New York TV Shows
In recent times, New York has become the prime city for filming television shows with productions such as 30 Rock, White Collar, Elementary and Friends holding prime time slots in many of the US network television daily schedules. Some of the popular shows have run for several seasons, none more so than Sex and the City, which ran from 1997 until 2004, after which two motion pictures followed in 2008 and 2010.
As with some films that are supposed to be based in New York City, production is often carried out in other cities. The TV show Friends was actually shot on a sound stage in LA, although this does not stop fans of the show standing in front of the apartment building in Greenwich village to take a picture of what really is a building that has absolutely nothing to do with the show apart from the fact that it was used during the opening sequence.
The same can be said for The Cosby show which ran for eight years and was based on an upper middle class African-American family living in Brooklyn. In fact, that couldn’t have been further from the truth as the exterior shot of the brownstone was actually number 10 St. Luke’s Place in Manhattan. But once again, no actual scenes were shot in New York City.
During the 1970’s and 80’s, cop shows such as Kojak, Hill Street Blues and Cagney & Lacey were becoming increasingly popular. All of which were set in New York City, but none of them were actually shot on the streets of New York. Another 1970’s television show that gave reference to NYC was Taxi starring Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd. Dover Garage was at 534 on Hudson Street in Greenwich Village. This building has since been demolished and replaced by an apartment building. This garage was only used for exterior shots and the actual show was much like Friends, shot on a sound stage in LA.
In 1982, Fame came to the small screen. Originally a full-length film released in 1980 and shot on the streets of Manhattan, the TV show of the same name was produced. Using a mixture of drama and music, it followed the lives of the students and faculty at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. Although fictional, it was based heavily on the actual Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts in New York. Most interior scenes were filmed in California, and in all seasons except the 3rd, the show filmed several exterior scenes on location in New York City.
During the 1990’s, a host of supposed to be set in NYC television shows were being made in Los Angeles with lots of established film actors. Spin City starred Back to the Future fame, Michael J Fox, Working Girl starred Speed actress Sandra Bullock, whilst As Good As It Gets star, Helen Hunt worked on Mad About You.
The cop drama NYPD Blue was supposed to be based in Brooklyn, but was in fact mainly shot in LA as was the comedy series Will & Grace, although exterior shots for Will’s apartment at 155 Riverside Drive and Grace’s office at the Puck Building at 295 Lafayette Street were used.
The popular crime drama, Law & Order which ran for 20 years used several New York locations including the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, Grimald’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn, Times Square and the famous Katz’s Delicatessen at 205 East Houston Street.
Bigger-budget shows started appearing in US television schedules midway through the 2000’s. White Collar, 666 Park Avenue, Elementary and the hugely popular teen drama, Gossip Girl, although there were still many NYC based sitcoms such as Ugly Betty, Friends, CSI:NY, Nikita, Heroes, Everybody Hates Chris and How I Met Your Mother being made in LA. Even the popular crime show, 24 starring Kiefer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer tried to convince audiences in Season 8 that the new headquarters for CTU was based on Roosevelt Island, and yet anyone familiar with the area could clearly spot the computer-generated NYC skyline backdrop.
TV Shows: White Collar, 666 Park Avenue and Elementary
TV Shows: Heroes, Nikita and 24
Gossip Girl kicked started film careers for many of its young actors. Blake Lively played Serena van der Woodsen and has since starred in New York, I Love You. Leighton Meester played the character of Blair Waldorf and since the show finished in 2012 has appeared in numerous film roles including Date Night, Going the Distance and The Oranges, all of which were shot in the state of New York. Chace Crawford, who played Nate Archibald appeared in the dark drama, Twelve, whilst Jessica Szohr who played Vanessa Abrams went onto appear in the action comedy, Tower Heist alongside Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Tea Leoni.
During the shows six year run, many locations within NYC were used including the Empire Hotel at 44 West on 63rd Street, the NYC Palace Hotel at 455 Madison Avenue, The Met on 5th Avenue, in particular the steps leading up the entrance and various parts of Central Park. Much like White Collar, which stars Matt Bomer, Gossip Girl stayed loyal to New York and has become a great example for forthcoming television shows like The Following, Elementary and Golden Boy to follow. Whether or not budgets are there to support the making of television shows in the state of New York, if it is supposed to be set in New York, then really it should be filmed in New York.
TV Shows: Sex and the City
Which brings us to the most iconic television comedy-drama series of them all. Produced by HBO and broadcast on US television from 1998 until 2004, Sex and the City had a total of 94 episodes, and throughout its six-year run received contributions from various producers, writers and directors. Set and filmed in New York City and based on the book of the same name by Candace Bushnell, the show followed the lives of a group of four women, three in their mid-thirties and one in her forties who, throughout their different natures and ever-changing sex lives, remain inseparable and confide in each other. The series starred Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones, Kristin Davis as Charlotte York and Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes, and had multiple continuing storylines that tackled relevant and modern social issues whilst as the same time exploring the differences between friendships and romantic relationships.
TV Show: Sex and the City
Following the success of the television series, two films with the same title were released, of which otsoNY boasts 37 actual film locations.
Link: Sex and the City 2
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