News and Documentary Emmys®
Come one, come all to THE CIRCUS. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics, revealing the intense, inspiring and infuriating stories behind the headlines. Key characters and events are presented in real time, as they are happening. THE CIRCUS is a non-partisan, never-before-attempted take on one of the most fascinating and consequential political periods in modern American history.
For Your Consideration
Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a Newsmagazine
Executive Producers: Banks Tarver, John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon, Alex Wagner, Ken Druckerman, Ted Bourne, Tom Johnson
Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis
Outstanding Editing: News
S5 E9 | “The New Abnorma”
Hot off the press after an interminable hiatus, The Circus returns with all the reaction to Joe Biden’s monumental VP selection: Sen. Kamala Harris, the first woman of color to appear on any major party ticket. As forceful coverage from conservatives looms, former Veep candidates offer their candid advice. Elsewhere, the hosts get a behind-the-scenes look at the planning of history’s first-ever virtual Democratic National Convention. Mid-season premiere.
S5 E10 | “Unconventional”
During the first-ever virtual Democratic National Convention, The Circus takes an in-depth look at the party’s efforts to hold the best unconventional convention. Hosts dissect strategy, speeches and media coverage, as well as the Trump campaign’s counter-programming attempts in Joe Biden’s hometown of Scranton, PA. With the wisdom of her 2016 convention lingering, Hilary Clinton joins guest contributor Jennifer Palmieri to discuss Joe Biden’s long road ahead as the Democratic nominee taking on President Trump.
S5 E11 | “Party of One”
The Circus is in the thick of the Republic National Convention in D.C., covering speakers, key speeches and the subsequent public reaction. Among other steady Trump confidants, Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz preview the race ahead and break down President Trump’s appeal to swing voters. Can Republicans offer a winning perspective on “law & order” in response to national rallies over recent police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin?
S5 E12 | “Law and Disorder”
The Circus travels to Kenosha, Wisconsin, the site of a week of civil unrest after the shooting of Jacob Blake. President Trump attempts to redefine the struggle for racial justice into a political choice between Black and Blue lives with his visit. And kicking off his campaign travel, Joe Biden faces the challenge of satisfying all wings of the Democratic party while condemning looting & violence. Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes joins Alex Wagner to speak on police reform and his states’ response to protests.
S5 E13 | “Going Postal”
As states roll out mail-in ballots, The Circus takes a look at the controversy surrounding mail-in voting and its effects on the 2020 election. Despite no widespread evidence of voter fraud, what safeguards are in place to ensure the security of people’s votes? The hosts speak with a Colorado election clerk and the Philadelphia Postal Service Union President. As Trump continues to vocalize his distrust of vote by mail, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon joins John Heilemann to discuss how strategy is adapting to guarantee voter turnout.
S5 E14 | “Force Majeure”
As the United States approaches a grim 200,000 deaths, The Circus investigates the politicization of COVID-19. While the Trump campaign continues to prioritize the economy, Joe Biden has emphatically upheld health experts, causing many to question how the discourse between Red & Blue will play in the 2020 election. With regard to the current political game in key battleground states, the hosts interview Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, Biden Senior Advisor Symone Sanders and Republican political consultant Susie Wiles.
S5 E15 | “Full Court Press”
The Circus profiles the life & legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Eager to capitalize on her now vacant seat, key conservatives have pushed to confirm a nomination before a new president is sworn in, while progressives strongly object.
S5 E16 | “October Surprise”
The Circus covers the fiery first debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Jen Palmieri explores Trump’s aggressive debate strategy, swapping war stories with Philippe Reines, a member of the Clinton 2016 debate prep team. John Heilemann spends debate night with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Alex Wagner and Mark McKinnon are on the ground in Cleveland gauging public reactions to the debate, as all the hosts react to the seismic news that President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19.
S5 E17 | “Crisis Management”
In a turbulent week following President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, The Circus is covering all the inquiry surrounding his health. As more people in Trump’s circle test positive, the current functionality of the White House and outlook for the campaign has come under scrutiny. Alex Wagner talks with Kevin Madden, one of the top GOP communication experts, to discuss the White House’s strategy in the days remaining until the election. Meanwhile, John Heilemann sits down with members of The Lincoln Project on the heels of the first Veep debate.
S5 E18 | “Steal This Election”
The Circus dives into voting integrity, specifically issues concerning election day disputes, voter suppression and re-election rhetoric from the President himself. Eager to stave off fears of negative polling numbers, Trump is hot on the campaign trail, despite his recent COVID-19 diagnosis. Among a myriad of perspectives, Mark McKinnon speaks with ACLU Director Andre Segura in Texas, where Republican officials are limiting mail-in voting. And Alex Wagner talks to a militia leader in Michigan about his view on the necessity of poll-watchers.
S5 E19 | “End Games”
In the week leading up to the last Presidential Debate, The Circus takes stock of the 2020 race as Joe Biden and President Donald Trump play out their campaign endgames. With rising COVID-19 cases causing alarm, Barack Obama stumps in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania while Biden hunkers down to prioritize his health and debate prep. Former CDC head Tom Frieden gives his outlook on the virus and Cook Political Report editor David Wasserman provides a data-driven glimpse at the current state of the race.
S5 E20 | “Landslide??”
As the moment draws closer to election night, The Circus pinpoints competitive red-state Senate races in addition to the battle for the White House. Meanwhile, both Trump & Biden use Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court appointment to their advantage.
S5 E21 | “WHO THE F*** ARE WE?”
With the results of the 2020 Presidential election permeating into the days following, The Circus is on the ground in every key battleground state offering a special one-hour look at how the race between Biden and Trump has evolved. Season finale.