Nicolas Cage’s Joe Exotic Series Canceled: Here’s Why

by Emily Morgan

It looks like we won’t be getting the Nic Cage-Tiger King crossover we all wanted to see.

Amazon Studios recently announced that it’s not moving forward with its scripted series about Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldano-Passage. Fans know Maldano-Passage for his time on the hit Netflix series “Tiger King.”

More than a year after Amazon confirmed that the show was in production, Nicolas Cage revealed to Variety that the show had been canned. He noted that Amazon felt that the series had become “past tense.”

Cage was going to star as the now-imprisoned former Tiger owner. The Ghost Rider actor further noted to the outlet that, “Amazon ultimately felt that it was material that had become past tense because it took so long for it come together.” 

Two months after “Tiger King” hit screens, Amazon announced the project in May 2020. The new series had hoped to capitalize on the intense interest and popularity of the Netflix show. The big cat docuseries captured the attention of millions. It ultimately became viral, producing tons of Tiger King memes. 

Cage said Amazon felt the series “was lightning in a bottle.”

Yet, he added that the project “has since faded into the distance and it’s no longer relevant.”

However, some believe the series is not totally done for. Sources disclosed to Variety that another company may fund the series, meaning fans may still have a chance to see the show. However, currently, the show will not be moving forward. 

NBC Takes On Joe Exotic Series

The limited series, produced by Imagine and CBS Studios, was based on a 2019 Texas Monthly article titled “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild.” The series was set to include eight episodes. 

That article featured Joe Schreibvogel (Joe Exotic) and his journey to buy and build his Oklahoma zoo. It also told the story of his rivalry with Carole Baskin and Jeff Lowe, who fans met in the Netflix docuseries. 

The series was going to explore how the viral zookeeper ultimately became Joe Exotic. It would also follow his inevitable downfall that played out in the Netflix series. 

Dan Lagana was the project’s writer, showrunner, and executive producer. After Cage booked the role of Exotic, it was later announced in September 2020 that Amazon was backing the project. 

Additionally, NBC Universal’s streaming service, Peacock, will soon release its own Tiger King-themed limited series. It’s based on the popular podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King and stars Kate McKinnon and John Cameron Mitchell as Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic. 

As of now, NBCUniversal has not yet confirmed a release date for the show. However, outlets reported that the show began production in November of 2020.