Here are the ‘best’ TV shows set in North Carolina | Eastern North Carolina Now

As North Carolina is America’s ninth most populous state, film and television producers are working with the Tarheel State in mind.

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is Grant Lefelar.

    As North Carolina is America's ninth most populous state, film and television producers are working with the Tarheel State in mind. For television, numerous shows have been made featuring N.C. settings, many becoming integral parts of American culture.

    Have you ever wondered which one of these shows is the "best?" One N.C. website believes they have the answer., a website dedicated to following sports betting and pop culture in N.C., has ranked the top 10 shows set in the state. The website used a scoring system of IMDb ratings, Rotten Tomatoes audience and critics' scores, and awards to rank N.C.-located shows.


    The Andy Griffith Show unsurprisingly takes the No. 1 spot on the list. Starring Mount Airy native Andy Griffith, the show follows the humorous adventures of Mayberry sheriff Andy Taylor, his bumbling deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts), his family, and other eccentric small-town characters.

    Airing for eight seasons on CBS from 1960 to 1968, the show was immensely popular among audiences during its first run and continues to be beloved today. The show inspired two spin-offs: Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. starring Jim Nabors, which aired from 1964 to 1969, and Mayberry R.F.D, which ran from 1968 to 1971.

    TruTV's At Home with Amy Sedaris holds the number two spot. A surreal parody of Martha Stewart-styled domestic life shows, the show stars comedienne Amy Sedaris and is based on local cooking and crafts shows she viewed while growing up in Raleigh. The show aired for three seasons from 2017 to 2020 and was met with universal acclaim from critics, raking up three Emmy nominations.

    HBO's Eastbound & Down pulls in at number three. Starring Danny McBride as washed-up MLB pitcher Kenny Powers, the show's four seasons follow Powers as he attempts to return to his former baseball glory days from his hometown of Shelby. Eastbound garnered positive reviews from critics and audiences during its 2009 to 2013 run.

    Numbers four, five, and six all feature majority African-American casts and are set in Charlotte. NBC's The Carmichael Show followed the family life of comedian Jerrod Carmichael and ran for three seasons from 2015 to 2017. Nickelodeon sitcom My Brother and Me only ran for one season from 1994 to 1995, yet is fondly remembered. Oprah Winfrey Network legal drama Delilah also aired for one season in 2021, telling the tale of a justice-minded female attorney.

    American Horror Story: Roanoke, the sixth entry in the American Horror Story anthology series, aired in 2017 and deals with the legend of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, which mysteriously disappeared in the 1580s - a tale that continues to perplex historians.


    TLC reality series One Big Happy Family comes in at number eight. Closing out the list are teen dramas Outer Banks, which continues to be produced by Netflix, and The WB's One Tree Hill, which was filmed in Wilmington and aired nine seasons from 2003 to 2012.

    Full list:

  1. The Andy Griffith Show
  2. At Home with Amy Sedaris
  3. Eastbound & Down
  4. The Carmichael Show
  5. My Brother and Me
  6. Delilah
  7. American Horror Story: Roanoke
  8. One Big Happy Family
  9. Outer Banks
  10. One Tree Hill

    North Carolina's film and television industry

    North Carolina has been a top destination for Hollywood producers looking to create films and television shows for decades.

    Since the 1980s, N.C. has offered production companies tax and other economic incentives to film in the state. The North Carolina Film Commission, established in 1980, currently provides production companies a 25% rebate through the N.C. Film and Entertainment Grant.

    The N.C. Department of Commerce reported that the state brought in over $250 million of revenue through 2022 productions. Nearly 75 separate productions were hosted in the state last year. As self-reported by the state in previous years, film and TV productions provide nearly 25,000 job opportunities.

    Economic incentives led producer Dino De Laurentiis to build a studio in Wilmington, now known as EUE/Screen Gems Studios. Critically acclaimed films, such as David Lynch's 1986 thriller Blue Velvet, were filmed at the studio. Lynch also used Wilmington for exterior shots, though Lumberton was the film's setting.

    Other classic movies filmed in N.C. include The Color Purple (1985), Dirty Dancing (1987), Bull Durham (1988), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), The Crow (1994), and Cold Mountain (2003).

    Recent blockbusters, such as Iron Man 3 (2013) and The Conjuring (2013), have also been produced in the state.


    Despite being set in Massachusetts, Dawson's Creek, another popular WB teen drama, was filmed in Wilmington during the late 90s and early 2000s. Andy Griffith legal drama Matlock, which ran from 1986 to 1995, was also partially filmed in Wilmington.

    Recent shows, such as Showtime's George & Tammy, a biographical series about the marriage of country superstars George Jones and Tammy Wynette, and NBC's Revolution, were made in Wilmington.
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