‘Joe vs. Carole’: Peacock Drops Trailer for New Tiger King Series With Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin

Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin go to war in the just-released trailer for Peacock’s Joe vs. Carole. Based on the now-infamous story of the feud between big cat rescuer Baskin and wild animal showman (and one-time presidential candidate) Exotic, the upcoming scripted series stars Kate McKinnon as Baskin and John Cameron Mitchell as Exotic. It premieres March 3. 

Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic face off in ‘Joe vs. Carole’ 

RELATED: ‘Tiger King’ Star Carole Baskin Claims ‘Joe Exotic’ Isn’t the Only One Who Wants Her Dead

Baskin and Exotic (real name: Joseph Maldonado-Passage) became objects of fascination after Tiger King hit Netflix in March 2020. But Joe vs. Carole promises to deliver more than just a rehash of the weirdest moments from the hit docuseries, though a few of those, such as Exotic shooting a gun at a blow-up doll dressed as Baskin, have been recreated for the show.

Viewers who tune in to the eight-episode limited series will “discover the untold origin of America’s wildest feud,” according to the trailer, which sets up a conflict between two different misfits who find themselves drawn to tigers and other big cats. 

“I come from a home that didn’t feel like a sanctuary,” McKinnon says in the trailer, which is set to the tune of a cover of The Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” 

“Here’s to the unwanted animals,” Mitchell declares as he toasts those who’ve found a home at his roadside zoo in Oklahoma.  

‘Joe vs. Carole’ showrunner says the show offers a ‘brand-new’ look at Baskin and Exotic

John Cameron Mitchell as Joe Exotic, wearing a baseball cap and talking on the phone, in 'Joe vs. Carole'
John Cameron Mitchell as Joe Exotic in ‘Joe vs. Carole’ | Mark Taylor/Peacock

By now, the story of Baskin and Exotic has been told multiple times. Tiger King and its sequel Tiger King 2 are the best known takes on the story. But there’s also Louis Theroux’s documentary Shooting Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight, a discovery+ docuseries that focuses on Baskin’s animal rescue work, and Animal Planet’s Surviving Joe Exotic. But Joe vs. Carole – which is based on the Wondery podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King – will bring something new to the table, says showrunner, writer, and executive producer Etan Frankel. 

“When I took on this project a year and a half ago, I found Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin to be utterly fascinating, and this crazy tale about two big cat lovers quickly became an important story for me to tell,” Frankel said in a statement. “I hope that when people watch Joe vs. Carole just maybe they’ll see these people that they thought they knew in a brand-new way.”

Frankel said McKinnon and Mitchell succeeded in portraying “these larger-than-life people as the complex, three-dimensional individuals that they are.”

“It was an absolute thrill to watch these two exceptional actors morph into these roles,” he added.  

Joe vs. Carole also stars Kyle MacLachlan as Baskin’s husband Howard Baskin. Nat Wolff plays Exotic’s late husband Travis Maldonado and Sam Keeley portrays John Finlay, another of Exotic’s husbands. William Fichter plays filmmaker Rick Kirkham and Dean Winter as Exotic’s business partner Jeff Lowe. 

 Carole Baskin reacts to the upcoming Peacock series  

Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin, standing behind a lectern, in 'Joe vs. Carole'
Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin in ‘Joe vs. Carole’ | Mark Taylor/Peacock

One person who is eagerly waiting to see the cast’s transformation is Baskin herself. The founder of Florida’s Big Cat Rescue didn’t hide her disdain for Tiger King. She also refused to participate in Netflix’s follow-up series, Tiger King 2. But she struck a more positive note when speaking to Metro after the release of a Joe vs. Carole teaser trailer in January. 

‘My husband and I look forward to seeing Kate McKinnon and Kyle McLachlan’s portrayal of us, even though we expect it will be a parody based on the trailer,’ she said. “Both are talented actors and I expect Joe vs. Carole will be a lot more entertaining than the situation was in real life.”

But Baskin went on to say that “none of these programs created for entertainment value really get at the main issues of big cat and cub abuse and the imminent extinction of big cats due to cub petting, like we do in discovery+’s Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight.”

All episodes of Joe vs. Carole drop March 3 on Peacock. 

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