Mark McKinnon covers the White House (Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/SHOWTIME)

Showtime Orders Season Three of ‘The Circus’

Mark Halperin is out, Alex Wagner is in

Showtime has ordered a third season of the political series The Circus, which returns Apr. 15. It is hosted by John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon and Alex Wagner. Wagner, a CBS News correspondent and co-host of CBS This Morning: Saturday, joins the show as a permanent host. Mark Halperin had hosted The Circus, but was dismissed following sexual harassment allegations levied against him.

According to Showtime, The Circus “will continue to provide viewers with the same fast-paced, real-time, backstage perspective and eye-catching production qualities for which the show has been celebrated. The new season “will explore the stories behind the headlines and pull back the curtain on the behind-the-scenes drama unfolding in Washington and across the country in the run-up to the most consequential mid-term elections in our lifetimes.”

The Circus has established itself as a primary source of insightful, comprehensive analysis during major political events,” said David Nevins, president and CEO of Showtime Networks Inc. “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.”

The Circus is produced by Left/Right for Showtime. Heilemann, McKinnon, Banks Tarver, and Ken Druckerman are executive producers. 

In April, Wagner will publish her first book, Futureface, which examines questions about American identity in the 21st Century. Prior to her joining CBS News, Wagner was an analyst at MSNBC.

Showtime is part of CBS Corporation.