Even as circus performers gathered under the Brownwood big top on Thursday evening, a different kind of circus will broadcast Brownwood to TV screens across the country on Sunday night.
“The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth” is an Showtime documentary series that followed the 2016 presidential campaign and now, in its second season, covers the first 100 days of the Trump administration. On Sunday, April 23, the series will feature Brownwood and Underwood’s Cafeteria, which presenter Mark McKinnon visited last week to ask diners about their early impressions of the Trump White House.
McKinnon also attended Congressman Mike Conaway’s town hall event while in Brownwood. Conaway recently took over the House investigation into alleged Russian election tampering.
On Monday, “The Circus” published a preview clip of its next episode on YouTube, showing McKinnon choosing food from the Underwood’s line and talking to locals about Trump. Underwood’s co-owner Paul Underwood said he only learned about the filming a few hours before it arrived. “We maybe had three hours’ notice that they were coming,” Underwood said. “At first I thought they were going to film some drama. I didn’t really know what ‘The Circus’ was. Through quick Google searches I found out that it was a political-type show, pretty much down the middle. I don’t think they try to lean one way or another.”
Underwood said his restaurant was recommended by McKinnon’s friend and Brownwood native Roy Spence Jr.
“We owe a lot to Roy Spence Jr.,” Underwood said. “Roy, of course, has the GSD&M advertising [agency] in Austin, and evidently he and Mark McKinnon … are buddies.”
Underwood said his restaurant has certainly been featured on TV before, but not at such a national scale. “That’s interesting to see that people all over the nation will be watching it and associating Underwood’s with Texas and Brownwood,” he said. “I thought the guests he interviewed were very knowledgeable and did a great job.”
Overall, Underwood said, he’s happy with how the filming turned out — except for maybe one thing. “I wish that I’d put in my fresh pans of cobbler,” he joked.
“The Circus” airs Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. on Showtime. It is produced by Showtime and Bloomberg Politics.