Alex Wagner on the Return of Showtime’s ‘The Circus’: ‘We Will Get the Story’

Alex Wagner the Circus
Cam Glendenning/Courtesy of Showtime

WASHINGTON — Showtime’s political series “The Circus” will return on April 15 with a new host, Alex Wagner, who succeeds Mark Halperin after he was dropped following sexual harassment allegations.

“I don’t really have much to say on Mark, other than that there is sort of a seismic reconsideration in American culture and the media landscape,” Wagner said in an interview with Variety, referring to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. “We are starting to see real change.”

She noted that she thought it was important to have someone on the show with “a slightly different background,” but added that the series’ focus is about the week’s storylines, not the hosts. She said that issues of gender and harassment will be part of the series in as much as they are part of the news cycle.

“I am personally really interested in the way that the grassroots will dictate the top of the ticket,” Wagner said, referring to the youth movement around gun violence and to greater activism among women in a push for gender parity in American politics.

Wagner said that the new season will be focused on the midterms and the Trump White House, although it remains to be seen what races the show will highlight or even what the theme will be of the first episode, given its emphasis on near-real time documentary storytelling.

“Each party has a reckoning ahead of itself in terms of what it means to be a Democrat and what it means to be a Republican,” she said.

Wagner got a feel for the series when she appeared on the show twice in Season 1, and there had been discussions about her taking a permanent role on the series even before Halperin’s departure, she said.

Wagner also is a contributor to CBS News, and formerly hosted “Now With Alex Wagner” on MSNBC. The debut of the new season of “The Circus” will also coincide with the publication of her new book, “Futureface,” in which she traces the mysteries surrounding her ancestry. She is the daughter of a Burmese mother and an American father.

She has called herself a progressive, and mentions Democrats’ recent victory in a Pennsylvania special election as part of an ongoing storyline, i.e. whether the party is “broad enough to have Conor Lamb and Elizabeth Warren under the same tent.”

Halperin in particular had access to Trump, having landed an interview with him just after he accepted the Republican nomination. Wagner said that the show will continue to cover the news cycle in “unconventional ways.”

“We will get the story,” she said. “I will leave it at that. I am confident in getting what needs to be gotten in the Trump White House.”

Watch the latest trailer below.