The show received the multi-platform series order last year. According to an individual with knowledge of the production, the move comes as the multi-platform order was made prior to Susan Rovner assuming her role as chairman of entertainment content for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. Now that Rovner and her team have seen more of the scripts, they decided the streamer was the best fit. It also comes as NBCU has reorganized its television business to place a clear emphasis on the company’s future streaming plans while deemphasizing the importance of certain cable networks in the NBCU portfolio in order to cut costs.
“’Joe Exotic’ is shaping up to be a bold and provocative drama and perfectly suited for Peacock, where we can push the envelope and truly bring the story to life in a way that we would be unable to do on broadcast television,” said Rovner. “Moving ‘Joe Exotic’ to Peacock exclusively is just one example of the strengths of our new structure, which gives us the ability to let the art dictate the platform and not the other way around.”
Based on the Wondery Podcast of the same name, the show centers on Carole Baskin (McKinnon), a big cat enthusiast, who learns that fellow exotic animal lover Joe “Exotic” Schreibvogel (Mitchell) 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.
Etan Frankel serves as writer and executive producer under his overall deal with UCP. McKinnon executive produces in addition to starring along with Wondery’s Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy, and Aaron Hart. UCP will produce. Justin Tipping will direct the first four episodes, including the pilot.