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October 10, 2015

The Magic of Hollywood: Where Do Your Favorite Shows Really Take Place?

by Maggie Furlong, posted Jun 30th 2011 3:00PM
'Mad Men' is nowhere near Madison Avenue...Hollywood is a magical place, but probably the most amazing thing about the entertainment industry is that any city can be faked.

Haven't you ever watched a show like 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' and wondered where in Philly Paddy's Pub is? Well, don't go searching, because in real life, it's on the Fox lot in Los Angeles, California.

And just a few doors down from the 'Sunny' set is 'How I Met Your Mother,' where the gang gets in trouble on the streets of New York City ... that are actually on a sound stage in L.A.

But there are shows where there's no way the magic of the city can be faked ... right? 'Mad Men' is so completely New York in the 1960s (shoots in L.A., in the present day) and the rainy Seattle backdrop of 'The Killing' had to be 100% authentic (actually it was Vancouver's raindrops you saw all season).

We thought we'd take a look at a few of the other best tricked cities on TV ...

Glee'Glee' (Fox)
Set In: Lima, Ohio
Films In: Los Angeles
Observation: 25th U.S. President William McKinely, the high school's namesake, is actually from the state of Ohio, but he was born in Niles, about 200 miles east of Lima.

Grey's Anatomy'Grey's Anatomy' (ABC)
Set In: Seattle
Films In: Los Angeles
Fun Fact: 'Grey's Anatomy' has only shot a few key scenes and some exteriors in Seattle over the years -- and none of them was at Seattle Grace. One memorable adventure shot in Seattle was the guys camping trip back in Season 3 with Derek, Burke, George, Chief, Alex, bartender Joe and his boyfriend Walter.

Fringe'Fringe' (Fox)
Set In: Boston and New York
Films In: Vancouver
Fun Fact: The pilot was shot in Ontario and the rest of Season 1 was filmed in New York City before production moved to Vancouver, which means that Walter's lab has been built twice to match the pilot's original church basement filming location.

How I Met Your Mother'How I Met Your Mother' (CBS)
Set In: New York
Films In: Los Angeles
Fun Fact: Most of the show's exterior scenes take place on what they call "New York Street" on the Fox lot. And if you don't think that's authentic enough, you should know that it's also where they shot award-winning drama 'NYPD Blue.'

The Good Wife'The Good Wife' (CBS)
Set In: Chicago
Films In: New York
Observation: Look closely at the trash cans in scenes set outside. A late Season 2 episode prominently features trash cans advertising keeping New York City -- not Chicago -- clean.

Mad Men'Mad Men' (AMC)
Set In: New York
Films In: Los Angeles
Fun Fact: Instead of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce overlooking Madison Ave., the show's set sits perched above the 110 Freeway in downtown L.A.

'CSI: Miami''CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,' 'CSI: Miami' & 'CSI: NY' (CBS)
Set In: Las Vegas, Miami & New York, respectively
Films In: Los Angeles & Long Beach
Observation: With Southern California cities acting as solid replacements for the desert, beach and Gotham City, it's surprising that the series hasn't just done an L.A.-based spinoff. (See 'NCIS' and 'NCIS: LA,' both of which shoot in L.A. as well.)

The Killing'The Killing' (AMC)
Set In: Seattle
Films In: Vancouver
Observation: The constant rain, from a sprinkle to a downpour, wasn't the only thing debated in this drama's first season -- fans were also annoyed at the characters' absolute lack of raincoats, hats or even umbrellas to shield them from the elements.

Drop Dead Diva'Drop Dead Diva' (Lifetime)
Set In: Los Angeles
Films In: Peachtree City, Georgia
Fun Fact: Wondering how a show shooting in Georgia can get so many big-name guest stars to fly in for an episode? The small, quaint town of Peachtree City is less than 23 miles away from the Atlanta International Airport.

House'House' (Fox)
Set In: New Jersey
Films In: Los Angeles
Observation: While 'House''s Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital is fictional, we can't imagine the cranky doc actually practicing medicine in sunny California. This is one cross-country city swap that really works.

Weeds'Weeds' (Showtime)
Set In: California, Mexico, New York City, Copenhagen
Films In: Los Angeles
Fun Fact: This show started in fictional suburban town Agrestic, California, moved to fictional beach town Ren Mar, then hit the road for Mexico, Seattle and Michigan before landing in New York and Copenhagen this season -- and it's all been shot in L.A.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' (FX)
Set In: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Films In: Los Angeles
Fun Fact: Every season, the cast and production go to Philly to shoot certain scenes on location for a week or more, so every location shot throughout the entire season is shot at once, all out of order.

Psych'Psych' (USA)
Set In: Santa Barbara, California
Films In: Vancouver
Fun Fact: Santa Barbara gets around 17 inches of rain a year on average; Vancouver gets over two and a half times that, around 44 inches a year. And they call USA series "blue sky shows" ...

Castle'Castle' (ABC)
Set In: New York
Films In: Los Angeles
Fun Fact: Itching to take the cop drama on the road, the cast was thrilled to hear there'd be a vacation episode last season ... until they found out their characters were headed to L.A., where they already shoot the show.

Parks and RecreationAnd What About These Fictional TV Cities?
Some shows choose fictional settings, but Bon Temps, Pawnee and Mystic Falls sure seem real, don't they? Here's where they really are.

'Community' (NBC)
Set In: Greendale, Colorado
Films In: Los Angeles

'The Vampire Diaries' (The CW)
Set In: Mystic Falls, Virginia
Films In: Atlanta, GA

'Parks and Recreation' (NBC)
Set In: Pawnee, Indiana
Films In: Los Angeles

'Cougar Town'
Desperate HousewivesSet In: Cougar Town, Florida
Films In: Los Angeles

'True Blood' (HBO)
Set In: Bon Temps, Louisiana
Films In: Los Angeles

'Desperate Housewives' (ABC)
Set In: Fairview, in "the Eagle State"
Films In: Los Angeles

'Eureka' (Syfy)
Set In: Eureka, Oregon
Films In: Vancouver

Follow Maggie on Twitter @TheTVShowGirl

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Memphis Blues is filmed in and (mostly) around New Orleans, and Treme is filmed almost exclusively there.

July 05 2011 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think any network TV shows other than long-running 'Law & Order' and the VERY short-lived 'True Blue' were filmed entirely in NY. We did see cable's "Royal Pain" filming around the corner from my home quite often, and while it's "set" in the ritzy Hamptons, that's not where they were filming it.

July 04 2011 at 8:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about THE GLADES? It seems they can drive anywhere in Florida in 5 minutes from Palm City.

July 04 2011 at 7:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In a sea of "fakery" at least Burn Notice stays true actually filming in Miami!

July 04 2011 at 7:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I found this interesting esp. the CSI shows, I thought they were shot in their respective cities, dang they fake it good, esp. CSI NY. I guess they do some exterior shots and mingle them amongst the regular shows. I guess one desert looks like another one. Being in Hawaii I should know better since our islands substitute for asian countries like Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Even downtown Honolulu substituted from whatever country 'Sahid" was in in Lost. I watched the filming and then when I saw the show they used what I was watching as downtown Australia someplace(they out of focused the background so one couldn't see "Panda Travel" , Fed Express and other business names) and then a prison for Sahid. Even a train station in Ohio was shot in a post office in down town.

July 04 2011 at 7:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bulletinboardsn's comment

NYPD Blue was also filmed almost entirely in CA. They'd come out once a year for their exterior shots to remain current, but I don't believe they ever filmed a single episode here.

July 04 2011 at 8:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let's give some credit to all of the Set Designers, Set Formen and Set Builders for their incredible talents. I know both the Formen of CSI Miami and CSI NY, both are incredibly talented as are the others and I don't recall ever seeing their names on the credits. Kudos everyone!

July 04 2011 at 3:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"The Office" wasn't on the list; I guess it's filmed in Scranton

July 03 2011 at 10:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

hey guy check out my web show

July 02 2011 at 12:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah Tietjen

I live in Santa Barbara and after the very first episode of Pysch when they showed their version of the courthouse, I knew it was not filmed there and could not watch the show any more.

July 01 2011 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you mean Mad Men actors aren't transported via time machine back to Madison Avenue of the '60's so they can...wait a minute, I think I just wrote my 2012 upfront for NBC

July 01 2011 at 4:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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