Jeff Lowe says the show "will divulge a lot more information about the relationship" between himself and Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado-Passage

By Christine Pelisek and Robyn Merrett
June 04, 2020 10:24 PM
Advertisement

Jeff Lowe is returning to the small screen!

The Tiger King star tells PEOPLE that he and his wife, Lauren Lowe, "are now signed for a reality TV show."

Jeff shares that the show "will divulge a lot more information about the relationship between" himself and now-imprisoned Oklahoma zookeeper Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado-Passage.

"It'll be our narrative on the Tiger King with evidence to support our sides of the stories. And it will be about the transfer of all these beautiful animals from Joe's facility to the new facility," says Jeff, who is set to open a new zoo — Tiger King Park — in Thackerville, Oklahoma, this fall. "And then the day-to-day struggle of running something as big as a 60-acre animal park and all the intricacies of the employment of zookeepers and fighting all of the animal rights groups."

Jeff and Lauren Lowe
Ruaridh Connellan

Jeff says the goal of the show is to prove to the world "that it can be done right."

"We have an immaculate reputation with the USDA who regulates all the zoos in the world. We have a great relationship with them. We have a great relationship with Fish and Game. The state of Oklahoma, all the game wardens, they really like us, so I think it'll be an interesting show," he shares.

Adds Lauren: "Just showing the animals going from small enclosures to bigger enclosures. We just want to put a brighter light on things because everybody wants to put a horrible light on roadside zoos. Every zoo is off of a road."

As for when the new project will be released? "We're just going to have to find out," says Jeff.

"They haven't even given us an exact date of production. It's in pre-production right now. It's with The Content Group in California, and it will prove to be very, very informative," he explains.

"We're filming B-roll right now. It's hard with COVID-19 to put crews together and get them all out here, staying in hotels. It's just a little bit difficult, but I think they anticipate a few more weeks before they start all of the big camera filming," he says.

Jeff Lowe
Ruaridh Connellan/getty

It is not immediately clear which network the show will air on.

The reveal of the Lowes' new series comes on the heels of Carole Baskin and her Big Cat Rescue corporation being granted control of The G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park — which was formerly run by Maldonado-Passage but was recently under the control of Lowe.

A judge granted Baskin control after finding that the property was fraudulently transferred to Maldonado-Passage's mother years ago, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

Baskin told PEOPLE on Tuesday that Big Cat Rescue is prepared to help the animals of The G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial — but Jeff said he doesn't need her assistance.

"If the need arises to make other plans to place the animals in new homes, Big Cat Rescue and the animal welfare organizations that have previously successfully placed big cats from large facilities in new homes stand ready to assist," said Baskin, the very woman whom Maldonado-Passage was convicted of plotting to kill.

RELATED: Tiger King Star Joe Exotic's Husband Parties on a Boat with Too Hot to Handle's Bryce Hirschberg

Jeff has 120 days to vacate the premises — including all of his animals that currently reside there, according to the ruling.

In a statement on Tuesday, he addressed the lawsuit — and confirmed that Baskin will not be taking any of the animals from the zoo.

"Although I am not personally named in the lawsuit, it appears that Carole Baskin and her desire to exact revenge against Joe Exotic trumps the livelihood of the families that came together to save her life. Without our efforts, it is well known that Carole would no longer be here. We anticipated Carole Baskin gaining title to the former park that once belonged to Joe Exotic many years ago. It is my understanding that she will also be taking the cages from the zoo, which thankfully means that the animals that she has will finally have the proper amount of space to move around," he wrote about Baskin, who founded her Tampa, Florida-based big cat rescue.

Jeff Lowe

He went on to explain that the animals will be re-homed at the new Tiger King Park.

"Please don’t worry about our animals. As you saw on the Netflix documentary, I have been building the greatest Tiger Park the world has ever seen. Thanks to our loyal fans and customers, and the amazing people who work at the zoo, the new Tiger King Park is opening in Thackerville, Oklahoma this September, directly adjacent to the World’s Largest Casino, WinStar World Casino and Resort," wrote Jeff.

He concluded: "We look forward to seeing you at our new location in September. Please visit us at www.officialtigerking.com for more information. But in the meantime, we are still open for business! So, if you haven’t had a chance to visit the zoo and see our animals, this may be your last chance!"

Maldonado-Passage's public defender did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment at the time. His husband, Dillon Passage, also has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, a.k.a. "Joe Exotic"

Maldonado-Passage was sentenced to 22 years in prison when he was found guilty in 2019 for paying a hitman $3,000 to kill Baskin. He was also found guilty on multiple charges of violating both the Lacey Act for falsifying wildlife records, and the Endangered Species Act. The disgraced zookeeper filed a lawsuit in March against various government agencies, as well as a former business partner, seeking $94 million in damages.

Currently, he is in a Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, medical center after he was exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Fox 25 reported.