Carnegie Mellon University

Commencement Weekend

May 18-19, 2019

John Shaffner (A 1976) and Joe Stewart (A 1977)

Emmy Award-Winning Production Designers, Shaffner/Stewart Production Design

Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts


John Shaffner and Joe Stewart are among the most recognized and prolific production designers in television today and have left an indelible mark on television’s history.

Shaffner and Stewart have designed programs that span the genres of multi-camera entertainment: sitcoms, talk shows, cooking shows, telethons, game shows, awards shows, specials, music/variety, televised events and live theatrical productions. 

They first made their mark on television with the designs for “Star Search,” which Shaffner also named, and 10 specials for David Copperfield. Some of their most memorable work includes their production designs for the landmark comedies “The Big Bang Theory,” “Friends” and “Two and a Half Men.”

In variety, they have worked with entertainment’s biggest stars including Jerry Lewis, Michael Bublé, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Harry Connick, Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Carol Burnett and Whitney Houston. Annually, a number of awards shows as well as the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve benefit from their talents. They have designed four Republican National Conventions and several editions of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Shaffner and Stewart have together and separately received 39 Primetime and Daytime Emmy Award nominations and won six Emmy Awards: three for David Copperfield specials, two for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and one for the sitcom “George Lopez.” They also have received 33 Art Directors Guild nominations and won Art Directors Guild Awards for their designs of the 2006 Emmy Awards and “The Big Bang Theory.” 

Shaffner served as chairman of the Television Academy and of the Art Directors Council at the Art Directors Guild. Stewart served on the board of governors of the Television Academy.  

Stewart holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Carnegie Mellon and an honorary doctor of arts degree from the University of Louisiana. Shaffner received his bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Montana and his master of fine arts degree from Carnegie Mellon.