The latest NBC sitcom to grace your television sets is one set in Secaucus, although not filmed there. NBC’s “Great News,” which stars Briga Heelan, Tony Award winner Andrea Martin, and Nicole Richie, centers on the dynamic that surrounds parent-child relationships in later years. The series debuted on April 25 and airs on NBC on Tuesday nights.
Heelan plays Katie, a producer at “The Breakdown,” a Secaucus-based afternoon news show. Katie pitches segments at production meetings and hopes they’ll make it to the air. Her lead producer, Greg, seems to throw all her ideas in his mind’s trash can as soon as she suggests them. Self-absorbed co-lead anchor Chuck, who’s busier at firing interns faster than Donald Trump at “The Apprentice,” isn’t much more helpful. But the icing on the cake is Carol, Katie’s mother, who has just scored an internship at the station and enters “overbearing mom mode.”
Secaucus film history
Former “30 Rock” writer Tracey Wigfield created and wrote the series, largely based on her relationship with her own mother. Wigfield grew up in Wayne, N.J.
It’s not known exactly why she set the show in Secaucus. However, it’s likely that she was looking for a media center that’s perhaps not as clichéd as New York or L.A. Secaucus has been home to several TV and radio stations, including WOR (channel 9) which has its studios and main offices in the city. MSNBC had a headquarters in the area until it announced plans to leave for Manhattan and Englewood Cliffs in 2006.
Several shows and movies have been set here, at least partly. HBO’s legendary “The Sopranos” used the Secaucus waterfront, the nearby NJ Turnpike sign, and a few shots of the Harmon Cove condominiums. Part of the 2000 crime thriller “Boiler Room” was shot in the town, according to Town Clerk Mike Marra. A scene for “Law and Order: SVU” was filmed using a vacant storefront at the Mill Creek Mall. The hospital drama “Mercy,” which ran on NBC from 2009-2010, used a warehouse at 10 Enterprise Ave. as its primary filming location. A Spanish-language broadcast station also once operated in the town, Marra said.
Other Hudson County towns have been the setting for sit-coms, including a Hoboken-based show called “Hudson Street” that aired 22 episodes on ABC in 1995. Created by Randi Mayem Singer, it focused on a journalist with The Hoboken Reporter (one of our newspapers) who starts dating a police officer.
Nearby North Bergen was the set for Law and Order until July 2010, when Gov. Chris Christie eliminated a statewide film and television tax credit here because of a $10 million budget gap.
Good news or…
So far, four episodes of the program have aired. According to Nielsen data, the show has lost 50 percent of its live viewing audience between episodes one and four. But time will determine if it bounces back.
Hannington Dia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org