Alex Wagner: 2018 will be ‘one of the most consequential years in American politics’
© The Circus

You never know what might be lurking when you start poking around dark corners in Washington, D.C. But don’t be too surprised if you happen to find Alex Wagner.

“If there is a dark room with a door, you can probably find me napping in it,” the CBS News correspondent says with a laugh. “Naps are probably one of the most underrated secret weapons of the American journalist class,” she exclaims. “But,” she quickly adds, “in this moment, it’s beside the point, I think.”


With her ever-expanding presence on the media landscape, getting enough rest is important for Wagner. In addition to her duties at CBS, the D.C. native is releasing a book, “Futureface”; serves at The Atlantic as a contributing editor; gave birth to a son with husband Sam Kass last July; and in January was named the co-host for Showtime’s political docu-series “The Circus.”

“This is going to be one of the most consequential years in American politics. So when you’re offered a seat to the show under the big tent, you take it,” Wagner tells ITK of her job alongside co-hosts John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon on the third season of the Showtime series, which premieres on Sunday.

While the news of Wagner’s hire came shortly after former co-host Mark Halperin lost the gig amid sexual harassment allegations, the 40-year-old journalist says she had already been in talks with “The Circus” team “before anything with Mark happened.”

While she’s pleased the country is “seeing more women in more prominent positions in media,” Wagner says, “I think people tend to see [my hire] as a binary proposition, and it’s not.”

She calls the show a “very responsive, week-to-week documentary of what just happened.”

“When you’re immersed in it, it’s challenging to know which is the most meaningful, impactful development that’s happened today,” Wagner explains. “These weeks go by, and so much happens you actually need something at the end of it to give you some perspective. That’s what ‘The Circus’ does so well. It tells you what matters and it gives you a comprehensive understanding of what transpired.”

With politics on tap virtually 24/7, what does Wagner do for a little non-Washington-related R&R?

“My husband and I have a little place on the water out on the North Fork of Long Island with a little vegetable garden. And we have a little bathtub that is disguised as a boat. So we’ll tootle around on the inlet, and he’ll fish, and I’ll do the crossword puzzle.”

Plus, with their young son, Cy, some of the best moments have “been on the floor with plastic building blocks.”

Asked if she ever simply ODs on politics, Wagner replies with a chuckle, “Every time I get close to the edge of it, some other crazy thing happens that renews my sense of intrigue and excitement as far as the American political machine.”