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Nicolas Cage’s Tiger King Series Isn’t Happening Because We’re Leaving That in 2020

The Peacock series is still happening.

Nic Cage Tiger King

According to Variety, Amazon will no longer be going forward with their eight-episode Tiger King series, leaving Peacock’s Joe Exotic as the lone series that ventures deeper (?) into a story that feels like staged reality TV but is, apparently, real life?

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And yes, believe it or not, before Amazon scrapped this project, we had two Joe Exotic series in the works.


This particular take on Tiger King starred Nicolas Cage, a truly inspiring choice when it comes to attempting to embody whatever the hell Joe Exotic’s life even is. Cage had this to say to Variety about Amazon dropping the project:

We should clear the record. I read two excellent scripts, which I did think were excellent, but I think Amazon ultimately felt that it was material that had become past tense because it took so long for it come together. They felt at one point that it was lightning in a bottle, but that point has since faded into the distance and it’s no longer relevant.

He’s right.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness came out at the perfect time. March 20, 2020, was peak COVID-19 hours for us all. Everything was shutting down and we had nothing better to do than to 1) panic, 2) panic some more, and 3) watch, and livetweet, about this random docuseries where we felt sorry for all those big cats because the humans around them were messy with a capital MESS.

The series became one of Netflix’s most successful releases, which is a worthy achievement, but also one spurred on by the state of affairs at that time. I’m sure Joe and Carole’s feud still would’ve been meme’d to the zoo and back had the pandemic not been a factor, but it wouldn’t have stuck around for nearly as long had we not all been Twitter-ready 24/7.

March was very much a “How do we cope with this catastrophic event? Oh, I know, I’ll binge-watch a show that focuses on an absolute train wreck” month. Now, Tiger King feels like this sort of collective fever dream we all had. As details were announced for the Peacock and Amazon series, my first reaction was, “Wait … they’re actually going ahead with this?” Granted, that Peacock series does have some interesting names attached, and Nicolas Cage in anything that lets him be Nicolas Cage is fun, but it all feels, as Amazon said, “no longer relevant.”

Honestly, I could see the Tiger King exhaustion when Carole Baskin was announced for Dancing With the Stars.

I will say, I definitely won’t ever forget that this is a thing that happened in 2020, but I’ll also say that I wouldn’t be heartbroken if this stayed in 2020.

While it has been fun to dunk on Joe Exotic in 2021 for thinking he’d get a pardon from Former President Donald Trump, at the end of the day, any Tiger King media just feels like an attempt to pump life into something that doesn’t have any staying power.

He didn’t get that pardon, btw.

If you’re curious about what he thinks about the one upcoming TV series, well …

All in all, the idea of a Tiger King television series feels like studios looking at viewership, trying to jump on a popular trend, and not quite grasping the “why” behind what made it so popular. It’s the “lightning in the bottle” that Cage refers to, and arguably, that ship has long since sailed.

Then again, I also feel like just enough people who are morbidly curious will watch the Peacock show. There is something to be said about good trash TV, and if the cast is aware of how much of a trash fire this story is, it could be entertaining.

(image: Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Film Independent/Netflix)

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Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)

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