Trailer: Investigation Discovery planning multiple specials about 'Tiger King' stars Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin
The cable network Investigation Discovery is going back to the zoo for another special on "Tiger King" stars Joe Exotic, Carole Basking and more.
After airing "The Truth Behind Joe Exotic: The Rick Kirkham Story" in June, ID will premiere "Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies and Cover-Up," which promises to examine "the biggest question in true crime today" – what happened to Carole Baskin’s husband, Don Lewis?
The new three-hour special is the latest TV program to tap into the previously reported smash success of Netflix's spring docuseries "Tiger King."
As previously reported, Netflix's hit documentary series "Tiger King" chronicles the strange life and murder-for-hire conviction of former Oklahoma zoo operator, big-cat owner and political hopeful Joe Exotic.
As The Oklahoman's Nolan Clay reported, Joe Exotic - whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, but he is also known as Joe Schreibvogel - was sentenced earlier this year to 22 years in federal prison. He was convicted last year of twice hiring someone to kill big cat enthusiast Carole Baskin, a Florida animal sanctuary operator whose nonprofit organization successfully sued him for more than $1 million for trademark infringement and other civil wrongs.
As I noted in my "Tiger King" review, the docuseries not only chronicles of the bizarre life and murder-for-hire trial of Joe Exotic but also delves into Baskin's own scandalous background: A crusader against the private breeding of big cats, she actually got into the sanctuary business through her second husband, Lewis, an eccentric millionaire who left his wife and children to marry Carole, who was 22 years his junior, and loved breeding all kinds of wildlife. Lewis mysteriously vanished in 1997.
ID's "Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies and Cover-Up" takes a new look at the evidence surrounding Lewis’s mysterious disappearance and features exclusive jailhouse interviews with Joe Exotic himself, according to a news release.
Retired homicide investigator Jim Rathmann leads the investigation to discover the truth, revealing new theories uncovered by private investigators, reliving Lewis’s final days and demeanor with those closest to him, and unpacking evidence exposed by criminal and legal experts.
Punctuated throughout are interviews with those in Joe Exotic’s inner circle, including his husband Dillon Passage and members of “Team Tiger,” a group working to free Joe from jail. Beyond the controversial missing person investigation, the special also explores the criminal case against Joe Exotic and raises the question: Was Joe Exotic the predator all along, or is he actually the prey?
"Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies and Cover-Up" begins in Parts 1 and 2 airing at 8 p.m. Sept. 27 and concludes with Part 3 at 8 p.m. Sept. 28 on Investigation Discovery.
“The bizarre and troubling saga of Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin is, perhaps, one of the most convoluted mysteries ever revealed,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America, in a statement. “In these two specials, ID will take viewers through the complete story and determine who should really be in the cage.”
Immediately following the finale of "Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies and Cover-Up," ID will premiere the prequel, "Joe Exotic: Before He Was King," examining the childhood traumas and dramatic events which shaped the mind of the man who called himself the “Tiger King.” The show is billed as a comprehensive, one-hour special that puts the entire salacious story in context and uncovers dark secrets about Joe’s past.
Using exclusive and never-before-seen interview footage of Joe Exotic, including personal photos and home movies, the prequel promises to reveal the dark secrets that led to the colossal crash that has landed Joe Exotic in prison for decades and delve into the question "What sent Joe Exotic down the path of depravity, polygamy, live animal collecting and trading and ultimately, conspiracy to commit murder?"
The show will include a panel of forensic psychologists and law enforcement experts who have studied the case, including ID’s own, Derrick Levasseur, as they reveal the troubled past of the man behind the hype, according to a news release.
For the first time ever, the special will include interviews with the "Tiger King’s" inner circle – including a prison interview from Joe’s second husband, Jeffrey Charles “JC” Hartpence – and analyze the evidence to present "a vivid portrait of his psychological descent into madness," according to the news release. "Joe Exotic: Before He Was King" premieres at 9 p.m. Sept. 28 on ID.
As The Oklahoman's Nolan Clay reports, Joe Exotic now is asking President Donald Trump in a handwritten letter to listen to the millions "who see the truth" and grant him a miracle — a pardon — so he can return to helping sick children and the homeless.
"Allow me to make you proud, to make America proud, to make the world proud. Be my hero please," he wrote.