With his new Apple series coming into focus, Jon Stewart is lining up his staff.
The former Daily Show host has tapped a longtime newswoman, rather than a comedy vet, to serve as his executive producer and showrunner. Brinda Adhikari has spent close to two decades immersed in investigative reporting, most recently at CBS Evening News, where she won a 2020 Edward R. Murrow award for her contributions to a piece on the treatment of migrant children in detention facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border. She has also worked with Diane Sawyer, David Muir, Scott Pelley and, now, Stewart, as he readies a one-hour series for the streaming service that will put him back in the anchor’s chair.
The still untitled show, which will feature single-topic episodes, will explore subjects that are part of the national conversation and Stewart’s own advocacy work. In a sign that there will still be comedy infused in the series, Stewart has tapped Chelsea Devantez, who began her TV writing career on his staff at his never released (nor titled) HBO show, as his head writer. Since her first go-round with the host, Devantez has written on Tina Fey’s upcoming Peacock comedy Girls5Eva, Bless This Mess, Abby’s and Comedy Central’s The Opposition With Jordan Klepper. She recently wrote, directed and starred in the 2020 SXSW film, Basic, too, and hosts a top-performing podcast, Celebrity Book Club With Chelsea Devantez, on Apple Podcasts.
Rounding out the producing trio is Lorrie Baranek, who’ll serve as Stewart’s executive in charge of production. She brings with her more than two decades of production experience, having worked in live music events, variety series and doc specials. Her recent credits include a collection of comedy series: My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, The Break With Michelle Wolf, The President Show and The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore.
The three women join Stewart’s longtime manager James Dixon and former HBO chief Richard Plepler, who will both serve as executive producers. Plepler will do so through his EDEN Productions, which has an overall production deal with Apple. Stewart will produce through his Busboy Productions, which has an expansive first-look deal with the streaming service. As part of that pact, the series, which is currently seeking producers who have experience in “comedy and/or news,” will also have a companion podcast through Apple Podcasts.
For Apple, landing Stewart’s Daily Show follow-up is, at the very least, a PR coup. In his nearly two decades as host of the Comedy Central series, Stewart earned 20 Emmys — including 10 consecutive outstanding variety series wins — and almost single-handedly redefined political satire in American culture. Though his new entry won’t have a nightly or even weekly cadence, it’s expected to thrust Apple into the national dialogue. In that effort, it joins another timely interviews series, The Oprah Conversation, at the streamer.