NEW YORK - April 25, 2022 – Brendan Francis Newnam, former co-host of The Dinner Party Download, teams up with Pushkin Industries, iHeartMedia and Topic Studios to release Not Lost, a new documentary-style travel podcast. On each episode Newnam, with a friend in town, travels to a new town, sees the sights and tries to get invited to a stranger’s house for dinner. From Montréal to Mexico City, Newnam and his guests drink, dance and eat, learning as much about themselves as the places they visit. Not Lost is both a delightful travel escape and an insightful look at people – locals and visitors alike – trying to make sense of a constantly changing world through conversation and culture. Not Lost is a co-production of Pushkin Industries, Topic Studios and iHeartMedia and is distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network.
Newnam honed his wit and conversational skills for ten years as co-host of the public radio show and pioneering culture podcast The Dinner Party Download. The show drew its inspiration from the kind of discussion you would have with your friends at a dinner party and featured talks with guests like Aubrey Plaza, Margaret Atwood and Oscar Isaac. Newnam brought the idea for Not Lost to Topic Studios, which helped creatively develop the concept and produce the initial season with Newnam before teaming up with Pushkin and iHeartMedia.
“Whenever I’ve been at a turning point in my life, I’ve traveled to help broaden my sense of what kind of life is possible,” says Newnam, “So when my national radio show ended, as well as a long-term relationship, I decided to tour North America, but this time with friends and a microphone. I came up with the idea of trying to get invited to dinner parties in each town, since I believe that’s the way to best get to know a place. It didn’t always work out as planned, but it made for some fun adventures. I thought it was going to be the audio equivalent of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, but it ended up being a little more like Steve Coogan’s The Trip.”
Award-winning journalist and former public radio and podcast host Brendan Francis Newnam brings the same spirit of learning about each other and ourselves through food and conversation to Not Lost that he perfected with Dinner Party Download. This on-the-ground travel show is more than an exploration of just the sights of travel. It is a sound-rich investigation of the kind of human connection you can only get from the immersion of travel and open-hearted conversation with friends – and strangers – over a good meal.
“What an incredible joy to discover fascinating corners of the world and to meet new friends with Brendan as our tour guide,” said Maria Zuckerman, President of Topic Studios, “We are thrilled to be working with the wonderful team at Pushkin and are excited for listeners to embark on this special journey.”
Newnam is the creator and co-host of The Dinner Party Download, a nationally syndicated radio show and podcast about arts and culture that was downloaded over 28 million times, the creator and executive producer of the critically acclaimed Paris Review Podcast, and the author of Brunch is Hell: How to Save the World by Throwing a Dinner Party. His writings on travel and food have appeared in outlets such as The New York Times Magazine and Saveur. Since 2020, Newnam has worked at Pushkin Industries as Vice President of Special Audio Projects.
The first season of Not Lost will premiere on Wednesday May 4, 2022, on iHeartRadio and wherever listeners access podcasts and will feature eight documentary-style episodes and eight interview-focused episodes with travelers both famous and unknown about their unfiltered reminiscences and adventure tales. Not Lost is a co-production of Pushkin Industries, Topic Studios and iHeartMedia. Pushkin and iHeartMedia have also teamed up on shows such as Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso, What’s Your Problem? with Jacob Goldstein and Be Antiracist with Ibram X. Kendi. For more information visit www.Pushkin.fm.
Listen to the Not Lost season one trailer here. The first season includes:
Episode 1 – Voyage Voyage (Montreal)
Brendan and his friend Danielle seek out the je ne sais quoi of the Quebecois and, along the way, learn about the Quiet Revolution, French-Canadian celebrity mags and local pastries known as nun’s farts.
Episode 2 – Big Medicine (Bozeman)
Brendan, a self-avowed “Great Indoorsman,” approaches Montana’s outdoor recreation opportunities with trepidation. Meanwhile, his co-host Danielle, who once lived in Alaska, rediscovers a part of herself she left behind when she moved to Los Angeles.
Episode 3 – Pizza Party (Portland, ME)
Brendan and Danielle head to Vacationland to see if it can live down its nickname. Fueled by lobster rolls and salt air they visit lighthouses, bookshops and -- to get a sense of what it means to be a Mainer -- the L.L. Bean Headquarters.
Episode 4 – Anybody’s Gumbo (New Orleans)
Carousel bars, gospel choirs, voodoo readings and a visit to a slavery memorial plunge Brendan and Danielle into conversations about race, art, God and the good life with local luminaries like jazz-great Kermit Ruffins and voodoo priestess Madame Cinammon.
Episode 5 – Mi Casa, Mi Casa (Mexico City)
Brendan and Danielle head to CDMX to see if mi casa is really su casa. From dance lessons to shamanistic rituals, they strive to understand this vast metropolis while also receiving an invitación to a fiesta.
Episode 6 – Mother Cabrini (Las Vegas)
Brendan and his friend Luke explore the Hoover Dam, Vegas’ Chinatown and the night sky. Brendan’s plan to avoid sin in Sin City goes well, but after a visit with a priest and a dreamy counter with the man who created the slogan “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas,” all bets are off!
Episode 7 – In the Soup (Big Sur)
Two years have passed since Covid brought production of Not Lost to a halt. In that time Brendan has turned norm-core – a steady job, a live-in partner, a car, a viewer of prestige cable dramas. But the show must go on. Brendan and his friend, radio producer John DeLore, go to a place Brendan considers the opposite of the Big Apple: Big Sur, California. A few days of sunshine and fresh air give rise to fresh questions: How is traveling different when you have someone waiting for you back at home?
Episode 8 – Hello to All This (New York)
In the final episode of Not Lost season one, Brendan finds himself in new territory: home. He explores the city that never sleeps with the same curiosity and zest he usually reserves for new destinations and maybe gets to host a dinner party.
ABOUT BRENDAN FRANCIS NEWNAM
Brendan Francis Newnam created and co-hosted the nationally syndicated radio show and podcast The Dinner Party Download for ten years where he interviewed some of the biggest stars and thinkers of our time. Brendan also created and executive produced the critically acclaimed The Paris Review Podcast. He is the author of the book Brunch Is Hell (Little, Brown), and his writing on food, travel, and design has appeared in publications from The New York Times Magazine to Saveur. He is the host of the podcast Not Lost and the VP of Pushkin Industries’ audiobooks program.
ABOUT PUSHKIN INDUSTRIES
Pushkin Industries is the audio production company co-founded by Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg in 2018. Pushkin has produced numerous podcasts that have broken into the top 10 on Apple’s Top Podcasts chart, including Gladwell’s hugely successful Revisionist History, as well as Against the Rules, The Happiness Lab, Broken Record, Cautionary Tales, The Last Archive, Deep Cover, Lost Hills and Apple’s Best Show of 2021, A Slight Change of Plans. Pushkin’s podcast hosts include Michael Lewis, Jill Lepore, Rick Rubin, Maya Shankar, Tim Harford, Laurie Santos, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Ben Austen, Dana Goodyear, Jake Halpern, Hallie Rubenhold, Sam Fragoso, Glory Edim, Anita Hill, Jacob Goldstein, Brendan Francis Newnam, Eddie Alterman and many more. Pushkin’s audiobooks include the bestselling Fauci by Michael Specter, Heartbreak by Florence Williams, and Malcolm Gladwell’s Miracle and Wonder: Conversations with Paul Simon, The Bomber Mafia and Talking to Strangers. Pushkin is dedicated to producing audio in any format that challenges listeners, encourages their curiosity, and inspires joy. Our work is built on principles of trust: respect, fairness, accuracy, accountability, and honesty. Visit pushkin.fm, where you can purchase our audiobooks and then listen on your podcast player of choice. Follow us @PushkinPods.
ABOUT TOPIC STUDIOS
Topic Studios is the award-winning entertainment studio from First Look Media that develops, finances and produces provocative and entertaining content for all platforms including theatrical, streaming, television and podcasts. The Studio is behind such pioneering podcasts as Operator (Wondery), which debuted at #1 on Apple’s Top Podcasts chart; Somebody (iHeartRadio), with The Intercept and the Invisible Institute, a recent Pulitzer Prize finalist; the beloved Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu, in partnership with the WarnerMedia Podcast Network; the thrilling investigative series Imposters, in partnership with Parcast and Spotify; the critically acclaimed, cinematic musical podcast Anthem from John Cameron Mitchell, featuring Glenn Close, Cynthia Erivo and Patti Lupone; the cultural phenomenon Missing Richard Simmons, the Peabody®-nominated Headlong: Running from COPS, and Headlong: Surviving Y2K, created and hosted by Dan Taberski. In addition, Topic Studios and Audible recently entered a slate development and production deal, with releases under this partnership including The Messenger, an extraordinary tale of friendship, lies, betrayal and terrorism; American ISIS, a portrait of an ordinary American who became a fighter for the Islamic State; and the upcoming Untitled Lauren Ober/Gorilla Project hosted by Lauren Ober (American Public Media’s Spectacular Failures and NPR’s The Big Listen), about Koko the Gorilla; and The Space Within, a fiction series about an internationally renowned psychologist specializing in trauma and PTSD who makes a startling discovery.
Notable films from the Studio have included Nikyatu Jusu’s Nanny, winner of the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival (Blumhouse/Amazon); and Pablo Larrain’s Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart (Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominee for her performance) as Princess Diana (with NEON); Acclaimed documentaries have included the big wave surfing series, 100 Foot Wave, recently renewed for a second season, and the Film Independent Spirit Award-nominated, three-part series, Nuclear Family, both on HBO/HBO Max. The Studio is also ramping up its scripted television division with several projects including the Untitled Martin Lawrence Project, based on acclaimed Israeli “HOT” series Nehama.