'Surviving Joe Exotic': See the First Sneak Peek at Animal Planet's 'Tiger King' Documentary

Animal Planet has just released a sneak peek at Surviving Joe Exotic, the network's new documentary about the controversial Tiger King subject. The new clip opens with footage shot in May 2018 at Exotic's open-to-the-public zoo, and shows the big cat enthusiast talking about his work. Among the footage, the network reveals, "Four months before his arrest in murder-for-hire charges, Animal Planet cameras were given special access to Joe Exotic's Tiger Empire."

The snippet features a bit of footage showing Exotic and his team movie various big cats, all of whom appear to be drugged. He can also be heard bragging about breeding "hybrids," such as ligers, which is a cross between a lion and a tiger. At one point, a chicken is heard clucking and crowing, prompting Exotic to pull out a gun and fire at the animal. This new series will no doubt be very different from Netflix's Tiger King documentary, as Animal Planet also states viewers will be introduced to the cats that survived Exotic's reign as the zoo owner. It also appears to focus more on the way Exotic ran his zoo and cared for his animals, rather than on America's big cat business as a whole.

In September 2018, Exotic was arrested and charged with two counts of hiring someone to murder Carole Baskin, eight counts of violating the Lacey Act for falsifying wildlife records, and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act for killing five tigers and for selling tigers across state lines. The investigation against Exotic was so extensive that is was a joint operation between the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and the U.S. Marshals Service. In January 2019, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison. He has been held at FMC Fort Worth since March 2020.

After Tiger King became a huge success on Netflix, Exotic spoke out about his sudden notoriety. "You know it would be nice if I could actually see me being famous out there, but I've seen these same four walls for a year and a half now," he said. Exotic also expressed remorse for his actions, saying, "Go in a cage with your animals for a week. I mean, when I left the zoo and I sent my chimpanzees to the sanctuary in Florida and imagined what my chimpanzees went through for 18 years, I—I'm ashamed of myself."