Mark Halperin, the former MSNBC host accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault, has been replaced on Showtime’s The Circus.
As announced on Wednesday, a third season of the political docuseries has been formally greenlit for a premiere on April 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Alex Wagner of CBS News will now step in for Halperin as a permanent host alongside John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon.
The network reportedly cut ties with Halperin in October, shortly after he apologized for “aggressive and crude” behavior. Since sexual misconduct claims from multiple women were published by CNN, several more individuals came forward with allegations and Halperin lost his position at MSNBC. HBO and Penguin also scrapped plans to develop projects with him.
This ripple effect placed the future of The Circus in doubt. However, loyal viewers can rest a bit easier with news of its return.
“The Circus has established itself as a primary source of insightful, comprehensive analysis during major political events,” David Nevins, president and CEO of Showtime Networks Inc., said in a statement. “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.”
Showtime promises the same “fast-paced” production quality of seasons past, while the new episodes “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.”
“We all strongly believe that the success of the show is not based on the co-hosts — it’s based on the concept,” McKinnon told The New York Times in an interview published on Tuesday. “No one co-host was irreplaceable.” He added, “Everybody said, ‘We want the show to go on.’ We’re going to let the dust settle, and the dust settled.”