The eight-episode series is based not on the docuseries, but Leif Reigstad’s June 2019 Texas Monthly article, “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild.” CBS Television, which is producing the series with Imagine Television, optioned the rights to the article back in 2019.
Cage is the only actor attached to the show so far, and he will also serve as an executive producer. Dan Lagana, who co-created Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous and served as showrunner on the acclaimed mockumentary series American Vandal, will be the showrunner, as well as a writer and producer.
Per a press release (via Buzzfeed), “The story centers around Joe Schreibvogel, a.k.a Joe Exotic, an eccentric, exotic zookeeper in Oklahoma who fights to keep his park even at the risk of losing his sanity. The series will live in the lion’s den with Joe, explore how he became Joe Exotic and how he lost himself to a character of his own creation.”
The new series with Cage in the starring role isn’t the only fictionalized adaptation of the Joe Exotic story in the works. Last November, Kate McKinnon was tapped to star as Exotic’s arch-nemesis, Carole Baskin, in a scripted series based on the Wondery podcast, Joe Exotic. Though Joe Exotic’s story had been bouncing around in certain corners for the past few years, it was Tiger King that turned the surreal saga of the roadside zoo owner/country musician/aspiring politician into a pop culture phenomenon.