The Most Famous TV Show That Took Place in Your State
From Friends to Grey's Anatomy, here are 50 popular TV shows set in every U.S. state.
Some television shows are set in fictional, other-worldly locations: extraordinary dimensions and mystical realms. Then there are shows that don't bother to specify where they take place at all. But most series are clear about where their story is based, and when it's a real-world location, they take full advantage of showcasing the unique aspects of these locales. That's certainly the case with the following series. After looking at all the TV shows set in each state, we picked the cream of the crop from each one. These are the shows that won our hearts, made our states proud, and that we still talk about today.
Alabama: Hart of Dixie (2011-2015)
The CW's Hart of Dixie stars Rachel Bilson as Zoe Hart, a doctor from New York who leaves the big city behind in order to start a new life in the (fictional) town of Bluebell, Alabama. "Beautifully filmed with warm, cozy tones, the Southern setting utterly envelops the glowing Bilson," said TVLine.
Alaska: Northern Exposure (1990-1995)
In a story that doesn't sound far off from Hart of Dixie, Northern Exposure focuses on Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow), a New York doctor who ends up in the (again fictional) town of Cicely, Alaska. Surrounded by a cast of quirky characters—including one played by future Sex and the City and My Big Fat Greek Wedding star John Corbett—Fleischman must also deal with the wild conditions up north.
Arizona: Medium (2005-2011)
If there was really a Mariposa County in the state of Arizona, that's where you'd find Allison DuBois (a character based on a real-life woman of the same name), the titular medium and consultant for the district attorney's office. Medium earned multiple nominations over the years, as well as a Primetime Emmy Award for lead actress Patricia Arquette. During an interview on CBS' The Talk in July 2019, Arquette talked about the possibility of a potential Medium reboot, saying, "I haven't been approached about one, and I know there has kind of been some talk online about that. I would definitely read it, I mean the writing was so great, and I love all those people. So, I would definitely think about it." Perhaps she misses the Arizona setting as well.
Arkansas: 19 Kids and Counting (2008-2015)
Fans of 19 Kids and Counting (which, for obvious reasons, was formerly called 17 Kids and Counting and then 18 Kids and Counting) can watch the rather large Duggar family, which includes mom Michelle Duggar and dad Jim Bob Duggar as well as their many (many) children, live their lives onscreen. Based in Tontitown, Arkansas, the Duggars shared their stories on their reality TV show until 2015, but the family has continued to make headlines, including Jed Duggar's run for Arkansas office in 2019.
California: Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000)
If it isn't obvious from the name of the show, Beverly Hills, 90210 is set in one of California's poshest cities. The popular series follows a group of young, good-looking, and privileged friends—played by Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling, and the late Luke Perry, among others—who were originally students at West Beverly High. The series was rebooted as 90210 in 2008, and a third series, BH90210, premiered in 2019—but only lasted for one season.
Colorado: Last Man Standing (2011-)
Tim Allen, the former star of Home Improvement, found TV success again on Last Man Standing. The series, which follows a man who runs a sporting goods store chain with its headquarters in Denver, Colorado, also stars Nancy Travis and Héctor Elizondo, and has earned two Primetime Emmy nominations. Season 8 premiered on Jan. 2. Keep on reading to find another Allen-related entry on this list of the most famous TV shows that take place in every state—can you guess which one?
Connecticut: Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)
Lauren Graham stars as Lorelai Gilmore, the mother of Alexis Bledel's Rory, on Gilmore Girls, which is set in the picturesque (but fictional) town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. The beloved characters reunited for a four-part special series on Netflix in 2016. Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life caught up with the mom and daughter nearly a decade after the original series' finale. If that's still not enough Gilmore Girls goodness for you, step into a Stars Hollow-like world with the annual Gilmore Girls fan fest in Kent, Connecticut.
Delaware: The Pretender (1996-2000)
Raised by a nefarious think tank called the Centre—located in the fictional town of Blue Cove, Delaware—Jarod (Michael T. Weiss) is a genius who can easily adapt to any situation and become an imposter, which helps him as he runs all over the state to evade his former captors. The series was followed by a pair of made-for-TV movies, The Pretender 2001 and The Pretender: Island of the Haunted, as well as a book series.
Florida: The Golden Girls (1985-1992)
Betty White and late actresses Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty starred on (and as) The Golden Girls, and made retiring in Florida seem more lively than ever before. As four sassy older ladies who lived together as roommates, the classic comedy earned three Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series, while all four stars took home Emmys for their performances. And as an added bonus, viewers learned what a "lanai" was.
Georgia: The Walking Dead (2010-)
When The Walking Dead premiered in 2010, the show brought a population of zombies—or "walkers"—to the state of Georgia, where the series is primarily filmed. According to CNN, you can now take tours around Atlanta and surrounding rural areas to "sniff out traces of [the show's] survivors and the voracious zombies on their trail." With twists and turns (and a lot of surprising character deaths), Entertainment Weekly described the series as "a nighttime soap with occasional appearances by deceased but moving, flesh-rotting, flesh-eating cameo monsters."
Hawaii: Hawaii Five-0 (2010-)
It's not hard to guess where Hawaii Five-0 is set. The original series Hawaii Five-O (can you spot the slight difference?) aired from 1968 to 1980, and the smash hit reboot began in 2010. Fans of the show get to watch Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and Danny Williams (Scott Caan) track down criminals as part of an elite state police task force based on the islands. In Jan. 2011, an episode of the series made Hawaii proud by earning a nod from Guinness World Records for being the highest-rated new show in the U.S. thanks to its 19.34 million viewers.
Idaho: The Grinder (2015-2016)
Instead of a doctor leaving New York behind for small-town life like on Hart of Dixie or Northern Exposure, The Grinder focuses on a TV lawyer who leaves Hollywood behind for small-town life in Idaho. Rob Lowe plays Dean Sanderson on the critically acclaimed series, which sadly couldn't build up enough of an audience to avoid being canceled after just one season.
Illinois: Roseanne (1988-1997)
Roseanne focuses on a working-class family living in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois, which—according to the show's star, Roseanne Barr—was based on a real city in the state. In order to aim for accuracy, those behind the scenes did some onsite research. "The town that ours is based on—Elgin, Illinois—is changing … We went and interviewed people there," Barr told The Hollywood Reporter when the show was rebooted in 2018. Showrunner Bruce Helford added, "We did a focus group with primarily women, 35 to 55, and we found out some really fascinating things."
Indiana: Stranger Things (2016-)
If you live in Indiana, you might be thankful that the town of Hawkins isn't real, because it's a hotbed of monstrous creatures on Stranger Things. The hit Netflix series is actually filmed in Georgia, with the occasional scene being shot in California. However, the retro Indiana mall culture (and related creepiness) featured in the third season is totally real. State resident and former Lazarus department store worker Jennifer Shirk told Indy Star that back in the '80s, the area's Castleton Square had "some utility back hallways you could get to, even if you didn't work at the mall." She added, "That was pretty creepy. … You think, 'Man, there could be anything in here.'"
Iowa: American Pickers (2010-)
There are a lot of treasures to find in Iowa if you know where to look and what to look for. That's where Antique Archaeology is based, and where fans can catch up with antique and collectible "pickers" Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, the stars of History's American Pickers. Operating out of the city of Le Claire, the duo can be spotted traveling across the state to locate their next lucrative find.
Kansas: Smallville (2001-2011)
Smallville, Kansas may not really exist, but if it did, that would be where a teenage Clark Kent, the future Superman, grew up—that is, after leaving behind his home planet of Krypton. It's also the name of the teen drama that stars Tom Welling as the adolescent man of steel. According to NPR, Hutchinson, Kansas decided to honor the series back in June 2013 by temporarily changing its name to "Smallville, Kansas—the Home of Clark Kent."
Kentucky: Justified (2010-2015)
Justified, starring Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, takes viewers on adventures and investigations around Lexington, Kentucky—as well as in the area of Harlan, located in a narrow valley in the Appalachian mountains. Airing on FX, the show delivered a modern take on an Old West-style of law enforcement.
Louisiana: True Blood (2008-2014)
Set in Louisiana yet filmed primarily in the Los Angeles area, True Blood did take its vampire story to New Orleans in 2012 to shoot on the city's famous Bourbon Street. "Present were actors Alexander Skarsgård (who plays Eric Northman on the show), Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton), Denis O'Hare (Russell Edgington), and Lucy Griffiths," according to NOLA.com. Along with the series' stars, there was also "a cast of thousands" in the street.
Maine: Murder, She Wrote (1984-1996)
"With its clapboard cottages and picture perfect harbour, Cabot Cove seems an idyllic location," said The Telegraph. "But the New England seaside town has been named the murder capital of the world, more dangerous even than the mean streets of Honduras." It's a good thing that the town isn't real, but instead the fictional location in Maine where mystery writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) solves murders—a lot of them—on Murder, She Wrote. BBC Radio 4 crunched the numbers and realized that Cabot Cove "has the world's highest murder rate per head of population, with an average of 5.3 corpses per year turning up in the town." Yikes!
Maryland: The Wire (2002-2008)
Set and produced in Baltimore, Maryland, The Wire focused on crime and corruption in the city for five seasons. PBS' Independent Lens notes, "Baltimoreans who venture beyond the I-695 beltway always know it's coming. We meet someone from another city, or another country. They find out we're from Baltimore, and after a suitably polite length of get-to-know-you chat, they bring up the award-winning HBO series The Wire."
Massachusetts: Cheers (1982-1993)
The next time you visit Boston, Massachusetts, be sure to stop by Cheers. At the bar based on the beloved series, you may not run into Ted Danson's Sam Malone or Shelley Long's Diane Chambers, but you can still pull a stool up and enjoy a beer or two like a local.
Michigan: Home Improvement (1991-1999)
Last Man Standing star Tim Allen makes a second appearance on this list with Home Improvement. Also starring Patricia Richardson and Richard Karn, the show sparked the television career of Pamela Anderson. Because Allen's Tim Taylor was the host of Detroit, Michigan-based Tool Time, the character could often be spotted wearing T-shirts and sweatshirts from the state's colleges and universities.
Minnesota: The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show stars the iconic actress as an associate producer at a (fictional) news program in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Allan Burns, who created the show alongside James L. Brooks, explained that Minnesota was chosen for the location of the series because "one of the writers began talking about the strengths and weaknesses of the Vikings [football team]." Go Vikings!
Mississippi: In the Heat of the Night (1988-1995)
Based on the 1965 novel of the same name and the 1967 film adaptation, In the Heat of the Night focuses on a team of police officers trying to uphold the law in a small Mississippi town. While Sparta, Mississippi is a real place, the series' version doesn't have much in common with the actual Sparta, a tiny unincorporated community in Chickasaw County.
Missouri: Superstore (2015-)
Big-box stores can be found across the country, but on Superstore, Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) work at a Cloud 9 in St. Louis, Missouri. When the sitcom premiered in 2015, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch negatively reviewed the show, saying that "it isn't quite as funny as something you'd see in a real big-box store in St. Louis any given weekend." Five years later, however, the series is still going strong.
Montana: Yellowstone (2018-)
With Kevin Costner in the lead role, Yellowstone focuses on the battles that erupt over Montana's precious land. Filmed in more than 20 locations around both Utah and Montana, according to Good Housekeeping, all of the stunning nature that you see onscreen is the real deal. In June 2019, Costner told CBS This Morning, "I don't think we ever tire of seeing running rivers, valleys, and mountains. If you can set a drama against all that, it's fun."
Nebraska: Bless This Mess (2019-)
Dax Shepard and Lake Bell are the stars of Bless This Mess, a sitcom set in rural Nebraska. "Follow[ing] a pair of New Yorkers to what they think is the 'promised' land," the show sees the duo "in a rundown home they inherited from the man's late aunt," according to the state's Lincoln Journal Star. While there, they "hope to find a quieter, less stressful life"—but things don't turn out exactly how the couple planned. The Journal Star called it "Hollywood's view of Nebraska." Fair enough.
Nevada: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-2015)
If you're interested in a career as a crime scene investigator in Nevada, then you might want to check out CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which is set in the Western state. The long-running show was so popular that it sparked spinoffs in other states, including CSI: Miami and CSI: NY.
New Hampshire: Stan Against Evil (2016-2018)
Demons and evil spirits plague a small New Hampshire town that happens to be located where a witch-burning once took place on Stan Against Evil. Sadly, the horror-comedy series was canceled in 2018.
New Jersey: The Sopranos (1999-2007)
Perhaps the only thing more iconic than The Sopranos' theme song or the characters' regional accents is the New Jersey location where the show takes place. "You might say the opening of HBO's The Sopranos … was the ultimate Jersey joke—a thumbnail sketch of the Garden State, as a snarky outsider might see it," said NorthJersey.com. "Yet the joke was not on New Jersey. It was on everyone else. [The show] had the accidental side effect of putting New Jersey on the map as an unlikely capital of cool." If you agree and still want to live like a (fictional) mobster, be prepared to fork over around $3.4 million—that's what Tony Soprano's North Caldwell, New Jersey home cost when it hit the market in June 2019.
New Mexico: Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who turns to making drugs in order to ensure that his family is taken care of after he's diagnosed with cancer. The highly acclaimed series may have ended back in 2013, but it's still as popular as ever with fans who travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico—where it was set—to get a glimpse at the various filming locations seen on the show. According to USA Today, "Albuquerque, once known mainly for its annual International Balloon Fiesta, has benefited from the show, not only from fans who flock to Duke City to visit the locations featured on the cable TV series, but from the steady filming and production work that has propelled the city's entertainment services industry."
New York: Friends (1994-2004)
In 2019, Friends returned to the state of New York. Well, a pop-up dedicated to the iconic sitcom turned up in New York City to celebrate the series. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Twenty-five years after Ross (David Schwimmer), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Monica (Courteney Cox), Chandler (Matthew Perry), and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) first gathered at Central Perk, producers Warner Bros. Television is giving fans the chance to revisit some of the beloved NBC sitcom's most quotable moments—and experience some for themselves—with an immersive pop-up space in downtown New York City." Could that be anyone more fun?
North Carolina: One Tree Hill (2003-2012)
Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty) are brothers and basketball competitors living in the fictional town of Tree Hill, North Carolina on the teen drama aptly titled One Tree Hill. "Fans of the popular WB drama flock to the area to tour our riverside sites and recreate the show's most epic scenes," according to the Wilmington, North Carolina website. If you head there yourself, you'll be able to "see the locations where Chad Michael Murray, Sophia Bush, James Lafferty, and Hilarie Burton began their television careers." And there's plenty to see, considering that "288 episodes over nine seasons were filmed in the Wilmington area."
North Dakota: Blood & Oil (2015)
"North Dakota's oil boom gets the Hollywood soap opera treatment in ABC's Blood & Oil, which explores the insatiable lust for money and opportunity that defined the tens of thousands who built the state into an energy giant and rival to OPEC members," said Reuters. Starring Don Johnson as the oil tycoon head of a troubled and troublesome North Dakota family, the series wasn't actually filmed in the state, but was instead shot in Utah.
Ohio: Glee (2009-2015)
Glee isn't just a show about a group of teenage music-loving high school students—it's a show about a group of teenage music-loving high school students in Ohio. The series even honored the state by performing a version of the song "Ohio" from the 1953 musical Wonderful Town during Season 2.
Oklahoma: Saving Grace (2007-2010)
When Saving Grace premiered in 2007, it wasn't a conventional series in any way. As Entertainment Weekly put it, Holly Hunter's Grace is "a liar, an unapologetic adulteress, and an exhibitionist—not to mention, a big boozehound," making her "like no woman on TV." Her surroundings also made the show stand out: "Oklahoma City 12 years after Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building … This is an O.C. where the toilet-seat lids are covered in carpet and an elementary school is named for Ronald Reagan. The whole city and her family still swell with pain."
Oregon: Grimm (2011-2017)
The supernatural comes to Oregon on NBC's Grimm, which stars David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt, a man destined to fight evil forces. "Nick's investigations have taken him from the streets and neighborhoods of Portland to the green, woodsy areas where an alarming number of dead bodies turn up," said The Oregonian. Thankfully for those in Portland and beyond, the show is a fictional take on the area, as supernatural beings aren't actually popping up on every corner in real life.
Pennsylvania: The Office (2005-2013)
Steve Carell, John Krasinski, and Mindy Kaling were just three of the stars who got their break on The Office, a mockumentary that focuses on a group of employees working at a Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Since Scranton is indeed a real place, Entertainment Weekly explains that "the production team stayed in touch with the Pennsylvania city throughout the show's run to ensure authenticity. File cabinets were marked with stickers from local radio stations. When newspapers were needed on set, the Scranton Times-Tribune worked up fake front pages and sent them to the L.A. Times [which was closer to where the show filmed in California] for printing."
Rhode Island: Family Guy (1999-)
Family Guy, an animated comedy about a boorish Rhode Island man and his family, was likely based in the state for two reasons. According to The Boston Globe, the show's creator, Seth MacFarlane, went to the Rhode Island School of Design, while executive producer Danny Smith (also a writer and voice actor for the show) is a Rhode Island resident. Surely that means they know a thing or two about the New England state.
South Carolina: Southern Charm (2014-)
It shouldn't be surprising to find out that Southern Charm takes place in a southern state. Bravo's reality series follows socialites who all live, work, and create drama (of course) in Charleston, South Carolina, where "the city's most charismatic gentlemen and their Southern belle equals" navigate a "social scene [that] is bound by tradition and ostentation unlike any other culture in America."
South Dakota: Deadwood (2004-2006)
Timothy Olyphant makes his second appearance on the list. Not only did he star in Justified, which was based in Kentucky, but he also leads the cast of Deadwood. Residents of South Dakota might be be able to tell you that HBO's Western series was set in their state back in the 1870s. Despite only having three seasons, the show earned plenty of industry honors, including eight Emmy Awards (as well as a whopping 28 nominations) and one Golden Globe. In 2019, the cast and creative team reunited for an HBO movie that continued the story.
Tennessee: Nashville (2012-2018)
If you ever dreamed about moving to Tennessee to pursue a career in the country music industry, then you're likely already a fan of Nashville. Starring Connie Britton as a singer whose time in the spotlight is fading and Hayden Panettiere as a rising star, the series was created by Academy Award winner Callie Khouri, a former resident of the state. "This is a place that can be mocked and made fun of, and sometimes it deserves it, like any place," she told The New York Times while discussing the area that she once called home. "But it also is an incredibly beautiful, cosmopolitan city, and I wanted to show that to the world. I want to represent it in a way that everybody who lives here would find completely realistic."
Texas: Dallas (1978-1991)
If you weren't around when the original Dallas series ruled television screens during its lengthy run, then perhaps you caught the reboot of the show, which aired from 2012 to 2014. Either way, you were treated to a cool, cunning, and conniving Southern family, with plot lines that could only take place in Texas. They say everything's bigger in Texas, and apparently that applies to drama as well.
Utah: Big Love (2006-2011)
"The upcoming premiere of HBO's Big Love is causing a big buzz in the Beehive State," Today reported back in 2006 when the scandal-stirring show first debuted. What was the fuss? The show tells the story of a "Utah polygamist," played by Bill Paxton, and "his three sometimes desperate housewives," roles taken on by Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin.
Vermont: Newhart (1982-1990)
Yet another show focusing on New York dwellerswho decided to leave the Big Apple—this time, played by Bob Newhart and Mary Frann—Newhart has the city-folks setting up a new life in rural Vermont, where they run an inn. The show used the Waybury Inn in East Middlebury, Vermont as its setting, though it was the Stratford Inn on the show, because those responsible for the comedy "thought that the [Waybury] captured the essence of the Vermont experience."
Virginia: Criminal Minds (2005-)
Considering Criminals Minds follows a fictional team that works in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, it's understandable that the show doesn't film in a real-life government facility filled with active agents. However, the CBS series—which is currently airing its 15th and final season—does its best to mimic the actual working space in Quantico, Virginia to tell its gripping—and award-winning—stories.
Washington: Grey's Anatomy (2005-)
Grey's Anatomy, one of the longest-running and most successful medical dramas of all time, takes viewers along for the heartwarming and heartwrenching drama at the fictional Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital (formerly Seattle Grace Hospital) in Seattle. Those who follow the show's account on Instagram will know that you can occasionally spot a "classic Seattle photo" when the series films on location. (For the most part, however, it's shot in Los Angeles.)
West Virginia: Outcast (2016-2018)
"Outcast's West Virginia has some of the same vibe of the exurban Atlanta woods," according to The Washington Post. And that may not be surprising when you learn that the Cinemax show, a supernatural horror story, was based on a comic series from Robert Kirkman, also responsible for the Walking Dead comics.
Wisconsin: The Young and the Restless (1973-)
Premiering all the way back in 1973 and still running strong today, The Young and the Restless turns up the heat in the state of Wisconsin with the kind of sensational storylines that could only happen on a soap opera. There is, in fact, a real Genoa City, but it doesn't exactly resemble Y&R's locale.
Wyoming: Longmire (2012-2017)
Longmire bowed out in 2017 after five years of telling the stories of Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), a man who tries to keep law and order in fictional Absaroka County in Wyoming. When the show was still on the air, the stars were known to show up in the state to take part in the Longmire Days Fan Fest which featured contests, panel discussions, performances, and even a parade. Wyoming certainly knows how to celebrate a series that's based in its state!