Tiger King star Carole Baskin is taking the next natural step to build on her fame: a spot on Dancing With The Stars. The Big Cat Rescue owner is reportedly in talks to join the show's 29th season, months after the Netflix documentary series made her a household name. The new season is set to premiere on Monday, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m. ET, and the celebrity cast will be unveiled on Good Morning America on Sept. 3.
Sources told E! News that Baskin is in talks with ABC and DWTS producers to join the show. Actress Anne Heche and Selling Sunset star Chrishell Stause are also reportedly in talks. Earlier Monday, Entertainment Tonight reported Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean is in talks to join the show as well. McLean hinted he had some "big news" that he could not immediately share with fans when he spoke about the new healthy lifestyle he followed over the summer. ABC also approached Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, but he declined, according to E! News' sources.
This report is not the first time Baskin has been linked to DWTS. Back in June, she appeared on the list of potential candidates for Season 29 in a Daily Mail report. Others on the list at that time included CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, musician Vince Niel, and Paris Jackson. The only celebrity confirmed for Season 29 is former Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe, who was invited by Chris Harrison during her episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons—Ever!.
Baskin became an overnight star in March when Netflix released Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Since the series was released during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, it was all anyone was talking about on social media. Netflix said it was one of its most successful shows, earning 34.3 million viewers in the first 10 days of its release.
The series centered on the life of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, the eccentric Oklahoma zookeeper, better known as Joe Exotic. His rivalry with Baskin was also at the center of the series, and one episode was devoted to his conspiracy theory that Baskin had something to do with the disappearance of her second husband, Don Lewis. Maldonado-Passage is now serving a 22-year prison sentence after he was convicted on 17 federal charges related to animal abuse and two charges for murder for hire. Prosecutors say he hired a hitman to kill Baskin, who accused him of mistreating big cats at his zoo.
Although Baskin is capitalizing on her fame from Tiger King by going on DWTS, she often spoke out against the show. In April, she said she felt betrayed by the filmmakers because she thought they were going to make a Blackfish-type expose on big cat collectors, not a tabloid-style profile on Maldonado-Passage. She recently spoke out again after the zoo once owned by Maldonado-Passage was shutdown.