Season 7

The Circus returns for another up close and personal look at the uncertain state of our union. As the country hurtles towards the high-stakes midterm elections, hosts John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon and Jenn Palmieri go beyond the headlines to deliver a weekly political reality check on the biggest news stories as well as the issues impacting us all.
On the Brink
Episode 1: On the Brink

Original Air Date: Mar 6, 2022

The Circus returns with the world on edge following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. John Heilemann reports from on the ground in neighboring Poland with U.S. Ambassador Mark Brzezinski; Jennifer Palmieri is at the White House with Press Secretary Jen Psaki immediately following President Biden’s first State of the Union address; plus, Alex Wagner examines the escalating standoff between Presidents Biden and Putin and Mark McKinnon looks at the political tensions on Capitol Hill amidst the evolving crisis. Season premiere.

The Escalation Ladder
Episode 2: The Escalation Ladder

Original Air Date: Mar 13, 2022

With the situation on the ground in Ukraine growing increasingly dire, The Circus explores what more the U.S. and its allies can do. As Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Estonia, John Heilemann speaks with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas about fears Putin could strike a NATO nation next. Plus, Mark McKinnon explores President Biden’s response with Senator Mitt Romney; Alex Wagner interviews Ukrainian parliament member Oleksandra Ustinova; and Jennifer Palmieri speaks with officials about the threat Putin now poses to the world.

The Information War
Episode 3: The Information War

Original Air Date: Mar 20, 2022

As Russia escalates its assault, Ukraine’s President delivers an impassioned address to Congress. Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon are on Capitol Hill speaking with lawmakers immediately after Zelenskyy’s emotional plea to “close the sky” over Ukraine. Plus, Alex Wagner and John Heilemann examine the information war, including the sophisticated Russian disinformation campaign infiltrating American media and Putin’s draconian crackdown on dissent and free speech inside Russia.

The Nuclear Option
Episode 4: The Nuclear Option

Original Air Date: Mar 27, 2022

As President Biden travels to Brussels for an emergency NATO summit, The Circus examines Russia’s threats of using nuclear weapons. Jennifer Palmieri speaks to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby about the U.S. response to Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling; John Heilemann games out war simulations with one of the world’s foremost experts on nuclear weapons, Zia Mian; and Alex Wagner assesses Putin’s motives with former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev.

The Home Front
Episode 5: The Home Front

Original Air Date: Apr 3, 2022

The Circus tracks the dramatic developments out of the House committee investigating the forces behind the violent January 6 insurrection. Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon speak with members of the committee after voting to hold two of former President Donald Trump's aides in contempt; Alex Wagner talks with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa on their bombshell reporting about the White House call log from the day of the Capitol attack; and John Heilemann examines the growing pressure on the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s activities.

There Will Be Blood
Episode 6: There Will Be Blood

Original Air Date: Apr 10, 2022

As the President’s historic nominee for the Supreme Court is confirmed, The Circus examines Biden’s successes, failures and plunging poll numbers. John Heilemann, Alex Wagner, Mark McKinnon and Jennifer Palmieri dig into the dissatisfaction within the Democratic base and the party’s prospects for the midterms; Representatives Stephanie Murphy and Ted Lieu share their differing strategies for Democrats to keep control of Congress; and The Circus speaks with the White House team behind Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s momentous confirmation.

Keystone Chaos
Episode 7: Keystone Chaos

Original Air Date: Apr 17, 2022

The Circus is on the ground in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania to cover one of the most consequential Senate races in the nation. John Heilemann, Alex Wagner, Mark McKinnon and Jennifer Palmieri report on the heated competition as former president Donald Trump weighs in with a surprise endorsement. Republican and Democratic candidates speak with The Circus about the final, frantic weeks of the primary.

Tip of the Spear
Episode 8: Tip of the Spear

Original Air Date: Apr 24, 2022

The Circus travels to Florida as Governor Ron DeSantis signs controversial laws on education, gender, and abortion. John Heilemann, Alex Wagner, Mark McKinnon and Jennifer Palmieri explore how the Sunshine State has become the central battlefield of an American culture war that includes a conservative effort to strike math textbooks due to “prohibited topics,” the fallout from the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, and a rapidly escalating feud between Disney and state Republicans.

Not in Kansas Anymore
Episode 9: Not in Kansas Anymore

Original Air Date: Sep 25, 2022

The Circus returns amid the critical midterm election season with voters across the nation energized in unprecedented ways by the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. John Heilemann goes behind the scenes with Vice President Kamala Harris as she campaigns for reproductive rights in a swing state that could determine control of the Senate. Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon are on the ground in Michigan to report on how the end of Roe is impacting one the nation's marquee gubernatorial races.

Rule of Law
Episode 10: Rule of Law

Original Air Date: Oct 2, 2022

The Circus examines the myriad legal threats facing former President Donald Trump. Mark McKinnon speaks with journalists Susan Glasser and Peter Baker, authors of a new book detailing the Trump administration. Jennifer Palmieri sits down with Sarah Matthews, the former White House Deputy Press Secretary who testified before the January 6th Committee. John Heilemann speaks with legal experts Andrew Weissman and Neal Katyal to discuss the implications of the wide range of investigations into Trump.

State of Denial
Episode 11: State of Denial

Original Air Date: Oct 9, 2022

The Circus travels to Arizona, a key battleground in the upcoming midterm elections and the epicenter of election denial. Jennifer Palmieri, John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon and guest host Tim Miller travel the state, where every top Republican candidate has echoed former President Donald Trump's false claim that the 2020 election was fraudulent, exploring what's at stake if election-denying candidates win office and control of the state's election system.

Buckeyes and Bulldogs
Episode 12: Buckeyes and Bulldogs

Original Air Date: Oct 16, 2022

The Circus examines the battle for the Senate through the prism of two key states: Georgia and Ohio, where former President Trump's hand-picked candidates find themselves in tight races. Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon go behind-the-scenes in the Ohio showdown between Democratic Representative Tim Ryan and Republican JD Vance. John Heilemann and guest host Errin Haines head to Georgia, where Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock tries to stave off his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, whose campaign has been mired in controversy.

This Land is Greene-Land
Episode 13: This Land is Greene-Land

Original Air Date: Oct 23, 2022

The Circus is on the ground in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, home of Marjorie Taylor Greene, examining her meteoric rise within the Republican party. Hosts Mark McKinnon, John Heilemann and Jennifer Palmieri travel the conservative district talking to voters about their overwhelming support for the first-term congresswoman. The team speaks with local Republican officials about where Greene derives her power in a party transformed by Donald Trump and catches up with the Democratic challenger trying to head off her re-election.

The Main Event
Episode 14: The Main Event

Original Air Date: Oct 30, 2022

With just two weeks until Election Day, The Circus is on the ground in Pennsylvania for the highly anticipated Senate debate between Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz. As questions swirl over Fetterman’s health, John Heilemann, Jennifer Palmieri, Mark McKinnon and guest host Jordan Klepper crisscross the state hearing from voters and local politicians, attending campaign rallies and analyzing the impact of the debate in a crucial race that could determine control of the Senate.

Here Comes the Flood
Episode 15: Here Comes the Flood

Original Air Date: Nov 6, 2022

The Circus travels the country as election day draws near, examining the warning signs flashing for a Democratic party attempting to hold onto the balance of power in Congress. Guest host Paola Ramos joins John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon and Jennifer Palmieri, exploring a party on the defensive – even in deep blue states – in the face of sky-high inflation and daunting historical trends. Plus, behind-the-scenes as the party's most sought-after surrogate, former President Obama, makes the case for why voters should keep Democrats in power.

Episode 16: Riptides

Original Air Date: Nov 13, 2022

The Circus concludes yet another turbulent election season with an extended one-hour episode tracking the final days leading up to an historic election night. Hosts John Heilemann, Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon, along with guest hosts Tim Miller and Errin Haines, are on the ground in the key battlegrounds tracking the stunning election results as a predicted red wave fizzles. Season finale.


8 Seasons, 125 Episodes

  • Season 8

    The Circus pulls back the curtain on a new season of politics without precedent. Hosts John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon and Jenn Palmieri go beyond the headlines for an informative, inside look at the political spectacle and the issues impacting us all.

    Season 8
  • Season 7

    The Circus returns for a close-up look at the uncertain state of our union. Hosts John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon and Jenn Palmieri go beyond the headlines of today’s biggest news stories to examine the issues impacting us all.

    Season 7
  • Season 6

    With a seismic shift in the White House, can a new administration heal a deeply divided and distrustful nation? The Circus brings its unique blend of nuanced perspective and behind-the-scenes access to making sense out of the battles that lie ahead.

    Season 6
  • Season 5

    The stakes have never been higher as The Circus goes behind the scenes of the 2020 presidential election. Balancing left, right and center with in-depth analysis, it's the weekly perspective on the political free-for-all you won't find anywhere else.

    Season 5
  • Season 4

    The Circus explores the shifting power dynamics on Capitol Hill as Democrats take control of the House, and covers the escalating drama around President Trump's legal entanglements and continued scrutiny from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

    Season 4
  • Season 3

    The Circus goes behind the scenes and beyond the headlines of the wildest political show on earth, revealing the high-stakes impact of the White House's headline grabbing dramatics throughout our divided states of America.

    Season 3
  • Season 2

    The Circus examines the unprecedented events unfolding – both inside and outside the beltway – in President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office.

    Season 2
  • Season 1

    The Circus captures the human rollercoaster of the 2016 presidential campaign from the Iowa caucuses through the election itself.

    Season 1

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