One of the most important books written in the Trump era is The Fifth Risk, a 2018 book written by Michael Lewis. The book laid out an important argument with salience during the presidency of Donald Trump: The federal government has many functions that are extremely important and require people with specific expertise.
These things include safeguarding of nuclear energy, food safety and, yes, prevention of pandemics. It’s better for those jobs to be filled with actual experts, rather than industry hacks, or others with an ideological belief in limited government.
Lewis’ work has been adapted for the screen quite a few times over the years, including for the hit films Moneyball, The Blind Side, and The Big Short.
In October of 2018, The Fifth Risk was optioned for a TV adaptation by Higher Ground Productions, the production company run by Barack and Michelle Obama, which produces documentaries and other products for Netflix. Michelle Obama said in an interview at the time the idea was to “come up with a series for Netflix to help people better understand the government.”
Now, there’s some detail of what the show might look like.
According to Deadline, the show is called The G Word with Adam Conover, and will be hosted by Conover, best known from Adam Ruins Everything. It’s described as a comedy series with documentary elements.
The show, per the report, “will go inside the machine of government and introduce viewers to the civil servants who make it work. It will ask whether government is a dirty word or a trusted institution.”
The show is “loosely” inspired by Lewis’ book, the report said.
Higher Ground Productions’ first film, American Factory, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary feature for 2019, and another film this year, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, has also been highly acclaimed. The company was also behind Becoming, the 2020 documentary that was released as a companion to Michelle Obama’s bestselling autobiography.
The Obamas aren’t understood to have much of a creative role in the films their companies produce and in fact, was acquired by Netflix and Higher Ground after it had already completed production. When American Factory won the Oscar, the Obamas did not go up on stage to accept the award. In fact, they didn’t attend the ceremony at all.
Barack Obama’s presidential memoir, A Promised Land, was released this week, and early sales have reportedly been robust.