The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth

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The Circus
The Circus - Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth poster.jpg
GenreDocumentary
Presented by
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes102
Production
Running time28–30 minutes, 57-61 minutes (specials)
Production companyLeft/Right Productions
DistributorShowtime Networks
Release
Original networkShowtime
Original releaseJanuary 17, 2016 (2016-01-17) –
present (present)
External links
Website

The Circus is a 2016 television documentary series initially following the 2016 presidential race,[1][2] the Trump administration, the 2020 United States presidential election, and now the Biden administration. It is produced by Left/Right Productions, a Red Arrow Studios company, for Showtime.[3]

The docu-series premiered on January 17, 2016, and focused on the 2016 U.S. presidential election, January to November. It was renewed for a second season, which premiered on March 19, 2017, and focused on President Trump's first 100 days.[4] It returned on April 15, 2018 for a third season, and focused on the mid-term elections, with CBS News anchor Alex Wagner stepping in as co-host to replace Mark Halperin, who was replaced on January 3, 2018,[5][6] by the show, after sexual harassment allegations.[7][8][9][5][6] Jennifer Palmieri joined as guest host beginning October 13, 2019, with season four episode twelve, Desperate Times, Desperate Measures, and joined as a permanent co-host in season 6.[10][11][12][13]

On December 11, 2019, it was announced that the first half of the fifth season would premiere on January 26, 2020.[14] On June 22, 2020, it was reported that the second half of the fifth season would premiere August 16, 2020.[15] The sixth season premiered on January 10, 2021.[16]

Reception[edit]

The Circus received generally positive reviews from critics. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, season 1 has a rating of 75%, based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The consensus reads: "The Circus reveals a more human side of the candidates and paints a clear picture of how grueling life can be on the campaign trail, yet the show fails to provide the type of candid analysis and discourse it alludes to during this incredibly unique and cantankerous election cycle."[17] On Metacritic, the series has a score of 75 out of 100, based on 5 reviews, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".[18]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
126January 17, 2016 (2016-01-17)November 13, 2016 (2016-11-13)
28March 19, 2017 (2017-03-19)May 7, 2017 (2017-05-07)
315April 15, 2018 (2018-04-15)November 11, 2018 (2018-11-11)
416January 27, 2019 (2019-01-27)November 10, 2019 (2019-11-10)
521January 26, 2020 (2020-01-26)November 8, 2020 (2020-11-08)
616January 10, 2021 (2021-01-10)November 7, 2021 (2021-11-07)

Season 1: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth (2016)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleOriginal air date
11"The Outsiders"January 17, 2016 (2016-01-17)
22"Prisoner's Dilema"January 24, 2016 (2016-01-24)
33"Tension City"January 31, 2016 (2016-01-31)
44"The Big Mo"February 7, 2016 (2016-02-07)
55"The Winnowing"February 14, 2016 (2016-02-14)
66"Fear and Loathing"February 21, 2016 (2016-02-21)
77"Confidence Game"February 28, 2016 (2016-02-28)
88"The Reckoning"March 6, 2016 (2016-03-06)
99"Dead or Alive"March 13, 2016 (2016-03-13)
1010"High Hopes"March 20, 2016 (2016-03-20)
1111"Home and Abroad"March 27, 2016 (2016-03-27)
1212"On, Wisconsin"April 3, 2016 (2016-04-03)
1313"Recap"April 10, 2016 (2016-04-10)
1414"Game On"July 10, 2016 (2016-07-10)
1515"Veepstakes"July 17, 2016 (2016-07-17)
1616"Trump Show"July 24, 2016 (2016-07-24)
1717"In the Arena"July 31, 2016 (2016-07-31)
1818"Closing the Gap"September 11, 2016 (2016-09-11)
1919"Fit to Serve"September 18, 2016 (2016-09-18)
2020"Battleground"September 25, 2016 (2016-09-25)
2121"The Newsrooms"October 2, 2016 (2016-10-02)
2222"Tale of the Tape"October 16, 2016 (2016-10-16)
2323"From Russia With Love"October 23, 2016 (2016-10-23)
2424"His Word as a Biden"October 30, 2016 (2016-10-30)
2525"Nobody F***ing Knows"November 6, 2016 (2016-11-06)
2626"President Trump"November 13, 2016 (2016-11-13)

Season 2: Inside the Biggest Story on Earth (2017)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleOriginal air date
271"Shocking But Not Surprising"March 19, 2017 (2017-03-19)
282"Checking and Balancing"March 26, 2017 (2017-03-26)
293"How's He Doing?"April 2, 2017 (2017-04-02)
304"The Whole World Is Watching"April 9, 2017 (2017-04-09)
315"Recess Reset"April 16, 2017 (2017-04-16)
326"The Resistance"April 23, 2017 (2017-04-23)
337"Learning Curve"April 30, 2017 (2017-04-30)
348"Looking Back and Moving On"May 7, 2017 (2017-05-07)

Season 3: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth (2018)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleOriginal air date
351"The Looking Glass War"April 15, 2018 (2018-04-15)
362"Too Many Lawyers"April 22, 2018 (2018-04-22)
373"Man of the World"April 29, 2018 (2018-04-29)
384"Trump Country"May 6, 2018 (2018-05-06)
395"War and Peace"May 13, 2018 (2018-05-13)
406"Their Brand Is Crisis"May 20, 2018 (2018-05-20)
417"The Gathering Storm"September 16, 2018 (2018-09-16)
428"Burden of Proof"September 23, 2018 (2018-09-23)
439"Judgment Day"September 30, 2018 (2018-09-30)
4410"The Verdict"October 7, 2018 (2018-10-07)
4511"California Dreaming"October 14, 2018 (2018-10-14)
4612"Senatorial Combat"October 21, 2018 (2018-10-21)
4713"Black and White"October 28, 2018 (2018-10-28)
4814"A Place Called Fear"November 4, 2018 (2018-11-04)
4915"Mother(F***er) of All Midterms"November 11, 2018 (2018-11-11)

Season 4: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth (2019)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleOriginal air date
501"New World Disorder"January 27, 2019 (2019-01-27)
512"Circling Vultures"February 3, 2019 (2019-02-03)
523"The State of Our Union Is…"February 10, 2019 (2019-02-10)
534"2020 Is Here"February 17, 2019 (2019-02-17)
545"States of Emergency"February 24, 2019 (2019-02-24)
556"The Big Split"March 3, 2019 (2019-03-03)
567"To the Left"March 10, 2019 (2019-03-10)
578"What the F... Happens Next?"March 17, 2019 (2019-03-17)
589"The People on That Stage"September 22, 2019 (2019-09-22)
5910"Across the Rubicon"September 29, 2019 (2019-09-29)
6011"Impeachmentland"October 6, 2019 (2019-10-06)
6112"Desperate Times, Desperate Measures"October 13, 2019 (2019-10-13)
6213"The Widening Gyre"October 20, 2019 (2019-10-20)
6314"The Deep State"October 27, 2019 (2019-10-27)
6415"Field of Dreams"November 3, 2019 (2019-11-03)
6516"Here Be Dragons"November 10, 2019 (2019-11-10)

Season 5: Inside the Craziest Political Campaign on Earth (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleOriginal air date
661"Obligations and Opportunities"January 26, 2020 (2020-01-26)
672"Closing Arguments"February 2, 2020 (2020-02-02)
683"Clusterf**k"February 9, 2020 (2020-02-09)
694"Unfinished Business"February 16, 2020 (2020-02-16)
705"What Happens in Vegas"February 23, 2020 (2020-02-23)
716"On the Boil"March 1, 2020 (2020-03-01)
727"Super Duper Tuesday"March 8, 2020 (2020-03-08)
738"The Cruelest Month"March 15, 2020 (2020-03-15)
749"The New Abnormal"August 16, 2020 (2020-08-16)
7510"Unconventional"August 23, 2020 (2020-08-23)
7611"Party of One"August 30, 2020 (2020-08-30)
7712"Law and Disorder"September 6, 2020 (2020-09-06)
7813"Going Postal"September 13, 2020 (2020-09-13)
7914"Force Majeure"September 20, 2020 (2020-09-20)
8015"Full Court Press"September 27, 2020 (2020-09-27)
8116"October Surprise"October 4, 2020 (2020-10-04)
8217"Crisis Mismanagement"October 11, 2020 (2020-10-11)
8318"Steal This Election"October 18, 2020 (2020-10-18)
8419"End Games"October 25, 2020 (2020-10-25)
8520"Landslide?"November 1, 2020 (2020-11-01)
8621"Who the F... Are We?"November 8, 2020 (2020-11-08)

Season 6: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth (2021)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [19]Original air date [19]
871"Reigning Chaos"January 10, 2021 (2021-01-10)
882"Clear and Present Danger"January 17, 2021 (2021-01-17)
893"President Biden"January 24, 2021 (2021-01-24)
904"Rubber Meets Road"January 31, 2021 (2021-01-31)
915"Dysfunction Junction"February 7, 2021 (2021-02-07)
926"Persona Non Grata"February 14, 2021 (2021-02-14)
937"Being Green"February 21, 2021 (2021-02-21)
948"Points on the Board"February 28, 2021 (2021-02-28)
959"Calling the Shots"September 19, 2021 (2021-09-19)
9610"The Biden Doctrine"September 26, 2021 (2021-09-26)
9711"It's All Happening"October 3, 2021 (2021-10-03)
9812"Lone Star Blues"October 10, 2021 (2021-10-10)
9913"Coup Part Two"October 17, 2021 (2021-10-17)
10014"Virginia Is For..."October 24, 2021 (2021-10-24)
10115"Big F...ing Deal"October 31, 2021 (2021-10-31)
10216"The Broken Place"November 7, 2021 (2021-11-07)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 2016-01-18. Retrieved 2016-05-23.
  2. ^ Lowry, Brian (2016-01-17). "'The Circus' Chronicles 2016 Presidential Campaign on Showtime". Variety. Retrieved 2016-05-23.
  3. ^ "Showtime : The Circus : Home". Showtime. 2015-07-07. Retrieved 2016-05-23.
  4. ^ Schwindt, Oriana (2017-02-27). "'The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth' Gets Second Batch at Showtime". Variety. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  5. ^ a b "Showtime's 'The Circus' Will Go On Without Mark Halperin". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b Evans, Greg (3 August 2018). "Showtime's 'The Circus' Sets Fall Premiere Date In Time For Midterm Elections". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  7. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2018-01-03). "Showtime Renews 'The Circus,' Alex Wagner Joins as Co-Host". Variety. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  8. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (30 October 2017). "NBC News Terminates Mark Halperin's Contract". Deadline Hollywood.
  9. ^ "Journalist sacked over alleged harassment". BBC News. 30 October 2017.
  10. ^ Heilemann, John (13 October 2019). "@jheil John Heilemann on Twitter: "#Superstar… "". Twitter. Archived from the original on 2019-10-13. Retrieved 21 August 2020. @jheil Retweeted @jmpalmieri Friends, I had the pleasure of being a guest host on @SHO_TheCircus this week. So impressed with talent & professionalism of entire team. Minor miracle that they pull off this high quality show week after week. Tune in tonight at 8 pm to see me & @jheil w/ @CoryBooker in DSM. pic.twitter.com/jm4dJzcYU2
  11. ^ "THE CIRCUS CRISSCROSSES IOWA FOR THE FINAL CAUCUS SPRINT". ViacomCBS Press Express. CBS Broadcasting Inc. 2020-02-03. Archived from the original on 2020-08-21. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  12. ^ "THE CIRCUS HEADS SOUTH FOR A PALMETTO STATE BRAWL". ViacomCBS Press Express. CBS Broadcasting Inc. 2020-02-28. Archived from the original on 2020-08-21. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  13. ^ "THE CIRCUS IS BACK ON SHOWTIME FOR BIDEN'S VP PICK". ViacomCBS Press Express. CBS Broadcasting Inc. 2020-08-14. Archived from the original on 2020-08-21. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  14. ^ ""The Circus" Returns to Showtime(R) in January Ahead of the Crucial Iowa Democratic Caucuses". The Futon Critic. December 11, 2019.
  15. ^ Pedersen, Erik (June 22, 2020). "'The Circus' Coming Back To Town In August On Showtime". Deadline Hollywood.
  16. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 1, 2021). "Midseason/Winter 2021 Premiere Dates For New & Returning Series On Broadcast, Cable & Streaming". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  17. ^ "The Circus: Inside The Greatest Political Show on Earth: Miniseries". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  18. ^ "The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  19. ^ a b "The Circus – Listings". Zap2it. Retrieved November 6, 2021. Click the "Episode Guide" tab to view all listed episodes.