Millions of Americans streamed Netflix’s hit docuseries, “Tiger King,” since its late March release as the nation sought distraction and entertainment because of the novel coronavirus quarantines and lockdowns, according to a Nielsen report.
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The staggering viewership numbers are second only to season three of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” which garnered an American audience of 36.3 million people for the same ten-day period, according to the report.
Nielsen’s SVOD data accounts for television-based viewership in the United States, but it does not include other Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as cell phones.
The streaming service is expected to release more numbers on April 21, when it announces its earnings.
“Tiger King” tells the story of Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, and his life as an exotic animal owner and zookeeper. It introduces several other characters from the exotic animal industry as it gives viewers a look inside Exotic’s world.
The seven-part series was a hit among celebrities, like Kim Kardashian, and the public alike.
The main focus of the show is Exotic's bitter feud with Carole Baskin, who owns Big Cat Rescue sanctuary in Tampa, Fla. The pair have had their share of legal battles, including a $1 million trademark infringement suit.
Exotic is currently serving 22 years in prison after he was convicted in a murder-for-hire plot that targeted Baskin, and other animal cruelty charges.
Since the Netflix show aired, Exotic has sued the U.S. government, his former business partner and several others for $94 million claiming, among other charges, perjury, false arrest and imprisonment, misleading a grand jury, malicious prosecution, discrimination and his mother’s death. He is now seeking a presidential pardon.
Exotic is already working on another miniseries with Discovery Network’s "Investigation Discovery."
"Investigating the Strange World of Joe Exotic" is expected to be released sometime in 2020, a network spokesperson told FOX Business.
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The show will focus on the investigation into Don Lewis, who disappeared in 1997 while he was married to Baskin, then Carole Lewis. An episode of "Tiger King" was devoted to explaining Don Lewis' disappearance, how the police suspect foul play and how Baskin took control of his wealth before she had him declared dead.
Baskin was cleared years ago of any involvement in her husband’s disappearance. But that has not stopped Exotic from claiming that she killed Don Lewis. In the wake of the show's viral popularity, the local sheriff’s office investigating the case recently announced it was seeking new leads.
Netflix is also reportedly planning to release at least one new episode that has been described as a live-shot reunion.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.