Top 20 NYC Based Shows

by TWoP Staff March 10, 2008 12:59 pm

The majority of TV's classic shows take place in major cities...but there's nothing quite like a show set in The Big Apple. As Bravo welcomes a new group of Real Housewives to the block, let's take a look back at our all-time favorite shows set in New York City. From seven strangers to a show about nothing, The Real Housewives of New York City are giving these classic New York programs a run for their money, with the designer labels to prove it.


20. Ugly Betty (2006-Present)
She may be from Queens, NY, but Betty Suarez (America Ferrara) is all over Manhattan as Daniel's loveable and doting assistant. The tents of Bryant Park during fashion week? Check. The glitzy Gershwin Theater for a viewing of Wicked? She was there too. The show, set in the fast-paced, size-zero world of fashion magazines, regularly features the best of New York City, from SoHo to Fifth Avenue and, of course, the occasional late night burial in Central Park.

19. Kate & Allie (1984-1989)
Lifelong friends Katie McArdle and Allie Lowell get a fresh start after each had divorced their husbands. Moving to a brownstone in New York City's eccentric Greenwich Village, the two women dated, worked and took care of their children. Katie and Allie's successful leap into city life acted as a launching pad for the portrayal of strong, independent women on television.

18. The Jeffersons (1975-1985)
The theme song says it all. A spin-off from the hit sitcom All in the Family, this was a New York mobility tale that lasted for 11 seasons - making it the longest running comedy on television. Married couple Louise and George Jefferson said goodbye to a middle-class Queens neighborhood and hello to a 'deluxe apartment in the sky' on the East side of Manhattan.

17. NYPD Blue (1993-2005)
This New York series created by Steven Bochco and David Milch has courted a lot of controversy. Since its first season, this Emmy-winning show depicted a dark and gritty Manhattan as it explored the inner workings of the fictional 15th precinct. The series would eventually influence several similar themed crime dramas including the Law and Order and CSI franchises, The Wire, and The Shield.

16. Saturday Night Live (1975-Present)
Broadcast from mid-town Manhattan, the heart and pulse of New York City, this variety/comedy show has been filmed in the famous 8H studio for thirty-three seasons. Ever since the first 'Live from New York, it's Saturday Night' was screamed into the camera, legendary comedic performers have been making America laugh. Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner Jim Belushi, Will Ferrell and Tina Fey to name a few.


15. Rhoda (1974-1978)
Returning home to New York City from Minneapolis where she was best friends and neighbor to one Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda Morgenstern balanced life with a work, a new husband and her family. For a short time, Rhoda lived with her Jewish parents in the Bronx until she was married to Joe Gerard. One of the shows most memorable moments is Rhoda in her wedding gown running through the streets of New York City, after being forced to take the subway to her own wedding.

14. Felicity (1998-2002)
When Felicity Porter ditched her plans of going to Stanford in order to follow her high school crush across the country, thousands of teenage girls similarly made their dream to go to the University of New York (supposed to be NYU, but they couldn't legally get the rights to name). Although shot primarily in Los Angeles studios, the show still incorporated a definitive NYC vibe that changed the way viewers saw college in the city.

13. Taxi (1978-1983)
Fictional Sunshine Cab Company was the set for this series that ran from 1978-1982. The title itself brings stirs up images of one of the most recognizable images of New York City.

12. The Apprentice (2004-Present)
Referred to as "The Ultimate Job Interview," Donald Trump gives contestants a run for their money in this New York based reality show. All aspects of the program scream New York; the pressure, the big name corporations, the fighting, even down to taxi that takes fired Apprentices out of Trump Tower. Though the show moved to LA in its sixth season, it has returned to New York and the infamous boardroom where Trump continues to say "You're Fired."

11. The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
The show was not only set in Brooklyn Heights New York, it was filmed in New York City as well! The vivacious atmosphere of the city played a great deal into the plot lines for the upper middle class family.


10. 30 Rock (2006-Present)
"I'm 37. Please don't make me go to Brooklyn." Oh, Liz Lemon, don't worry- you're not the only Manhattanite who rarely, if ever, ventures out of the island. On 30 Rock, most of the scenes take place at the historic NBC building, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. But Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) aren't all work and no play. Donaghy's been spotted moping nearby over at Christie's Auction House where he goes to when he's depressed.

9. Law & Order (1990-Present)
This franchise looks deep into the heart of the New York City criminal justice system within triad of hit shows created by Dick Wolf. All three shows, Law & Order as well as Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent are filmed almost entirely in New York City. The show reaches all five boroughs and the storylines follow all types of New Yorkers, creating a hodgepodge of characters for what the city provides.

8. Friends (1994-2004)
Be honest...even though Central Perk doesn't exist, don't you could just go there are grab a cup of coffee with some close friends? Whether it is Joey's jobs on Broadway or soap opera, Rachel's venture into corporate America or Chandler's...what's his job again? The show focuses on the quirky lives of our six favorite friends and the presence of New York City adds to the mix.

7. I Love Lucy (1951-1957)
New York City was the perfect setting for ambitious and eccentric Lucy Ricardo to thrive. Her knack for trying new things and her thirst for fame tend to find Lucy getting herself into trouble. "Vitameatavegamin" and the infamous candy-packaging scene are all brought to fruition due to the possibilities Manhattan provides.

6. Gossip Girl (2007-Present)
This season, The CW's new O.C-meets-Sex and the City teen soap, Gossip Girl, gave viewers an insider's look into New York's posh and glamorous old-money neighborhood that is the Upper East Side. But Serena, Blair, Dan, et al. don't stay in the comforts of their homes for too long, not with an entire city to paint red.



5. Will and Grace (1998-2006)
Here we have two roommates, a gay lawyer and his straight interior designing best friend...about as New York as it gets. Throw in a Broadway hopeful gay friend and an alcoholic socialite and you have Will and Grace. There is no other city in the world that provides the kahunas to take these four on. Dinner at Balthazar, Grace's wedding reception at 30 Rock and a stroll through Central Park kept the series fresh and fun. And always a little mildly inappropriate, of course.

4. The Real World: New York (1992/2001)
Premiering in 1992, The Real World was one of the pioneers in the reality-based television shows. Each season places strong emphasis on its host city - constantly referencing landmarks, restaurants and of course late night hot spots. Where better to begin The Real World phenomenon than in New York City. The Big Apple provided such a great backdrop for the seven strangers, they returned Back to New York for their 10th season in 2001.

3. Seinfeld (1989-1998)
This Upper West Side series following the trials and tribulations of a whiny ragtag group composed of Jerry Seinfeld, his friends George Constanza and Elaine Benes, and neighbor Cosmo Kramer. The gang regularly visited Tom's Restaurant, located by Columbia University on 112th St. and Elaine was famously kicked out of the Soup Kitchen, located on 55th St. "No soup for you!"

2. Project Runway (2004-Present)
Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, outrageous designers, catfights and New York City's Fashion Week, what more could you ask for? Bravo's Hit reality competition series brings all this and more. A stop in New York's Garment District, field trips with Tim everywhere from Times Square, Brooklyn in the Met. Cap it out with a late night session at Parson's School of Design and you're hitting the runway at Bryant Park.

1. Sex and the City (1998-2004)
Based on the bestselling book by Candace Bushnell, this popular HBO series had viewers glued to their screens with the life-changing adventures and escapades of four thirty something women as they juggle their careers, their friendships, and their sex lives in the Big Apple. The show has made such an impact on the New York tourist scene, that there's even a guided bus tour that takes fans to many of the places the fabulous ladies on the show frequented.

So there you have it. Did you find a show missing from the Top 20 or did we leave one out? Let us know what you think. But I'm sure we can all agree on one thing. The Real Housewives of New York City are ready to paint the town - from the Upper East Side all the way to the Hampton's.

-- written by TV Lover




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