Nov 29, 2023 - Things to Do

Former Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart and wife Natalie highlight Charlotte businesses in new reality series

You can now watch the first two episodes of “Lately,” a new reality show hosted by former Panthers player Jonathan Stewart and his wife Natalie. The show introduces viewers to a number of local small businesses.

The couple also runs the popular Charlotte publication Charlotte Lately. We spoke with the Stewarts on the story behind “Lately” and what viewers can expect throughout the season.

Why it matters: “Lately” goes behind the scenes to tell the stories of several Charlotte businesses and their owners — how they operate, what their struggles look like, what success feels like.

  • “You’ll actually see what people have to go through in order to survive as a local business,” Jonathan said. “And the impact that they’re having not just as a business but as a community and the people that they affect.”

Background: The Stewarts have wanted to do more video storytelling with Charlotte Lately. The idea for a reality show came from Charlotte production company, Bahakel Entertainment whom the Stewarts partnered with to produce the show.

What to expect: A show that will hold your attention span for the full 30 minutes and make you feel things, Jonathan said. “We wanted to give people something they could relate to and resonate with.” In other words, “Lately” isn’t the kind of show you’ll want to have on in the background while scrolling on your phone.

  • The Stewarts told me they’re keeping most of the featured businesses under wraps (you’ll have to watch to see). But a few include Uptown Sports Bar Ten58, meal kit delivery service Table and Twine  and Cakeable Charlotte, a non-profit bakery that offers vocational training to people with special needs.
  • Some episodes will venture outside North Carolina, but all have ties to Charlotte. “We’ve really tried to be intentional this first season of keeping it close to home,” Natalie said.
Stills from season one. Photos; Courtesy of Natalie Stewart.

What they’re saying: “Social media gives you the happy, but that isn’t real.” Jonathan said.

  • “This show is about connecting with people through pain and what we’re really going through,” Natalie added. “Being able to walk away from these stories and people and feel hopeful and good was such an awesome opportunity and experience.”

What’s next: More episodes are in the works. “We’re going to keep going and keep exploring,” Natalie said.

Where to watch: “Lately” airs every Saturday at 7pm on WCCB Charlotte. It’s also available to stream on the WCCB Charlotte mobile and smart TV app and on bahakelentertainment.com.

  • Lately’s first two episodes aired Nov. 25 and are available to stream.
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