Alex Wagner travels with ‘The Circus’ again

Showtime political series returns for midterm-election coverage

Alex Wagner of ‘The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth’ Sunday on Showtime

Q: As “The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth” resumes with new episodes leading up to the midterm election, how fulfilling is it to be a co-host of the show after all the stops you’ve made on the political-reporting trail?

A: It’s the top of the heap! It’s amazing, it’s thrilling, it’s exhausting, it’s all of the emotions wrapped up into one show. I’m incredibly proud and honored to be part of the team, and it is a miracle every week. The show has always been unpredictable, but at no time more than now, when the American political cycle and news cycles are moving at breakneck speed.

“The Circus” prides itself on highlighting the high human drama of American politics, and we’ve certainly had a lot of that in the last few years, especially. Think of all of that drama being multiplied by a factor of 100 now, because there’s just so much material with House, Senate and gubernatorial races around the country. It’s really exciting, but I’m tired just thinking about it.

Q: Since you’re filming throughout the week leading up to a “Circus” episode, how tough is it to decide what makes it into the half-hour?

A: I will not lie, that final edit on Saturday night is painful. There’s definitely stuff that has to fall to the cutting-room floor because of the time frame that we have to work in … but I think it ultimately makes the show the best it can be. The bar is so high in terms of what you have to clear to make it into the show, it results in just a really airtight documentary every week.

Lennie James

Q: You and fellow hosts John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon appear to eat very well at the start of each “Circus” episode. Is it safe to assume that’s a high point for you?

A: We love it, but they feed us at the beginning of the week because they know we’re going to be eating Cheez-Its and drinking coffee the rest of the week. That’s like our one real meal, so don’t get confused. It’s not like that through the entire week.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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