NBCUniversal is going all in for Joe Exotic (working title), UCP’s limited series starring and executive produced by Kate McKinnon, which has received a joint straight-to-series order by the NBCUniversal Television and Streaming divisions. In a sign of things to come for vertically integrated media companies, the high profile limited series is getting an unprecedented rollout across three different NBCU entertainment platforms, a broadcast network, NBC, a streamer, Peacock, and a basic cable network, USA.
Originally set up at NBCU’s UCP last November, interest in Joe Exotic, based on the second season of Wondery’s Over My Dead Body podcast, skyrocketed this past spring because of the massive popularity of the Netflix docuseries Tiger King, about the real-life characters depicted in the Joe Exotic limited series. Joe Exotic is one of two high-profile scripted series adaptations of the stranger-than-fiction true story, along with one starring Nicolas Cage as Joe Exotic.
Penned by Etan Frankel, based on the Wondery podcast, the limited series is based on true events following Carole Baskin (McKinnon), a big cat enthusiast, who learns that when fellow exotic animal lover Joe “Exotic” Schreibvogel is breeding and using his big cats for profit, she sets out to shut down his venture, inciting a quickly escalating rivalry. But Carole has a checkered past of her own and when the claws come out, Joe will stop at nothing to expose what he sees as her hypocrisy. The results prove dangerous.
The role of Joe “Exotic” Schreibvogel has not yet been cast.
Frankel executive produces via his overall deal with UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group. McKinnon executive produces along with Wondery’s Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy and Aaron Hart.
Baskin is featured prominently in Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, which revolves around a handful of eccentric characters, led by the flamboyant Joe Exotic, a tiger breeder and big cats zoo owner who was convicted for trying to hire a hitman to kill Baskin.
McKinnon won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2016 and 2017 and was nominated in 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2020 for her work on Saturday Night Live. She also stars and executive produces another limited series based on a highly publicized true story, Hulu’s The Dropout. McKinnon is repped by Artists First, UTA and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller. UTA, who also represents Wondery, negotiated the deal on their behalf.
Frankel recently finished co-showrunning the second season of Facebook’s Sorry for Your Loss, starring Elizabeth Olsen. He is repped by A.B. Fischer at Literate and Michael Gendler.