NEW YORK (AP) — Showtime is jumping into politics, announcing Tuesday that it will air a weekly documentary series giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the 2016 presidential campaign.
"The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth" will premiere the week before the Iowa caucus, which is scheduled for Feb. 1. Showtime has not yet determined its weekly airtime.
Showtime is making it together with Bloomberg Politics, and it will be hosted by that company's Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, along with campaign strategist Mark McKinnon. Halperin and Heilemann are the authors of the political books "Game Change" and "Double Down."
Even before election year, the 2016 campaign has been a big television hit, with record viewerships for debates.
"There's more interest in this campaign than any in my lifetime," said David Nevins, Showtime president. "The opportunity to do a weekly verite show is very interesting."
Post-campaign documentaries like "The War Room" are his model for a program that reaches behind the headlines. The candor in those projects, however, is enhanced by being aired after all the voting has taken place. The question for Showtime is whether it will get enough access for such compelling material ahead of time.
If the cameras are left on long enough, people's true natures will emerge, Nevins said.
It will make for a busy campaign year for Halperin and Heilemann, who have a daily program on Bloomberg TV that is also aired on MSNBC.