The Circus has survived. Showtime made it official Wednesday morning, announcing it had ordered a third season of the docu series, which will be divvied up, so a run of new episodes will air in the spring and another in the fall.
More to the point, John Heilemann is back as host, ditto Mark McKinnon. But Mark Halperin is out, Showtime being among the networks to cut ties to the political pundit after allegations of sexual harassment also cost him his gig at MSNBC.
And Alex Wagner, best known as an anchor and correspondent at CBS News and contributing editor at The Atlantic, has been added as third host for the new season of the Showtime program.
“The Circus has established itself as a primary source of insightful, comprehensive analysis during major political events,” Showtime Networks Inc. CEO/President David Nevins said in announcing the show would move forward with another season. “In these pivotal and turbulent times, we’re so thrilled to have Alex Wagner joining John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon to provide access and context to the personalities and events behind the week’s news.”
Back in October, Showtime hinted The Circus could survive, but was definite about Halperin being out. The network had previously said it was “reevaluating” its relationship with Halperin and the program, which had completed two seasons. The ax fell a day after pundit Halperin posted an apology on his social media, conceding his “aggressive and crude” behavior towards women while at ABC News. Days earlier days CNN reported five women had accused Halperin of sexual harassment while they worked at ABC News during the 1990s and 2000s. The number grew to more than a dozen, with two women claiming unwanted interactions with Halperin as recently as 2011, after his ABC tenure.
The Circus is produced by Left/Right for Showtime. Heilemann, McKinnon, Banks Tarver, and Ken Druckerman serve as executive producers.