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Tiger King TV Series - What We Know So Far

If you, like millions of Netflix viewers, simply can't get enough of the completely insane docuseries Tiger King, then you've got to be wondering what's coming next. After all, the series itself is only seven episodes of sheer lunacy; that bonus eighth episode was fun, but it just didn't really get our gears turning, and the sequel series  Investigating the Strange World of Joe Exotic, which will air on Investigation Discovery — is a bit of an unknown at this point.

It's just that the series — which focuses on Joe "Exotic" Schreibvogel, his unlicensed Oklahoma zoo full of big cats and their cubs, and the various bizarre characters in his orbit, many of whom are in the same business — was singularly weird and constantly surprising. Just like you, we would like more of that. Fortunately, we have great news: a scripted series based on the life of Mr. Schreibvogel and his journey to becoming his flamboyant, tiger-hugging, gun-toting, country-western-singing alter ego is in the works. We only have a few details about it, but those details are so incredibly promising that we feel safe in saying that when this series arrives, it's going to be full-blown Tiger King mania all over again.

Pro tip: you might want to bookmark this page, because we'll be updating it with new information as it becomes available. With that said, here's everything we know so far about the Tiger King series.

What is the release date for the Tiger King series?

First things first: the scripted Tiger King series will not be produced by Netflix, nor will it be based on the streamer's docuseries. Instead, it will be based on the Texas Monthly article "Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild" by Leif Reigstad, which was published in 2019 and covered a lot of the same ground later covered by the series. The article was optioned for the scripted series treatment in June of that year by CBS TV Studios, which will produce the upcoming series (via Variety).

This means that the series might air on CBS, or be exclusive to the CBS All Access streaming platform (more likely, in our opinion). That much we can reasonably state; what we don't know at the moment is when the series might go into production, or what its release date will be. We'll probably be getting some news on this front sooner rather than later, though, because the series does have its showrunner in place.

Handling that duty will be Dan Lagana, who has an overall development deal with CBS and is in the market for a new gig following the cancellation of his Netflix series American Vandal. That series, by the way, was a very well-received true crime mockumentary which focused on a faux-shocking act of vandalism at a suburban high school. We're thinking that taking on a scripted Tiger King series won't be too much of a stretch.

Other than Lagana, there is only one principal to have signed on to the series: the lead actor, the man who will take on the task of channeling the inimitable Joe Exotic. Who could it possibly be, you ask? Are you sure you're ready? We don't think you're ready, but here goes.

Who is in the cast of the Tiger King series?

Filling the role of Joe Exotic will be none other than Nicolas Cage, a thespian who has elevated histrionic overacting to an absolute art form. Cage doesn't exactly look a heck of a lot like Exotic, but that matters little; there is practically nobody else we can think of so profoundly capable of acting just like him, and if the thought of watching Cage wrestle tigers, croon country tunes about tigers, and use the allure of tigers to seduce straight guys doesn't do anything for you, then we're not even sure what to tell you.

Okay, there are a couple of things that we feel we should point out here, because as much as it may seem like it, this is no mere stunt casting. In case you've forgotten, Cage is actually a really good actor; he won an Academy Award for Leaving Las Vegas, and he was nominated for his bonkers dual role in Adaptation (which we frankly believe he should have won). Cage isn't all madly bugging eyes and screaming "not the bees" — he's incredibly committed, and we fully expect him to make us care about Joe Exotic in a way that, well, Joe Exotic himself probably could not.

Also, if you're wondering when was the last time Cage accepted the lead in a scripted television series, the answer is "never." He appeared in a pilot for a variety show called The Best of Times in 1981, and in the televised stage play Industrial Symphony No. 1 (directed by David Lynch) in 1990. He also hosted Saturday Night Live twice, and... that's it. That is the entirety of Cage's body of television work, for now.

What is the plot of the Tiger King series?

Since the series is in very early development, we don't have anything resembling a detailed plot synopsis — but thanks to Variety, we have an idea what to expect in terms of the show's time frame, and it doesn't sound like it'll simply be dramatizing the events of Tiger King. No, it sounds like we're going to get more of a Joe Exotic origin story; according to a press release, 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."

We know what you're thinking: shouldn't that be tiger's den? Do tigers have dens? We're actually not sure about that, and we've watched Tiger King like three times. At any rate, we're of the opinion that this is a good tack to take. Exotic is nothing if not a totally fascinating character, and the docuseries focused a lot more heavily on his struggles with his park and his nemesis Carole Baskin than it did on just how he got to be the way he is. That should make for a pretty interesting story, and with Cage and Lagana on board, we feel like we can safely predict that CBS is looking at a massive hit series here.

Of course, we'll be keeping both ears to the ground for any new details to come down the pike about the show, and we'll keep you up to speed.