The New York Times has an excellent profile of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show which explains a little of how everything is put together.
It involves 15 TiVos, a couple dozen newspapers, and lots of very talented writers, producers and performers.
However, this is a good summary of what goes into creating one of the few examples of required television.
“We often discuss satire – the sort of thing he does and to a certain extent I do – as distillery,” [Stephen] Colbert continued. “You have an enormous amount of material, and you have to distill it to a syrup by the end of the day. So much of it is a hewing process, chipping away at things that aren’t the point or aren’t the story or aren’t the intention. Really it’s that last couple of drops you’re distilling that makes all the difference. It isn’t that hard to get a ton of corn into a gallon of sour mash, but to get that gallon of sour mash down to that one shot of pure whiskey takes patience” as well as “discipline and focus.”
Patience, discipline and focus should also also be attributes of creating great journalism.
Something that is even harder to find these days than great satire.