‘The Circus’ keeps politics under Mark McKinnon’s microscope

Veteran campaign consultant helps Showtime series continue

Mark McKinnon of ‘The Circus: Inside the Craziest Political Campaign on Earth’ Sunday on Showtime

Q: As “The Circus: Inside the Craziest Political Campaign on Earth” continues for the remainder of its fifth season, how are you and the rest of the show’s staff dealing with sudden itinerary changes as this year’s presidential election draws closer?

A: It’s hard for the campaigns to do long-range planning, so that kind of helps our wheelhouse. Even before this, I rarely knew my week’s schedule. We’d start on a Monday and I might go to Texas, then we’d be in New Hampshire on Wednesday. I think we’ll still have plenty to do, it’ll just be different.

Q: Do the advisories advocating social distancing impact “The Circus” in terms of seeking the sorts of interviews the show is known for?

A: Yeah, I think it creates a challenge. People are going to be cautious, but so are we. We’re going to make clear that we have really strict protocols in place that are super-safe, and (the anchors are) all going to be tested regularly.

The campaigns are really desperate to get their messages out. They’re frustrated by all of this, because they’re not doing the things they would normally do, so they’re going to be very anxious to talk to us. (After) the conventions, they’re going to have a ton of things they want to say and a ton of people who want to say them.

Q: What do some of the new protocols for filming “The Circus” entail?

A: We’re obviously going to try to avoid enclosed spaces with a lot of people. We’ll rely a lot on our own transportation, and we’re going to set up safe environments so that (guests) feel entirely comfortable. I think we’ll have a solid reputation for doing it well and doing it right.

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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