A new media agency study from Carat Insight shows that 60 percent of nearly 2,000 cable and network series since 1948 have been set in California or New York - and mostly Los Angeles and New York.
There have been some varitations, though. "All the in Family" was in Queens (not quite Manhattan), and "The Streets of San Francisco" weren't the streets of Hollywood and Vine. A distant third is Chicago, currently where the "ER" doctors frantically attend to the sick and needy.
Are we better for the coastal concentration? This study doesn't offer that conclusion. Are TV advertisers better for it? Obviously, yes. They are still in business selling soap and cars and cell phones and erectile dysfunction drugs.
The main conclusion is obvious. Many TV writers are from the coasts and they write what they know. Nina Tassler, CBS entertainment president says: "Both Los Angeles and New York are rich in diversity, culturally and ethnically, so you have great sources to go to for unique stories." Or, those people are just weird. So it may not be a positive thing.
Still, medium sized cities seem to attract viewers for the long term as well: "Mary Tyler Moore" in Minneapolis, "thirtysomething" in Philadelphia, "Frasier" in Seattle, and "Designing Women" in Atlanta are all good examples.
But what about smaller towns -- like Hoboken? Bada-Bing! There's "Hudson Street," a sitcom with Tony Danza (ABC, 1995). But the town across the river from NYC couldn't make a go of it. However, "The Sopranos" does good business there and in other Northern New Jersey locations.
Still, for every one small town failure - there is also the Lanford, Ill. home of "Roseanne."