14 Iconic TV Shows Filmed in NYC

February 10, 2024

From groundbreaking shows like Sex and The City to beloved classics like Law and Order, New York City is deeply intertwined with the evolution of television. In the 1940s and 1950s, NYC emerged as a hub for television production, with major networks such as NBC, CBS, and ABC establishing headquarters in the city. Shows like The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show were iconic staples of NYC’s television scene, broadcasting live from studios in Manhattan.

Over the decades, New York City has remained a pivotal center for television production, fostering creativity and innovation in the industry while continuing to shape the cultural landscape of television programming.

14 Iconic TV Shows Filmed in NYC

TV shows filmed in NYC not only entertain audiences worldwide but also serve as love letters to the city. When it comes to television shows filmed in New York, there are a few standouts that every aspiring New Yorker should check out.

tv shows filmed in nyc

Harlem (2021)

A television series that centers around a group of four friends living in Harlem, New York City, Harlem follows our protagonists as they navigate career ambitions, relationships, and personal growth. Set against the backdrop of the vibrant Harlem neighborhood and created by NYFA alum Tracy Oliver, the show explores themes of community, identity, and empowerment, offering a nuanced portrayal of contemporary urban life. Image via Yahoo.

Friends (1994)

While primarily set in a fictional Manhattan apartment building and coffee shop, Friends was filmed on soundstages in Los Angeles. However, exterior shots of iconic NYC landmarks, such as the West Village and Central Perk, contribute to the show’s authentic NYC feel. The series’ portrayal of the quintessential New York City lifestyle and the bonds of friendship among its characters resonated with audiences worldwide, solidifying its place as a cultural phenomenon.

tv shows filmed in nyc

The Daily Show (1999)

The Daily Show is a satirical news program that blends comedy and current events, offering a humorous take on politics, media, and culture. Hosted by Jon Stewart from 1999 to 2015 and subsequently by Trevor Noah, then a rotating desk of hosts, the show features interviews with politicians, celebrities, and experts, along with segments such as “The Correspondents’ Dinner” and “Moment of Zen.” With its sharp wit and incisive commentary, The Daily Show has become a significant source of political satire and social commentary, shaping public discourse and influencing popular culture. Image via USA Today.

Saturday Night Live (1975)

Since its debut in 1975, SNL has been a cultural institution, providing a platform for comedic talent and addressing current events with wit and irreverence, making it a staple of late-night television for generations. Many of the skits that take place outdoors are filmed throughout NYC, including sketches like Old Enough! Longterm Boyfriends! and Lazy Sunday. NYFA filmmaking faculty member Claude Kerven was a director for the late-night comedy franchise from 1982-1985.

Gossip Girl (2007)

Set in the exclusive world of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Gossip Girl follows the lives of privileged teenagers attending elite private schools. Filmed on location in NYC, the show showcases iconic landmarks and fashionable neighborhoods across the city. The series’ portrayal of scandal, wealth, and social intrigue captivated audiences, becoming a cultural touchstone for a generation of viewers enthralled by the glitz and glamour of New York’s elite social scene.

tv shows filmed in nyc

Girls (2012)

A critically acclaimed television series created by Lena Dunham that follows the lives of four young women navigating their early twenties in New York City. The show, which features NYFA Guest Speaker Adam Driver, explores themes of friendship, love, ambition, and identity as the characters grapple with the challenges and complexities of adulthood in the bustling metropolis. Image via Glamour UK.

30 Rock (2006)

Created by and starring Tina Fey, 30 Rock is a satirical comedy set behind the scenes of a fictional live sketch comedy show filmed at NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center, a nod to the real-life Saturday Night Live. The series garnered critical acclaim for its sharp wit, clever writing, and stellar ensemble cast, solidifying its place as one of the most beloved television comedies of its time.

What We Do In the Shadows (2019)

Set in Staten Island, this mockumentary-style comedy television series is about a group of vampire roommates dealing with the challenges of modern-day life. With its blend of humor and supernatural elements, the show offers a fresh and comedic take on the age-old vampire mythos. NYFA AFA Acting for Film alum Hayden Szeto is featured as Jonathan.

tv shows filmed in nyc

Law & Order (1990)

This long-running legal drama franchise is considered to be one of the best television series in history and has multiple iterations set in New York City.  These include the original Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU (Special Victims Unit), and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Filmed on location throughout NYC, the show stars NYFA Guest Speaker Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay. NYFA Board Member Matthew Modine appeared in an episode of the original Law and Order: SVU, and NYFA alum Danny Olabi appeared in an episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime. Image via OK Magazine.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017)

Set in the 1950s and 1960s, this comedy-drama series follows a housewife turned stand-up comedian as she navigates the vibrant comedy scene of New York City. Filmed on location throughout NYC, the show captures the city’s mid-century charm and iconic landmarks. The series offers a nostalgic glimpse into the golden era of comedy and the evolving role of women in entertainment.

tv shows filmed in nyc

Broad City (2014)

Broad City is a comedy series created by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, based on their web series of the same name. Set in New York City, the show follows the hilarious misadventures of two best friends, Ilana and Abbi, as they navigate life in their twenties. Known for its unique blend of irreverent humor, candid storytelling, and exploration of friendship, Broad City has garnered a dedicated fan base and critical acclaim for its fresh take on the millennial experience. Image via Refinery 29.

Mr. Robot (2015)

Set in modern-day NYC, Mr. Robot follows a cybersecurity engineer and hacker as he navigates the city’s underground hacker community. Its gritty depiction of New York City’s tech scene and thought-provoking exploration of societal issues garnered critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase. Starring Rami Malek, the show is also praised for its accurate portrayal of mental illness

tv shows filmed in nyc

Sesame Street (1969)

Sesame Street is filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, New York City. The studio has been the primary production location for the iconic children’s show since its inception in 1969. The outdoor scenes and segments featuring the show’s characters interacting with people and landmarks are shot on location throughout New York City, providing a diverse and vibrant backdrop for the beloved educational program. Image via Good Morning America.

The Sopranos (1999)

While The Sopranos was primarily filmed in and around New Jersey, reflecting the show’s setting in the fictional town of North Caldwell, much of the series’ indoor scenes were shot on soundstages in New York City. Numerous outdoor locations were also used throughout New Jersey, including Bloomfield, Newark, and Kearny. These locations helped create an authentic backdrop for the show’s portrayal of organized crime in suburban New Jersey, contributing to its gritty and immersive atmosphere.

Explore the World of Visual Storytelling at NYFA

New York City offers aspiring storytellers the opportunity to refine their skills, acquire technical expertise, and nurture their creative vision in one of the greatest cities in the world. Beyond its diverse shooting sites, NYFA’s film school in New York City provides access to cutting-edge equipment and the chance to collaborate among peers and mentors. Ready to learn more about our film school? Learn more about our programs here!