Amazon moves into ‘Tiger King’ territory with Nicolas Cage-starring drama

Tiger King

Amazon has picked up the recently revealed US drama that is set to star Nicolas Cage as Joe Exotic, the subject of Netflix’s hit docuseries Tiger King.

The eight-episode limited drama is set to mark the Hollywood star’s first major TV role, with Amazon now in development on the show, which emerged in May. It is being produced by US-based Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios.

It is based upon the Texas Monthly article Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into The Mind Of A World Gone Mad by Leif Reigstad, which was optioned by CBS TV Studios in 2019. American Vandal showrunner Dan Lagana will helm, write and executive produce for CBS on the project.

Nicolas Cage

Now well-known due to his appearance in Netflix’s Tiger King, US former zookeeper Joseph ‘Joe Exotic’ Maldonado-Passage is serving 22 years in prison due to his role in an alleged murder-for-hire plot to kill rival Carole Baskin, who ran animal sanctuary Big Cat Rescue.

Maldonado-Passage has also accused Baskin in the disappearance of her former husband Don Lewis.

This is the first TV series for Oscar-winner Cage, whose big-screen credits include Leaving Las Vegas, Con Air and the National Treasure franchise.

ViacomCBS said in a statement that the untitled project will “explore how he became Joe Exotic, and how he lost himself to a character of his own creation.”

The drama is not the only scripted series in the works following Netflix’s Tiger King success. Last month, NBCUniversal combined the commissioning power of its streaming platform Peacock, cablenet USA and broadcast network NBC for a show focused on Baskin, while US cablenet ID earlier this year ordered factual series Investigating The Strange World Of Joe Exotic. 

Netflix cited Tiger King as a key driver in its subscriber surge over the last quarter, along with the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown and La Casa De Papel (aka Money Heist).

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