

Popular on Variety

The “BookTube” special featuring Michelle Obama comes from the YouTube Originals group, led by global head of original content Susanne Daniels.

Last fall, YouTube switched up its strategy on original productions to what it calls “Single Slate,” under which it will make all of its originals available on a free, ad-supported basis — signaling a move toward projects with broad, mainstream appeal rather than those built around YouTube personalities. In many cases, YouTube will window series and movies to premiere first on the YouTube Premium subscription service before making them available for free.

More Digital

  • Disney Plus - Vizio

    Disney Plus Is Now on Vizio Smart TVs in Native App

    Disney Plus is available on Vizio’s SmartCast TV platform as a built-in app, making the Mouse House’s subscription-streaming service accessible directly to users of the manufacturer’s 13 million SmartCast-enabled televisions. Previously, Vizio users have been able to stream Disney Plus on SmartCast TVs through Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast. But with the Disney Plus update, [...]

  • Best Picture Black Panther

    'Black Panther' Is Leaving Netflix to Come to Disney Plus

    Marvel’s blockbuster “Black Panther” is rolling off Netflix in the U.S. on March 3, 2020 — after which Wakanda fans will be able to stream the movie the next day on Disney Plus. The migration of “Black Panther,” one of the top-grossing superhero films to date, from Netflix to Disney Plus comes as Disney winds [...]

  • GoNoodle I Used a Comma

    Can GoNoodle Climb to the Kid-Media Big Leagues?

    If you’re a parent of grade-school kids in America, the odds are good your tykes know about GoNoodle’s upbeat music and exercise videos, designed to get them up on their feet and moving around. But GoNoodle doesn’t have the same brand recognition as, say, Disney or Nickelodeon — and KC Estenson wants to change that. [...]

  • Friends TV Series

    'Friends' DVD, Digital Sales Soar as It Takes a Break From Streaming

    They’re on a streaming break — but “Friends” will still be there for you. WarnerMedia’s home entertainment division is aiming to capitalize on the brief disappearance of the hit sitcom from streaming video on demand, as fans look for other ways to get their “Friends” fix. Repeats of the wildly popular laffer, which ran for [...]

  • RuPaul

    RuPaul Launches Self-Help Internet Class Teaching You How to 'Work the Runway of Life'

    Legendary drag performer and TV star RuPaul is leading a self-help online course to teach you how to find your identity — and live your best life. The 16-lesson course, offered through online-education platform MasterClass, costs $90 for unlimited access. In RuPaul’s class on “self-expression and authenticity,” he shares experiences from his journey to self-love [...]

  • Spotify and Resident Advisor Announce Ticketing

    Spotify Unveils Ticketing Partnership With Dance Music Platform Resident Advisor

    Spotify today announced a ticketing partnership with influential dance-music website Resident Advisor with the goal of “supporting music communities around the world by increasing attendance to thousands of local venues and parties.” The program will connect Spotify users to events by artists via localized event listings promoted within the application. The program is similar to [...]

  • charlie hunnam TIFF 2019 Kelly Gang

    Apple TV’s 'Shantaram' Halts Production Amid Search for New Showrunner, Weather Problems

    Production of Apple TV Plus’ Charlie Hunnam-starring “Shantaram” has been halted in Australia due to a writing backlog. Only two of 10 episodes shot so far, Variety has confirmed. Though all episodes had been outlined in the writers’ room, it is understood that showrunner and high-profile screenwriter Eric Warren Singer (“Top Gun: Maverick,” “American Hustle”) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content