TV Shows Filmed in Newport Beach

01/18/22  |   Annie Clougherty

Newport Beach’s beautiful weather and coastal location lend themselves well to cinematic storytelling and a desirable lifestyle.

Newport Beach has an impressive history with cinema, dating back to the era of silent film. Compared to other beachside locations, Newport often provides ideal weather conditions for production with an average of twelve inches of rainfall per year and an average summer high temperature of 78°. In recent years, the fair-weathered coastal city has served as the backdrop to many well-known television shows, making the town recognized nationwide as a coveted place to live. If you’re thinking of making this much sought-after location your home, here are some of the television shows featuring its scenery.


“The OC”

Premiering in 2003, “The OC” made the high-end town of Newport Beach a household name. Before the show aired, Orange County’s biggest claim to fame was Disneyland, but soon after this highly successful teen drama introduced the area to the whole country and the rest of the world. Since then, visitors from all over the globe have traveled to Newport Beach to witness the enviable luxurious, and laid-back lifestyle captured by the show. 

“The OC” follows Ryan Atwood, a troubled teenager taken in by a wealthy Newport Beach family. Ryan befriends Seth, his foster brother, and the two navigate high school as unpopular outsiders. The show garnered 12.72 million viewers during its first season, putting Newport Beach on the map and launching a nationwide interest in California decadence. Although much of the show was filmed outside of Newport Beach, the filmmakers collected supplemental footage from the scenic beachside town and featured it throughout the episodes.

The “OC” opening credits prominently feature the many beachfront properties lining the coast in Newport Beach. This show aired for four seasons and is considered by many to be one of the greatest teen dramas of all time. It launched the careers of several young actors and played an instrumental role in elevating the profile of Newport Beach. 


“The Real Housewives of Orange County”

Credit: Bravo TV

The early to mid-2000s were popular for television shows set in Orange County. In 2003, the critically acclaimed show “Arrested Development” premiered. Although it was set in the affluent city of Newport Beach, it was not filmed there but nevertheless further exposed the area’s influence.

Beyond sitcoms and TV dramas, Newport Beach has become a staple in reality television. “The Real Housewives of Orange County” premiered on Bravo in 2006 and is still releasing new episodes today. The series follows a group of housewives living in one of the wealthiest communities in America with new outlandish and fabulous characters added each season. From its premiere to the season-one finale, the show saw a total viewership increase by 127%. Its popularity launched an entire series of additional “Real Housewives” shows based in other desirable neighborhoods throughout the country.

While “The OC” showed audiences a fictional interpretation of Newport Beach, “The Real Housewives of Orange County” gave the town real context. Watching this show, you’ll see real-life homes instead of pre-built sets, and it documents the incredible quality of life afforded by the location. With over 400 restaurants in the area, numerous annual events including an international film festival, and a performing arts center, residents enjoy an impressive variety of cultural experiences within their neighborhood. 

“The Real Housewives of Orange County” is a classic reality TV drama, exposing the outrageous clashes between intense personalities. Despite the addictive dramatic situations portrayed in the show, the Orange County atmosphere is decidedly more laid-back than some neighboring coastal hotspots. 


“Newport Harbor,” “The Bachelor,” “Trading Spaces,” and more!

Orange County grew quickly as a setting for reality TV during the 2000s. In 2007, MTV released “Newport Harbor: The Real Orange County” as a spinoff from another Orange County-based reality show, “Laguna Beach.” This short-lived series followed the lives of high school students in Newport Beach, but if you missed this show, you can still catch the region’s beautiful imagery in dozens of others.

“The Bachelor” and “Trading Spaces” each feature one-off episodes in Newport Beach. “The Bachelor” first aired in 2002, averaging 10.7 million viewers in its first season. The show is still going strong today, as it just wrapped its 25th season earlier this year. Due to its dedicated fanbase, “The Bachelor” will likely continue for several more seasons, possibly including more episodes filmed in and around Newport Beach homes

The popularity of these shows, the gorgeous coastal scenery, and the thriving social scene of Newport Beach have drawn in over an average of 6.9 million visitors each year. This tourism adds many advantages to life along the beach such as boosting the local economy and creating more jobs and providing resources for infrastructures like public schools and community areas

While residents enjoy the delights of this desirable community year-round, they also reap the benefits of the robust economy the tourist season creates. 

Shows like “The OC” and “The Real Housewives of Orange County” may be partly responsible for the booming tourism and appeal of Newport Beach homes, but the area is attractive even to those who don’t follow television trends. If you’re interested in learning more about the area’s cinematic history or relocating to Orange County, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted Newport Beach real estate agent Annie Clougherty for expert guidance and advice. 



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