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November 23, 2014

On the Set: 'Ugly Betty'

by Andrew Scott, posted Mar 16th 2009 6:05AM
For nearly three seasons, 'Ugly Betty' has stood out as one of TV's most charming comedies. With its original storylines and lovable heroine (played by Emmy winner America Ferrera), the show has managed to achieve laughs as high as its fashion.

After this week, 'Betty' will go on hiatus -- but not before AOL TV was able to snag an exclusive on-set visit.

So what's it like to spend a day with the cast? Read through our gallery to find out what to expect when the show returns, how the move to New York has changed filming and why Becki Newton's first Manhattan apartment was so horrific.



On the Set: Ugly Betty

    For nearly three seasons, 'Ugly Betty' has stood out as one of TV's most charming comedies. With its original storylines and lovable heroine (played by Emmy winner America Ferrera), the show has managed to achieve laughs as high as its fashion.

    After this week, 'Betty' will go on hiatus -- but not before AOL TV was able to snag an exclusive on-set visit. So what's it like to spend a day with the cast? Read through our gallery to find out what to expect when the show returns, how the move to New York has changed filming and why Becki Newton's first Manhattan apartment was so horrific. -- By Andy Scott



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    ABC

    Lost & Found

    Finding my way to the set of 'Ugly Betty,' which films at Silvercup Studios East, proved to be a little more difficult than planned. One wrong turn led me toward the offices for 'Fringe,' starring 'Dawson's Creek' alum Joshua Jackson. When I finally made it back to the lobby, I spotted Michael Urie (Marc) walking into the studio. Just a few 'Fringe' benefits to kick off the day.



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    Fox

    Comeback Kid

    Fans shouldn't be too worried about the hiatus: America Ferrera herself confirmed the remaining episodes from season 3 will air as planned. In fact, Ferrera thinks the break may ultimately benefit the show's viewing experience. "What's nice is that [the episodes] will air in chunks, so we're airing through one point in the season and then when we come back, all of our remaining episodes will air at one time, so you're not wondering 'Oh, is it a repeat or is it a new one?' So that's a really good, positive thing about it." As they say ... good things come to those who wait.



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    ABC

    She Loves New York

    For this season, the show's third, 'Ugly Betty' moved from Los Angeles to New York (coincidentally, the studio is also located in Queens, just like the Suarezes). Ferrera says this helps to give the show a sense of authenticity. "When we're out there shooting in the middle of the street, or Madison Square Park or down in the financial district, it's hard to not feel the authenticity of the streets -- you know, cars honking, and people walking by and not caring what you're shooting; just wanting to get on with their days. It just kind of grabs you, you know? It's a good backdrop."



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    ABC

    New York State of Mind

    Although the show films in New York, not everything about it is authentic: Step out onto Wilhelmina's on-set balcony and you'll be greeted by a wall-to-floor screenshot of the Manhattan skyline. Talk about an optical illusion.



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    ABC

    Starting Over

    In order to make the move to New York, Tony Plana says the entire set had to be re-built to accommodate the different sound stages (so that explains all that construction racket during our visit). Plana also says that in some ways the move turned out to be an unexpected plus. "I think that the Mode set, because it is redesigned, is much more visually interesting now. It's got these amazing depths of field that you see as you see into receding glass and all that." As for the Suarez household: "It's the same-old [laughs]."



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    ABC

    Home Sweet Home

    After Ignacio had a heart attack, Betty decided it was time to move back to Queens. Her Manhattan fantasy is now on hold, but don't expect her life to slow down anytime soon. "What's exciting is that once she does move back, all of those things she was expecting in Manhattan kind of start happening, in terms of the romance, and the getting further in her career," Ferrera says. "It's just kind of like things come to life when you're not looking for them ... so it'll be an exciting second-half of the season for Betty." Now we really can't wait for the show's return.



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    ABC

    Heart of the Matter

    The heart attack affected the entire Suarez family, but none more so than Ignacio himself. On the bright side, Plana reveals the health scare has now put the future into perspective for his character. "I think the heart attack almost kind of gives him a chance to -- because everybody's taking care of him -- reflect, and to maybe start to focus on those personal areas of relationships, and the areas of his own creative ambitions, as a great cook that he sees himself, and maybe potentially as a developing chef and his own restaurant -- or at least his own ladder climb in that world." We'll eat to that.



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    ABC

    Rest Stop

    So does Plana have a favorite part of the set? Staying true to his character, Plana revealed he enjoys taking breaks in the Suarez family house. "I actually go to my living room sometimes and take a nap. It's more comfortable than my dressing room. I love my chair, and [I'll] just lay out in my chair ... I have all kinds of nice little throws."



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    ABC

    Room Hate

    When Betty moved back to Queens, it was only fitting to have Marc (Urie) sub in as Amanda's (Becki Newton) new roommate. But as we learned, art hasn't always imitated life for the two actors. "[When] I first moved to New York, I lived in a railroad apartment," Newton reveals, "which is delightful in that you have to walk through one room to get to the kitchen or the living space. And I found my roommates on easyroommate.com, which should be re-named crazy roommate [laughs]." Meanwhile, Urie says he's been in five different apartments since moving back to New York in July. Sounds pretty 'Ugly.'



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