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] The Centaur Film Company of Bayonne was the first independent movie studio in the USA. 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][9][10] which since 1978 maintains a Motion Picture and Television Commission.[11][12]

Tax credits[edit]

New Jersey has long held an attraction for producers, both for its locations and the tax credits offered by the state.[13] Governor Christopher Christie suspended the credits in 2010,[14] 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.[15][16][17] The tax credit is lower than that of other states offering similar incentives.[18][19] A controversy arose in 2011, when[20] 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.[21][22] As of 2014, a bill is under consideration in the Senate is that would extend the program and remove any caps on tax credits.[23][24][25]

Governor Phil Murphy restored the credits.[26]

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 "The first television series to be shot entirely in New Jersey..."[27]
  • 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 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 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 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.[15]
  • The NBC drama Law and Order: Special Victims Unit filmed police station and courtroom scenes at NBC's Central Archives building in North Bergen,[28][29] and filmed other scenes throughout the county, such as a 2010 episode filmed at the Meadowlands Parkway in Secaucus.[15]
  • 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.[30]
  • 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.
  • Wake Up with Marci on CBS owned WLNY-TV 10/55 talk show empowering women url= New Jersey

Motion pictures filmed in New Jersey[edit]

On location in Newark, 2004



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

The floor space and height of the Jersey City Armory has led to its use 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",[35] Woody Allen's Deconstructing Harry,[36] Terry Kinney's Diminished Capacity,[37] and A Perfect Murder by Andrew Davis.[38]

In 2010, a new Studio City New Jersey was opened in Trenton.[39][40][41] and in 2011, the Ironbound Film and Television Studio was opened in Newark.[42][43] In September 2019 it was announced that the Critierian Group would convert a warehouse in Jersey City to the state's largest film studio.[44]

The Meadowlands Arena since its closure as a sports and entertainment venue has become a major filming location.[45]

Film festivals[edit]

  • Black Maria Film Festival[46]
  • Garden State Film Festival[47]
  • Hoboken Film Festival[48]
  • Newark Black Film Festival[49]
  • NJ Jewish Film Festival[50]
  • Montclair Film Festival
  • Asbury Park Music and Film Festival

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Brooks, Robert P. (April 1959). "The Birth and Early Development of". Passaic County Historical Society. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  2. ^ "A Sneeze Caught on Film". American Treasures of the Library of Congress. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
  3. ^ "Edison: The Invention of the Movies". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  4. ^ "Fort Lee Film Commission - Fort Lee, NJ". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "KEY CLIENT—JACOB FABIAN". Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  6. ^ "Fabian Theater". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  7. ^ Avignone, June (1999), Downtown Paterson, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 9780738563237
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Kannapell, Andrea (October 4, 1998). "Getting the Big Picture; The Film Industry Started Here and Left. Now It's Back, and the State Says the Sequel Is Huge". Retrieved October 12, 2017 – via
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Film%20New%20Jersey.pdf
  14. ^ "Film Production Capital". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  15. ^ 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 February 21, 2011.
  16. ^ Ross, Michael (August 7, 1988). "State Seeks Bigger Role In Making Of Movies". New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
  17. ^ "Is NJ's Film and TV Tax-Incentive Program Ready for Prime Time? - NJ Spotlight". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  18. ^ 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
  19. ^ Honan, Edith (March 11, 2011). "Newark's film hopes snag on New Jersey budget fight". Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  20. ^ "'Jersey Shore' tax credit may be vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "NJ Treasurer questions tax breaks for film, TV companies". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  23. ^ "NJ lawmakers want more tax breaks for movie, TV studios". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  24. ^ "Hollywood incentives fading to black, with N.J. film tax breaks set to expire". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  25. ^ "N.J. remains a Hollywood backlot, despite end to tax credits". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  26. ^
  27. ^ Abdella, Frank (February 14, 1988). "New TV Series Stars Newark Police Officers". New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  28. ^ Green, Susan; Dawn, Randee (2009), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Unofficial Companion, Dallas: BenBella Books, ISBN 978-1-933771-88-5
  29. ^ Kimpton, Roger. "Hollywood on the Palisades", Palisade magazine, Summer 2010, Pages 12-15
  30. ^ "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.
  31. ^ "". July 13, 2007. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  32. ^ "". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  33. ^ "". Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  34. ^ New Jersey Drive on IMDb
  35. ^ "NEW JERSEY A STUDIO CENTER? TEMPORARILY AND PERMANENTLY!". New Jersey Television and Movie Commission. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
  36. ^ "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. October 4, 1998.
  37. ^ "Diminished Capacity". Retrieved January 5, 2011.
  38. ^ "Shooting the Apple". A Perfect Murder. Warner Brothers. 1998. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  39. ^ "News, Breaking News and More: The Trentonian". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  40. ^ "News, Breaking News and More: The Trentonian". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Ironbound Film and Television Studios". Ironbound Film and Television Studios. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  43. ^ "". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ "Black Maria Film Festival". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  47. ^ "Home". August 2, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  48. ^ "HIFF - Hoboken International Film Festival". HIFF. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  49. ^ "Newark Black Film Festival". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  50. ^ "JCC Metro West - New Jersey Jewish Film Festival". Retrieved October 12, 2017.