Television and film in New Jersey

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There is a long history of television and film in New Jersey which is considered the birthplace of the movie picture industry.[1]

The roots of the industry started in Newark with Hannibal Goodwin's patent of nitrocellulose film in 1887.Motion picture technology was invented by Thomas Edison, with early work done at his West Orange laboratory. Edison's Black Maria where the first motion picture to be copyrighted in the United States, Fred Ott's Sneeze was shot.[2][3] America's first motion picture industry started in 1907 in Fort Lee and the first studio was constructed there in 1909.[4] Fred Wesley Wentworth was commissioned in 1914 by Jacob Fabian to build the Regent in Paterson,[5] the first facility built exclusively for the exhibition of moving pictures.[5][6][7] The nation's first drive-in theater opened at Airport Circle in 1933.

DuMont Laboratories in Passaic, developed early sets and made the first broadcast to the private home.

Many television shows and motion picture films have been filmed in New Jersey,[8] which since 1978 maintains a Motion Picture and Television Commission.[9] New Jersey has long held an attraction for producers, both for its locations and the tax credits offered by the state.[10] Governor Christopher Christie suspended the credits in 2010,[11] but the New Jersey State Legislature in 2011 approved the restoration and expansion of the tax credit program. Under bills passed by both the state Senate and Assembly, the program would offer 20 percent tax credits (22% in urban enterprise zones) to television and film productions that shoot in the state and meet set standards for hiring and local spending.[12][13][14] The tax credit is lower than that of other states offering similar incentives.[15][16] A controversy arose in 2011, when[17] the governor threatened to veto the payment of tax rebates to the production company of Jersey Shore, a program he and others felt negatively portrayed New Jersey.[18][19] As of 2014, a bill is under consideration in the Senate is that would extend the program and remove any caps on tax credits.[20][21][22]

The New Jersey Network (NJN) is a statewide public television and radio network operated by the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority.

In 2010, a new Studio City New Jersey was opened in Trenton.[23][24][25] and in 2011, the Ironbound Film and Television Studio was opened in Newark.[26][27]

Networks based in New Jersey[edit]

Cable and Satellite
VHF stations (digital)
UHF stations (digital)

Television shows filmed in or set in New Jersey[edit]

  • The Street (1988 TV series) "The first television series to be shot entirely in New Jersey..."[28]
  • Bar Karma
  • Cartoon Network's Adult Swim cartoon Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Toonami cartoon Megas XLR are both set in New Jersey.
  • The opening of the popular NBC comedy Ed was filmed in Hillsdale and Westfield, New Jersey.
  • In the animated television comedy Futurama, New Jersey is slandered many times by the characters. In one episode, Fry finds a seemingly ideal apartment while house hunting, but later comments, upon finding out that the home is located in New Jersey, that he found "not one place even remotely liveable". In another, when discussing the global garbage problem, a television ad states that "... landfills were full ... New Jersey was full ...", implying a lack of places to store garbage. Additionally, Robot Hell is located in Atlantic City.
  • The popular Fox television show House is set in a fictional hospital located in the Princeton-Plainsboro area. (The exterior shots of the "hospital" are actually shots of the exterior of Princeton University's Frist Campus Center.)
  • The Fox show Point Pleasant was based on a fictional version of the town. (It was not shot on location within the actual town of the same name.)
  • The Bravo TV series Real Housewives of New Jersey is a reality show based on the daily lives of five New Jersey women living in Franklin Lakes.
  • The popular television drama The Sopranos depicts the life of a New Jersey organized crime family and is filmed on location at various places throughout the state. Series creator and writer-director David Chase grew up in Clifton and North Caldwell.
  • The Disney Channel Original Series Jonas is taken place in New Jersey on a fictional J.O.N.A.S. street.
  • The HBO series Boardwalk Empire, a historical drama set during the prohibition era, takes place in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
  • The HBO prison drama Oz was filmed in an old warehouse in Bayonne, with much of the series filmed around the now-defunct Military Ocean Terminal Base.[12]
  • The NBC drama Law and Order: Special Victims Unit filmed police station and courtroom scenes at NBC's Central Archives building in North Bergen,[29][30] and filmed other scenes throughout the county, such as a 2010 episode filmed at the Meadowlands Parkway in Secaucus.[12]
  • The television medical drama House is set in New Jersey and takes place at the fictional Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Overhead images of the building are actually the Frist Campus Center at Princeton University.
  • In his comedy special What Am I Doing in New Jersey?, filmed at the Park Theater, George Carlin comments that he believes New Jersey deserves the title "Toll Booth Capital of the United States of America." He also suggests changing the state nickname from "The Garden State" to "The Toll Booth State."
  • The NBC show Ed was based in the fictional town of Stuckeyville, Ohio, but filmed in various locations in New Jersey. Stuckeybowl, one of the main settings of the show and where they also had numerous sets, was located in Northvale, New Jersey before it was demolished in 2006.
  • The Adventures of Pete & Pete, set in the fictional town of Wellesville in an unnamed state, was filmed in New Jersey. Originally, the school scenes were shot in Bayonne and the neighborhood scenes in South Orange, and Leonia. For the third season, production took place in Cranford. The occasional New Jersey Transit Bus or other such object in a shot would occasionally give this fact away.
  • NBC's medical drama Mercy is set in the fictional Mercy Hospital in Jersey City.The short-lived hospital drama was filmed at a warehouse in Secaucus, a private residence in Weehawken and a public school in Jersey City.[31]
  • The MTV reality show Jersey Shore (TV series) takes place in Seaside Heights, New Jersey as well as other South Jersey locales during seasons 1 and 3.
  • Cake Boss
  • The CW action-thriller television series Nikita is set in and around New Jersey.

Motion pictures filmed in New Jersey[edit]

On location in Newark, 2004


Coyote Ugly beginning filmed in South Amboy, NJ

The Family Stone starring Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Adams, Luke Wilson and Craig T. Nelson was filmed on location in Madison, NJ


Filming at the Pathé American studio in Jersey City Heights (1912)

The floor space and height of the Jersey City Armory has led to it being used as a temporary studio for many projects, including Robert De Niro's A Bronx Tale, the Faye Dunaway thriller Eyes Of Laura Mars, Laura Brannigan's music video "Self-Control",[36] Woody Allen's Deconstructing Harry,[37] Terry Kinney's Diminished Capacity,[38] and A Perfect Murder by Andrew Davis.[39]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Brooks, Robert P. (April 1959). "The Birth and Early Development of". Passaic County Historical Society. Retrieved 2014-09-15. 
  2. ^ "A Sneeze Caught on Film". American Treasures of the Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  3. ^ Kino Video. "Edison: The Invention of the Movies". Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "KEY CLIENT—JACOB FABIAN". Retrieved 2014-10-10. 
  6. ^ "Fabian Theater". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 2014-11-22. 
  7. ^ Avignone, June (1999), Downtown Paterson, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 9780738563237 
  8. ^ Getting the Big Picture; The Film Industry Started Here and Left. Now It's Back, and the State Says the Sequel Is Huge. – New York Times. (1998-10-04). Retrieved on 2011-01-10.
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  12. ^ a b c Wright, E. Assata (February 20, 2011). "Getting the film crews back to NJ Gov. to decide future of tax credit that benefited Hudson County". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  13. ^ Ross, Michael (August 7, 1988). "State Seeks Bigger Role In Making Of Movies". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Ross, Matthew, "Rebates are blooming in these states: The top five film incentive packages in the U.S.", Variety, May 8, 2008, retrieved June 1, 2008
  16. ^ Honan, Edith (March 11, 2011). "Newark's film hopes snag on New Jersey budget fight". Retrieved 2011-04-06. 
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  28. ^ Abdella, Frank (1988-02-14). "New TV Series Stars Newark Police Officers". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  29. ^ Green, Susan; Dawn, Randee (2009), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Unofficial Companion, Dallas: BenBella Books, ISBN 1-933771-88-7 
  30. ^ Kimpton, Roger. "Hollywood on the Palisades", Palisade magazine, Summer 2010, Pages 12-15
  31. ^ "The Tipsheet: ‘Mercy’ Brings Jersey City to the Small Screen, AhoraJC, Biking the Studio Tour and More". The Jersey City Independent. September 30, 2009. Retrieved September 30, 2009. 
  32. ^ "". 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2010-07-25. 
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  35. ^ New Jersey Drive on IMDb
  36. ^ "NEW JERSEY A STUDIO CENTER? TEMPORARILY AND PERMANENTLY!". New Jersey Television and Movie Commission. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  37. ^ "Getting the Big Picture; The Film Industry Started Here and Left. Now It's Back, and the State Says the Sequel Is Huge.". The New York Times. 1998-10-04. 
  38. ^ "Diminished Capacity". Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  39. ^ "Shooting the Apple". A Perfect Murder. Warner Brothers. 1998. 

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