No amount of controversy seems to hold back the Tiger King from the spotlight.

The documentary series about the gun-wielding zoo owner has racked up six Primetime Emmy award nominations, Variety reports.

Joe Exotic is serving a jail sentence and has experienced backlash from animal rights activists, but the Netflix series proved popular with award show voters.

The documentary series is nominated for best directing for a documentary/nonfiction programme, best picture editing, music composition, sound editing and sound mixing.

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Although there is no Emmy category for the most bizarre documentary subject, which Exotic would likely win, the nominations point to Tiger King's continued cultural relevance.

Exotic is serving a 22-year jail sentence for his role in Carole Baskin's murder-for-hire plot.

A prominent star of the show, Baskin spoke out against the documentary when it was released and claimed she was portrayed as the villain.

After the documentary premiered, she wrote on her Big Cat Rescue website: "There are no words for how disappointing it is to see that the series has had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers," she said.

The Netflix series premiered in March, and according to data released by Netflix, a whopping 64 million households tuned in.

New Zealanders up for Emmys

The Emmy nominations also included nods for a couple of Kiwis.

Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement's What We Do in the Shadows has been nominated for Outstanding Writing, Outstanding Production Design, Outstanding Casting, Outstanding Single-Camera Editing and Outstanding Sound Editing.

Waititi has also earned a nomination for Outstanding Character Voiceover Performance in The Mandalorian.

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The show snagged a surprising 15 nominations, mostly technical nods for things like production design, costumes, stunts, makeup and cinematography.

Kiwi dance champion and choreographer Parris Goebel has also been nominated for a creative Emmy award for Outstanding Choreography for Variety or Reality Programming with her Savage X Fenty show choreography.

The Emmys ceremony will be held virtually on September because of the Covid-19 pandemic.