Which city was described as a pit? Where did Agent Mulder's family spend their summers?

Image source: radiotvnut/videokarma.org.
Up until the last few years, television has had very little use for Rhode Island. Now, every other show seems to be set in the Ocean State. Is it because of the Providence Renaissance? The natural beauty of our coastline? Our lovable accents? Below we've tried our best to list every television show with a Rhode Island connection, however tenuous. If you know of one we've missed, drop us a line at stuffie@quahog.org.

For further information on television production in Rhode Island, see the Rhode Island Film and Television Office website.

Warning: Here there be spoilers!

A Bear for Punishment (1951) cartoon

Rhode Island is often the punch line of jokes, perhaps for no better reason than its own improbable existence, as in this Warner Brothers cartoon starring the Three Bears:

Junyer Bear: I will fill your favorite pipe for you, dear old dad, Pa. G-U-N-P-O-W-D-E-R, duh, "tobacco." I am a good speller, I am. C-A-T, "dog." B-A-T, "Rhode Island."

Cartoons in this era were originally produced as short subjects to be viewed at movie theaters, but heck, we grew up with them on television, so we include them here on the television page.

Rhode Island reference at 3:57:

Adventures of Superman (1953-1957) adventure series

Contrary to popular belief, the Industrial Trust Tower (1927) in Providence was not the model for the Daily Planet. The newspaper's exterior in the series is actually Los Angeles City Hall, completed in 1928. Although the structures share a similar style, they were designed by separate teams of architects.

The Munsters (CBS, 1964-1966) situation comedy

Another joke at Rhode Island's expense comes from this show's first season in an episode entitled "A Walk on the Mild Side":

Grandpa (Al Lewis): Why, with this machine, I could make Rhode Island the size of Texas. We'll make millions, and I'll make them bigger! I could even make the world's biggest Mickey Rooney!"

Dark Shadows (ABC, 1966-1971) soap opera

Newport's Carey Mansion (now part of Salve Regina University) provided some of the eerie exterior atmosphere for Collinsport, Maine's, Collinwood Mansion in this cult-classic gothic soap opera. Another Newport location was the Black Pearl Restaurant on Bannister's Wharf, which in the series was called the Blue Whale.

The connection between these real-life and fictional places was highlighted in a 1999 documentary called Dark Shadows on Location.

George of the Jungle (ABC, 1967-1968) cartoon series

George of the Jungle was brought to us by the same twisted minds that created Rocky and Bullwinkle, and like that Cold-War classic, it included segments starring supporting players. One of these was Super Chicken, which chronicled the adventures of the titular character and his sidekick, a lion named Fred. In the premiere episode, "One of Our States is Missing," an evil villain tows Rhode Island out to sea. The episode is riddled with Rhode Island jabs and jibes, beginning with a scene in which an airliner comes in for a landing in Providence:

Pilot: Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts, we are about to land at Providence, Rhode Island.

Co-pilot: Chauncy, are you sure that's Providence?

Pilot: What's it look like?

Co-pilot: Looks to me like there's nothing there.

Pilot: That's Providence all right. Set 'er down, Edgar

Wacky Races (CBS, 1968-1970) cartoon series

Based on the 1965 film The Great Race, this cartoon series follows eleven sets of odd characters as they vie to win races with their equally bizarre vehicles. The villain of the piece is Dick Dastardly who, along with his sometimes faithful dog Muttley, takes every opportunity to cheat. Many of the episode titles are a play on words of place names, and it was the title "Rhode Island Road Race" (first aired on November 9, 1968), that brought the show to our attention.

The episode itself has dang little to do with Rhode Island (beyond an early reference from the narrator that the racers are on their way to Rocky Road, Rhode Island), and the title was clearly chosen merely in order to use a pair of homophones. Still, the endlessly repeating background scenery is vaguely reminiscent of New England, with stone walls, split-rail fences, farm houses, fields, steepled churches, and covered bridges rolling by. About half-way through the episode the racers roar into Big Town, population 50,000. There, Dastardly directs one racer into a subway, then detours everyone else onto the girders of a partially built skyscraper.

It's ultimately pointless to try to discuss the correlations between a cartoon and the real world (after all, this is a medium where an anvil dropped on someone's head merely raises a very tall bump), but we can at least agree that the writers of this episode were completely unfamiliar with Little Rhody.

All My Children (ABC, 1970-2011) soap opera

Rhode Island Monthly dutifully reported in its June 1992 issue that "the characters [of] Dr. Chuck Tyler and his wife, Donna, are leaving the fictional town of Pine Valley for... Rhode Island, where Dr. Tyler is assuming the post of chief of medicine at none other than Rhode Island Hospital." When contacted by the magazine, the actual chief of medicine at the hospital, Dr. Albert Most, seemed to take the news of his replacement in stride. "It might be a job exchange," he mused. "I've always had my eyes on a career in the soaps. The trade might satisfy both of us."

The Odd Couple (ABC, 1970-1975) situation comedy

Site visitor Bob alerted us to the existence of an episode with a Rhode Island reference; eferruci came up with the episode title, "The Odd Candidate"; and Len filled us in on the specifics:

Felix has persuaded Oscar to run for city council and, as part of the campaign, has arranged for Oscar to appear on a Saturday morning TV show on which old horror movies are shown. The host of the show is a Dracula knock-off played by Guy Marks who spends most of his time between commercials in a coffin. After one commercial break during a movie called, "The Monster That Ate Rhode Island," he sits up enthusing about the picture. And then he says, "Didn't you just love the part where he spits out Providence?"

Thanks, guys!

All in the Family (CBS, 1971-1979) comedy series

In an episode from 1976, "The Draft Dodger," Archie asks a friend of Mike and Gloria's where he's from:

Gloria: He's from up north, north of Niagara Falls.
Archie: Oh! Over by Rhode Island way?

A friend of ours who pointed this episode out to us noted, "Very authentic use of Rhode Island in a geography conversation, I thought."

America: A Personal History of the United States (BBC and NBC, 1972-1973) documentary series

Here's an odd one—who knew that a documentary series about the history of the United State could survive more than a few episodes on network television? This one apparently did, and even managed a complete run of 13 episodes, "ending with the social upheavals and counter-culture revolutions of the 1960s and 70s," according to the IMDb. Rhode Island made an appearance in one of the episodes—probably having to do with the Jazz Age—with scenes shot at the Breakers in Newport.

Narrated and co-written by Alistair Cooke, this series still occasionally shows up on PBS.

Bridget Loves Bernie (CBS, 1972-1973) situation comedy

"Greener Pastures," the final episode of this controversial (at the time) show had Bernie Steinberg (David Birney) considering relocating from New York City for a job in Rhode Island.

It would be interesting to know why the writers chose Rhode Island as the Steinbergs' possible new home. The controversial reputation of the show stemmed from the inter-religious, inter-class marriage of the main characters, working class Jew Bernie and rich Catholic Bridget (Meredith Baxter Birney). Rhode Island historically has been a haven for persons with minority beliefs. Connection? Random pick? Or was Rhode Island chosen for the usual reason, because of its utility as a punch line?

Saturday Night Live (NBC, 1975—) live variety show

From the March 22, 1997 show:

Linda Richman (Mike Meyers): Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic: Rhode Island, neither a road nor an island. Discuss.

From the November 13, 2010 show:

Seth Meyers: Voters in Rhode Island rejected a proposition last week to change the state's official name from The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to just Rhode Island, but I think people are just going to keep calling it "Connecticut's foreskin."

From the January 17, 2015 show:

Colin Jost: A new survey shows that the state with the most marijuana use is Rhode Island. Which explains Rhode Island's official state motto, "But if it's an island, where does the road go?"

The Victory Garden (PBS, 1975—) gardening series

We know of at least three episodes that have featured segments shot in Rhode Island&$8212;S27E9 which premiered on June 29, 2002, S27E11 from July 13, 2002, and S27E18 from September 7, 2002.

S27E09 includes a visit to Blithewold Mansion's "inspired gardens" in Bristol. Julie Morris, director of horticulture, shows off the rose garden, the bamboo grove, the display garden, and the rock garden.

In S27E11, the grounds manager at Green Animals in Portsmouth explains how you can make your own topiary&$8212;providing you have the patience to wait fifteen years or so. It's revealed in this episode that the big teddy bear that serves as a popular photo op started out as a kangaroo. Apparently a visitor commented one day that it looked more like a bear, which prompted then-head gardener George Mendonca to walk over and cut off its tail. It's been a teddy bear ever since.

Recent renovations at the Elms are the subject of S27E18. Director of Property Curt Jenga shows off the revitalized gardens.

The Adams Chronicles (PBS, 1976) miniseries

A large part of the complicated logistics involved in shooting this thirteen-part series included taping in various locations around Rhode Island. Newport's Marble House stood in for the court of Louis XVI at Versailles, for instance, and other Newport mansions were used for scenes that took place in England, France, Holland, and Saint Petersburg. Providence streets passed for Boston streets, and a farmhouse in Foster represented one in Braintree, Massachusetts. Providence's John Brown House also got some screen time, and according to Kim Klyberg (whose father, Al, was director of the Rhode Island Historical Society at the time), "My Dad... was a nervous wreck that some hot light would come crashing down and torch the place!"

Evening Magazine aka P.M. Magazine (1976-1991) syndicated infotainment series

Evening Magazine is the granddaddy of infotainment, predating everything from Entertainment Tonight to the E! Channel. The pilot for the series, initially called Evening: The MTWTF Show, was shot on 16mm film for local Channel 10. The concept was picked up by Group W Productions, which ran the show on its own stations under the name Evening Magazine. It was also syndicated nationally as P.M. Magazine.

One of the unique features of Evening/P.M. Magazine was that, unlike other syndicated shows, it included local content. All stations that aired it were required to produce segments for a national pool of stories, and each station had its own local hosts. This enabled small local stations to air a well-produced show with local flavor at minimal cost. Matt Lauer, currently co-anchor of NBC's Today show, had one of his first on-air gigs as host of Evening Magazine. Rick Smith, former director of the Film and Television Office of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, was the host of P.M. Magazine on channel 10 from 1986 to 1990.

Rick Smith fills us in on a little more detail:

Group W, also known as Westinghouse, developed Evening Magazine out of San Francisco, where it had three co-hosts for a while. The distinguishing features of the show were radical for its time. It was not shot on a set, but in "the field," unheard of at the time; and secondly, the hosts were roving reporters, not at a desk, but bringing the local community into the living rooms like never before. Also breaking with reporter tradition, instead of staying neutral and uninvolved as passive eyewitnesses, these hosts got involved in whatever was going on. In this way, they became the viewers' surrogates, by which the viewer could experience the event through the emotions of the hosts. All this was made possible because the magazine format, invented by this show and today dominating the industry, exploited a brand new technology: ENG, or electronic news gathering, that is, tape and portable cameras. Today we all take it for granted, but [when] the movable small camera replaced the huge studio cameras that weighed several hundred pounds, this meant a crew could go on a boat, a roller coaster, inside a cave, wherever the show wanted to take the viewer. It was in fact a revolution.

The other key feature of the format was the "local tie-in" requirement. Unlike most shows that had national hosts who remained unknown and distant, PM continued its focus on being local and intimate by having local hosts and local stories, but with a national support system. This meant that every week, several national stories were fed by satellite to the local stations. Again new technology made this possible. But these stories were presented or "wrapped around" by commentary from the local hosts. All of it had to tie in to the locations picked by the hosts who could then go into the community and mingle with people.

For instance, a Providence host might go to Roger Williams Park Zoo and stand in front of the seal enclosure to introduce a San Francisco-produced segment on the seals of San Francisco Bay. At the close of the segment, the host might then interview one of the Zoo's employees, or visiting children, about seals.

Some would say that the birth of the Evening Magazine format was the death knell for real journalism on television; that network news divisions that were once considered sacrosanct bastions of integrity, untouched by the lure of filthy lucre, must now dance for their dollar just like everyone else. The point is debatable.

On Location: Myron Cohen (HMO, 1978)

Myron Cohen was a popular nightclub comedian in the 1950s and '60s. IMDB says this show, which we assume documents his stage act, was filmed in Warwick. Our first thought was that it might have been filmed at the Warwick Musical Theater, but a check of bonoff.net shows no listing for Cohen in 1977 or '78. Anna Rowe posted in her blog that the venue was a "dingy nightclub." Anyone out there know the name of this place? Drop us a line at stuffie@quahog.org.

Wake of '38 (PBS, 1978) documentary

This documentary, prepared for local WSBE-TV, tells the story of the hurricane that struck southern New England in September 1938 through great old newsreel and home movie footage, and contemporary interviews with eyewitnesses and survivors.

The Scarlet Letter (1979) mini-series

Most of the filming of this mini-series, produced by WGBH, was done on location at Fort Adams in Newport. Sets transformed the fort, the largest coastal defense of its type ever built in the United States, into a part of 1640s Boston.

For many years, two outbuildings that were used in the production could be seen at the Chaves Horticultural Center, 906 Aquidneck Avenue in Middletown, where they were apparently used for storage. There used to be a windmill too, but it likely fell apart from neglect. Around January 2004, the foundations of the outbuildings were found to be rotted and insect-infested, so they were torn down. They were originally built by students at Rogers High School in Newport.

This Old House (PBS, 1979—) home renovation series

The 2012 season focused on the renovation of the home of Geoffrey Allen and Michelle Forcier, a modified 1925 Cape situated on Barrington Beach in Barrington. The ten episodes ran from January 28 to March 29, 2012. Other location filming took place in Bristol; Matunuck, South Kingstown; Newport; Providence; Smithfield; and Warren. One side trip featured The Elms.

Cheers (1982-1993) comedy series

The character of Carla Victoria Angelina Teresa Apollonia Lozupone Tortelli LeBec grew up on Federal Hill in Providence. Rhode Island native Nicholas Colasanto starred as Ernie "Coach" Pantusso during the first three seasons of the show.

The Dean of Thin Air (PBS, 1983) docudrama

This hour-long production from WSBE-TV tells the story of the life and work of philosopher George Berkeley. Berkeley, who lived in Newport (now Middletown), Rhode Island, from January 1729 to September 1731, developed the theory that the physical world exists only in our perception of it. During his brief stay in Rhode Island, he bought a farm, built a house (Whitehall, which is still standing), and wrote the bulk of Alciphron, a defense of Christianity against free-thinking.

According to Dean writer and associate producer Frank Muhly, "The Dean is set in the early part of the eighteenth century and scenes take place in Ireland, England, and the colonies. We used the following Rhode Island locations for the piece: Smith's Castle in North Kingstown for scenes in England and Ireland; Casey Farm in Saunderstown for Ireland; The Elms in Newport for London; Whitehall, Berkeley's house in Middletown, as itself."

The Cosby Show (NBC, 1984-1992) situation comedy

Season six began with Huxtable daughter Denise (Lisa Bonet) showing up on her parents' doorstep with a new husband, Lieutenant Martin Kendall (Joseph C. Phillips), and his four-year daughter Olivia (Raven-Symone). S6E4 found the couple traveling to the naval base in Newport to check out military housing. But removing the Kendalls from the confines of the Huxtable home so quickly didn't suit the producers' comedic agenda, and so of course, no one ended up moving to Rhode Island after all.

Unsolved Mysteries (NBC/CBS/Lifetime, 1987-2002) crime series

The brutal February 19, 1982, steel pipe beating of Doreen C. Picard and Susan M. Laferte in the basement of Laferte's apartment building at 409 Providence Street in Woonsocket is detailed in an episode first aired May 18, 1988. Re-enactments for the episode were filmed in Woonsocket in October 1987. Picard died of her wounds and Laferte was in a coma for a month, her injuries so severe that even today she has no memory of the attack. On June 5, 1991, Raymond D. Tempest, Jr., was arrested for the assaults, and a month-long trial resulted in a guilty verdict on April 22, 1992. Throughout the investigation and trial, allegations of misconduct were rife. Raymond's brother, Gordon Tempest, was a Woonsocket police lieutenant and it was alleged he tampered with evidence and lied to a grand jury to protect his brother. Other conspiracy theories claimed that Raymond Tempest was framed to protect the real killer, the son of a wealthy local family. Innocent or not, Tempest is currently serving an eighty-five year sentence behind bars.

Shortly after Adam Emery was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 1990 stabbing death of Jason Bass, a car belonging to Adam and his wife Elena was found parked at the top of the Claiborne Pell Bridge. A 1994 episode of Unsolved Mysteries used Iggy's Doughboys in Warwick as one of its locations. However, theories that the couple had faked their deaths were laid to rest with the discovery, in Narragansett Bay, of Elena's skull on August 30, 1994.

America's Most Wanted (Fox, 1988-2011)

This venerable cops 'n' robbers show has focused on Rhode Island at least four times. The first that we're aware of was a 1997 show on the apprehension of alleged killer Anthony Fitzroy Patterson. Patterson was mistakenly identified by a Most Wanted viewer as another alleged murderer, Dudley Forbes. When police attempted to question him, he fled in a car, injuring twelve people in a frantic ride through downtown Providence. AMW film crews recreated the chase on location a short time later, for an episode that aired on November 22, 1997. As the Providence Phoenix's Philippe and Jorge noted, "…some might find it odd that, after scaring hordes of downtown regulars out of their gourds, the whole fiasco was recreated again for television. But hey, if we want to be in the big leagues, this is the kind of stuff we gotta do."

The next intersection of the worlds of AMW and Rhode Island came when two fugitives, Tracey Lee Poirer and Pamela Kay Trimble, were arrested in Cranston and Providence on September 28, 1998. Convicted murderer Poirer had escaped from Oregon Women's Correctional Center, in Salem, Oregon, with the assistance of Trimble, a former guard at that facility. After the August 28, 1998, escape was featured on AMW, a tip led the FBI to Rhode Island. Poirer was apprehended by Providence detectives at Crugnale Bakery and Pizza in Cranston, where she had been hired (through an employment agency) as a temporary employee, and Trimble was picked up at a sausage shop called Baun Sou Nam, located on Sutton Street in Providence. A followup story on the capture was told on the October 10, 1998 show.

In early May 2005 AMW spent three days in Newport collecting footage for a segment on convicted rapist and fugitive Ronald Fischer. A Newport Superior Court jury convicted Fischer, a former East Greenwich anesthesiologist, in absentia on April 28, 2005, on two counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree sexual assault, for the rape of a Westerly woman aboard his yacht, The Lion King, at Portsmouth's Hinckley Marina in April 2003. Possibly sensing which way his trial was heading, Fischer fled Rhode Island just days prior to the verdict. The segment aired on May 14, 2005, but despite an estimated audience of ten million viewers, there have been few leads, and Fischer is still at large as of March 2011.

A brief segment aired on August 6, 2006, trolling for information on the whereabouts of two men wanted for the murder of 24-year-old Pawtucket resident Jessica C. Imran, and the attempted murder of her friend, 28-year-old Julie Lange, in Imran's Lawn Avenue apartment July 27th. Suspects Barry Offley, 19, of Woonsocket, and Alonzo P. Shelton, 28, of Central Falls, were subsequently captured in a housing project in Ocala, Florida, September 7, 2006.

The August 26, 2006, show profiled alleged child-molester James W. Bell. He's accused of inappropriate actions with three girls, aged nine to thirteen, while employed at the Newport County YMCA in Middletown between 2000 and 2003. He was arrested in Washington in August 2003, brought back to Rhode Island, and then released on bail in October. A new order for his arrest was issued when he failed to appear at a pretrial conference in Newport Superior Court on July 15, 2004. It's thought he may be hiding out somewhere on the West Coast.

Jonathan Quaweay's alleged crimes were profiled on the June 13, 2009, broadcast. Quaweay disappeared after allegedly shooting three people at the Sportsman's Inn and Gentleman's Club in Providence on March 24. After the story aired a viewer tip led U.S. Marshals to the Atlanta, Georgia, apartment where Quaweay was hiding out. Arrested, he was taken to the Fulton County Jail to await extradition back to Rhode Island.

USA 200 (1988) documentary

Filmed for French television.

Ciao Italia (PBS, 1989—) cooking series

For the show's 2001 season, host Mary Ann Esposito traveled to Italian-American and Italian-Canadian cities in search of food good enough to come home for, landing in Providence for show #1003. There, Mary Ann rode in a Venetian gondola with then-Mayor Buddy Cianci, then helped out while Cianci prepared his Aunt Anna's eggplant parmesan casserole for the television viewing audience.

View Buddy's segment:

Ciao Italia Executive Producer Paul Lally recalls that "Buddy was gracious, bombastic, and fun to be with. Just before we filmed in his kitchen he phoned his great-Aunt Anna to make sure he got the recipe right. [Then] he and Mary Ann cooked up plenty of eggplant. A memorable occasion to say the least."

Time moves on, and so do mayors, so 2008 brought us an episode filmed in the kitchen of Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline. The theme was "Entertaining with the Mayor," and Esposito helped hizzoner make enough antipasti to serve a handful of guests. Italian-style cold meat products were supplied by Daniele, Inc., and other ingredients were provided by Eastside Marketplace.

Ciao Italia, in its twentieth year in 2010, is the longest-running cooking series in America. The series has been filmed at the studios of Rhode Island PBS since 2001, when Esposito was invited down from New Hampshire by Rhode Island legislators who saw a chance to spotlight Providence's Italian heritage. Most of each season's twenty-six episodes are shot in one marathon two-week session. For the first eighteen seasons the show's set was a duplicate of Esposito's own kitchen back in New Hampshire, but in 2008 she got a brand new, bigger kitchen set. All of the design, materials, and labor to build the set were donated by Rhode Island companies—HSI Construction, Kenneth Castellucci and Associates, Douglas Lumber and Home Center, and Ann Huntoon Design.

Cops (Fox, 1989—) reality series

Film crews spent about eight weeks riding with Providence police officers in the summer of 1995. The visit yielded footage for three episodes that aired on November 9, 16, and 23, 1996. The middle episode focused exclusively on Providence, while the other two were divided between Providence, Boston, and Lynn, Massachusetts.

Some highlights: a nighttime domestic violence call brings us to an Elmwood neighborhood back yard where a guy is threatening to stab himself. He's apparently been mixing valium, Tylenol, alcohol, and mental illness to fine effect. Learning that the responding officer's name is Sergeant Campbell, he yells, "Do you make soup? Whyn't you go back 'n' make soup!?"

Another call elsewhere in Providence is about "sounds in the attic." The responding officer is greeted at the door by a little old lady, but our first glimpse of her tips us off that she ain't no ordinary ol' biddy. Her lipstick is applied far too generously and the hint of a very thick, very dark unibrow (or maybe a really big melanoma), lurks behind her bangs and Coke-bottle glasses. Her voice is like a rock crusher in low gear. The upstairs room proves to be empty, but the lady assures the officer she heard something, and that "they're planning to capture me." The clincher is the half-leering, half goggle-eyed look she gives the camera as the officer turns to leave at the end of the segment. Must be seen to be believed.

The SGQ (Shirtless Guy Quotient) for this episode is 2.

Doctor Doctor (1989-1991) comedy series

Matt Frewer starred as one of four young doctors who set up their own group practice, Northeast Medical Partners, on Providence's East Side. The show's opening sequence was shot on Benefit Street. According to Rhode Island Monthly, their magazine got some face time in a few episodes.

Life Goes On (ABC, 1989-1993) drama series

We're told that in S4E15, "Bedfellows," the character of Becca (Kellie Martin) expresses a desire to attend Brown University. Or maybe she decides she doesn't want to attend Brown University. Could both be true? We're sure there is a rabid Life Goes On fan out there who can set us straight.

The Simpsons (Fox, 1989—) animated comedy series

In "My Mother the Carjacker," which first aired on November 9, 2003, an encrypted message in the newspaper reveals that Homer's mother, Mona, did not die in a fiery bus crash as everyone believes: "Homer. Your mother loves you. I escaped from the bus the moment before it plunged off the cliff. I then hitched a ride from a nice young couple. We had lunch at a lovely diner. They had clam chowder, Rhode Island style. I never knew there was such a thing! And the crackers kept on coming..."

In the episode entitled "Moe'N'a Lisa," which first aired on November 19, 2006, Homer is greeted by a passel of law enforcement vehicles after having driven drunk all the way from Springfield to the Word Loaf Literary Conference in Vermont. "Wow," exclaims Homer, "troopers from every state in New England!" A tiny trooper on a Big Wheel responds, "Including Rhode Island. We're a small state but we give big tickets!"

Bob Vila's Home Again aka Bob Vila (1990-2007) syndicated home improvement series

The second half of the eleventh season (2000) of this popular home improvement show was given over entirely to profiles of eleven properties being renovated in Providence's Elmwood neighborhood. The first episode includes a short history of Elmwood Avenue. One of the featured houses was the 1896 Colonial Revival/Victorian at 203 Lexington Avenue, owned by Mark and Christina Macheska.

Favorite Haunts: A Journey Thro' H.P. Lovecraft's Providence (1990) documentary

This thirty-minute film would seem to be based upon the book Lovecraft's Providence and Adjacent Places (1979) by Henry L.P. Beckwith, and in fact, Beckwith is listed as one of the narrators.

Not having seen this video we can only speculate about which sites are featured, but it's a good bet that they're all included in The H.P. Lovecraft Archive's Guide to Lovecraftian Sites in Rhode Island.

The Kennedys of Massachusetts (1990) mini-series

This five-hour miniseries, based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's best-selling book The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, includes an opulent party scene filmed inside the Breakers.

Memory and Imagination: New Pathways to the Library of Congress (1990) documentary

Pundits of every stripe waxed enthusiastic in this documentary about the Library of Congress. One of the talking heads was Vartan Gregorian, the sixteenth president (1989-1997) of Brown University, who presumably held forth from what would then have been his office on the East Side of Providence.

New Kids on the Block: No More Games Live! (Pay-per-view, 1990) concert

Filmed live at the Providence Civic Center on December 7, 1990.

Seinfeld (NBC, 1990-1998) situation comedy

Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) manages to get a date with Miss Rhode Island, Karen Ann Hanson (Marguerite MacIntyre), in episode 6.01, "The Chaperone." Problem is, Miss America contest rules dictate that contestants must have a chaperone present at all times.

Jerry: Hey, what are you doin' tonight?

Kramer (Michael Richards): Nothin'.

J: I'm going out with one of the Miss America contestants, you wanna go?

K: Which state?

J: Rhode Island.

K: They're never in contention.

George (Jason Alexander): How do you know?

K: Because I've seen every Miss America pageant since I was six.

J: You wanna go or not? I'll buy you dinner.

K: Giddyup!

But Kramer takes his job seriously, and prevents Jerry from trying any hanky panky. What's more, he begins giving Karen pointers, and she soon engages him as her personal consultant. It just so happens that Jerry has a gig in Atlantic City at the same time as the pageant, so he and Karen are staying in the same hotel, and, well, Jerry accidentally does something that dooms Karen to follow in the footsteps of every other Miss Rhode Island who has ever lost the Miss America Pageant.

This episode, which aired September 22, 1994, also included this line, from when Jerry first calls Karen to set up a date: "You know you better be careful, you don't want to get too congenial. They'll slap that Miss Congeniality on you; you'll congeni yourself right out of the pageant." Miss Congeniality happens to be the name of a 2000 movie in which Miss Rhode Island, played by Heather Burns, actually wins the Miss United States pageant.

Blossom (NBC, 1991-1995) comedy drama

Blossom (Mayim Bialik)'s brother Anthony (Michael Stoyanov) moves with his family to Rhode Island in S5E18, "The Departure."

Investigative Reports (A&E, 1991-2004) documentary series

Rhode Island is the focus of voyeuristic creepiness in a 2001 episode of the Investigative Reports subseries, Parole Board. Meet the perps and the folks who are hoping (or fearing) that they'll be paroled. Place your bets and hear the board's decision and reasons.

Be sure to stay for the end when the guy in the orange jumpsuit says a very Rhode Island "...that would be totally retahded." Say, doesn't he look just like your new neighbor?

Nurses (NBC, 1991-1994) comedy series

The hackles of Pawtucket residents were raised when one of the show's characters, Jack Trenton (David Rasche), declared the city a "pit."

Casey MacAfee (Loni Anderson): You went to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, for me?

Jack Trenton: And there won't be a second time. That place is a pit.

The Mayor of Pawtucket at the time, Robert E. Metivier, took umbrage at the remark, and used the incident to wrangle a cameo and an on-air apology, which ran during the closing credits of the April 23, 1994 show.

Loni Anderson: I'm so glad you enjoyed the show.

Mayor Metivier: Thank you.

Anderson: And I hope you and your wife, Carol, had a nice visit.

Metivier: We certainly did.

Anderson: Well, here's the guy you're looking for.

David Rasche: Sorry pal, no more autographs.

Metivier: I don't want your autograph. I'm the mayor of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and on December the 18th, 1993, you called my great city a pit.

Rasche: No, no, no, no. You see, I didn't call your city a pit. The character that I play called your city a pit.

Metivier: Well, Pawtucket's a fine city with good people and we deserve an apology.

Rasche: Well, I'm sorry. I really am. I'm truly, truly, truly [turns to camera], truly, truly, really truly sorry. I am.

Metivier: Is that from you or from your character?

Rasche: I don't know. [long pause] We'd better ask the writers.

Better Days (pilot, 1992) situation comedy

This was a pilot for CBS that never got picked up. Set in Providence, it was about "Eddy Procacini [Peter Dodson], a street-smart hustler who suddenly becomes father to his sister's orphaned 12- and 13-year-old children." Show creator Dan Reo (also the creator of Blossom) grew up in Cranston and based the main character on a Cranston East High School classmate. The principal set was the Miss Providence Diner, an eatery owned by Eddy's father, from which Eddy ran a number of shaky business deals from a bank of pay phones. In a Providence Journal article about the show, Reo admitted the accents wouldn't be authentic because he didn't think a New Jersey actor could imitate a Rhode Island accent. He also mentioned that he had called George's of Galilee to find out how much they charged for clam cakes, because the diner was going to have clam cakes on its menu. "They said, 'We don't give out that information on the phone.' I said, 'What? It's a state secret? How much are your clam cakes?!'"

Actual production took place on a California soundstage, but a second-unit crew came to Cranston in March 1992 for some exterior shots. For Eddy's house they filmed the front of 19 Briarcliffe Road, a house belonging to Cranston Fire Department Captain Bruce Shaw. The Miss Providence was based on the Miss Cranston on Oaklawn Avenue, but the set built to represent the diner didn't match the exterior of the real restaurant, so a historical photo of a defunct Woonsocket diner (possibly O'Connor's) was used for the exterior establishing shot. A diner modeled on Haven Brothers was originally considered, but it was just too small to be a workable sitcom set.

The Trials of Claus von Bulow (1992) documentary

The title is pretty self-descriptive of the contents. Not much known about it in terms of if, when, or where it aired, although indications are it was made for British television. A review by C. Wys on www.amazon.com says that it "...features quite a good portion of actual trial footage from the Rhode Island courtrooms... You can see the jury as they are addressed by the prosecution and defense, and you can hear and see the verdict read in real time. Interviews with [attorney Alan] Dershowitz and Mr. von Bulow, as well as footage of Sunny's children and home, and news footage from the 1980s are all included."

Here's a clip:

The Phantom Gourmet (NECN, 1993-2003; WSBK-TV, 2003—) restaurant review series

No way could we keep track of all the Rhode Island segments of this long-running New England restaurant review show (130 in Providence alone, as of April 2014), so just be aware they exist. If you feel like delving into the abyss yourself, search 'em out on the Phantom Gourmet website.

The X-Files (Fox, 1993-2002) sci-fi drama series

Special Agent Fox Mulder's family owns a cottage in Quonochontaug. This spells trouble for Assistant Director Walter Skinner when he can't pronounce it:

Skinner: Agent Mulder, we've just received a call here that might cause you some alarm.

Mulder: What is it?

Skinner: Your mother has been admitted in a hospital in serious condition, in a small coastal town in Rhode Island called...Quono...

Mulder: Quonochontaug? I'm on my way.

Episode Talitha Cumi, broadcast May 17, 1996

America's Castles (A&E, 1994-1998) documentary series

A look at some of America's most over-the-top examples of Gilded Age conspicuous consumption. Some of the local examples of excess include Belcourt Castle, The Breakers, , and Marble House.

Eco-Challenge (MTV, ESPN, Discovery, 1995-2002) sports series

Eco-Challenge was an adventure race that (according to Wikipedia) had "a mandatory mix of both men and women, racing non-stop, twenty-four hours a day, over a rugged 300-mile (500km) course, participating in such disciplines as trekking, whitewater canoeing, horseback riding, sea kayaking, scuba diving, mountaineering, camelback riding, and mountain biking." The second such of these races took place between Jackman, Maine, and Newport, Rhode Island, in late June 1995, concurrent with the Extreme Games.

Extreme Games aka X Games (ESPN, 1995—) sports event

The very first Extreme Games came to Rhode Island from June 24 to July 1, 1995, for some street luge action on College Hill in Providence and skysurfing at Fort Adams in Newport. Middletown was another featured location, and other events included bungee jumping, kite skiing, windsurfing, bicycle stunt riding, mountain biking, skateboarding, and the Eco-Challenge (a sort of extreme multi-athalon). Rhode Island also hosted the renamed X Games the following summer, with wakeboarding replacing kite skiing, windsurfing, and mountain biking. There was Bungee Jumping on the patio at Union Station Brewery in Providence; In-Line Skating, Skateboarding, and Sport Climbing at Newport's Smokehouse Cafe; and on Second Beach in Middletown there was Skysurfing, with a Jumbotron screen affording spectators a close-up view.

On June 26, 2004, the X-Games returned to Rhode Island for a one-night-only exhibition of Skateboarding, Stunt Bike Riding, In-like Skating, and Motorbiking at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations (PBS, 1995—) travel series

This show tracks down and features creative whackjobs from all over the country (and when we use the term "whackjobs," please believe that we do so with love). Bill LaCivita of Cumberland is one such whackjob. His thing is sculpting busts out of seashells, marbles, and other random shiny things held together with concrete and wire.

The episode featuring Bill describes him as an "outsider artist," but as he told us in a March 2008 email, "I am not comfortable with the term outsider artist. Quite frankly I do not think of myself as an artist at all, but as someone who makes heads, etc." He's been making heads in his basement since 1997 and hopes to complete 1,000 of them before he dies.

Unlike the yards of some outsider artists, so cluttered with whimsical gewgaws that they could be mistaken for junkyards and cause less artistically-inclined neighbors to file injunctions, Bill's Bryant Street property looks completely ordinary on the outside. He did make some early attempts at exterior decorating but, worried that someone might make off with one of his heads, he decided to keep his works behind closed doors. For now the best place to see Bill's creations is on a DVD that collects six episodes of Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations under the title Next Stop New England.

Star Trek: Voyager (UPN, 1995-2001) sci-fi series

In the two-hour series finale, entitled "Endgame," it is revealed that in an alternate future, Ensign Harry Kim will be Captain Harry Kim. His starship? The USS Rhode Island (NCC-72701 for you geeks out there). The episode first aired in the United States on May 23, 2001.

The Buccaneers (BBC-WGBH, 1996) miniseries

This was the first BBC mini-series to be shot on American soil. Based on an unfinished novel by Newport resident Edith Wharton, the story follows five rich New York girls who travel to England in search of titled husbands. Action that took place in Saratoga Springs, New York, in the novel, was switched to Newport for the film. Shooting took place in Newport over two weeks in May 1994.

Locations that are featured prominently in the production include Chateau-sur-Mer (sitting room and dining room), Marble House (ballroom), The Elms (conservatory), and The Ledges, a white Victorian at 66 Ocean Drive owned by resident Fred Cushing. When the heroines descend the staircase to be introduced to society, that's Marble House. The scenes under the copper beech tree are at Chateau-sur-Mer. The scenes at the beginning and end of the program, with the girls on the lawn, are at Fred Cushing's. Bellevue Avenue, covered with a layer of gravel and dirt for exterior scenes with horse-drawn carriages, stood in for 1873 New York and Saratoga.

Shot on a huge ten million dollar budget, the series was watched by approximately sixteen million potential British tourists when it first aired.

A Wedding Story (TLC, 1996—) reality series

The September 20, 2004, episode featured the wedding of Neile and Fred at Blithewold in Bristol. Other Bristol locations to look out for include the Bristol Harbor Inn, 259 Thames Street; Hair, Heart and Soul at 55 State Street; The Topside Lounge, 805 Hope Street; The Basically British Tearoom, 18 State Street; and Colt State Park. Also, T.F. Green Airport's Bruce Sundlun Terminal in Warwick.

Antiques Roadshow (WGBH, 1997—) antiques appraisal show

On August 21, 1999, WGBH's beloved Antiques Roadshow chose the Rhode Island Convention Center in downtown Providence as a stop on its nationwide tour. The two one-hour shows that resulted premiered on February 21 and 28, 2000, and featured visits to the Nightingale-Brown House on College Hill and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, respectively. The biggest find of the day turned out to belong to a woman from Chepachet, whose jeweled jade-and-gold box, made at the Edward Farmer Studio in New York, was valued at $80,000 to $120,000.

AR returned to the Rhode Island Convention Center on June 18, 2005. Rhode Island was chosen as one of only five stops for AR's tenth season, and the only stop in the Northeast. Local profiles featured Rose Island Lighthouse, the Culinary Archives and Museum, and the Providence Jewelry Museum. The collected footage aired in three parts on Boston's Channel 2 on May 8, 15, and 22, 2006.

Acura commercial (Fall 1998)

Filmed in front of Brown University's John Hay Library, complete with a slicked-down street and fog machine.

City Confidential (A&E, 1998-2006) true crime series

City Confidential strives to emulate the content and tone of scandal sheets from the 1940s and '50s for a modern audience and largely succeeds. We're aware of three episodes of this lurid true crime series that are set in Rhode Island.

The first, titled "Newport: Chaos in the Castle," aired November 24, 2003, and concerns the brouhaha over adopted son Kevin Tinney's bid for his "due share" of the Belcourt Castle estate. The episode includes lots of shots of mansions, the harbor, Fort Adams, the Casino, the New York Yacht Club, Thames Street, the White Horse Tavern, Bowen's Wharf, Cliff Walk, etcetera. At one point narrator Paul Winfield misidentifies the Newport Bridge as the Narragansett Bay Bridge. Among the talking heads enlisted to help pad out the hour are Trudy Coxe, chief executive officer and executive director of the Preservation Society of Newport County; Anita Rafael, curator of the White Horse Tavern and founder of the Newport on Foot tour company; Harle Tinney; Kevin Tinney; lawyers for both sides; and Superior Court Judge Frank Williams.

Fans of garish analogies will find a few good ones here: "Like an aging trophy wife visiting her plastic surgeon, the Preservation Society tries to stop time right down to the smallest detail"; "Like a trust fund baby partying through her inheritance, the money ran out"; "Like a debutante with a drinking problem, there's plenty of dirt lurking behind the pristine facades that line Bellevue Avenue."

The second episode originally aired November 20, 2004. "Providence, RI: The Mayor and the Mob" covered the career of Vincent "Buddy" Cianci and his downfall in Operation Plunder Dome. The production company visited Providence in mid-June, collecting lots of local color, including the Providence Place Mall, Federal Hill restaurants, WaterFire, Buddy's former home at 33 Power Street, and City Hall. The show also made use of local television footage of various high (and low) points of Buddy's career, as well as interviews with people close to the action, like Providence Journal investigative reporter Mike Stanton, Channel 12 investigative reporter Jack White, comedian (and Plunder Dome courtroom artist) Charlie Hall, WHJJ radio talk show host Arlene Violet, Cianci defense attorney Richard Egbert, the FBI's undercover witness Antonio Freitas, federal prosecutor Craig Moore, and FBI agent W. Dennis Aiken. The one person missing was Cianci, who declined to be interviewed—probably because he was in prison at Fort Dix, New Jersey, at the time, serving a five-year, four-month sentence for racketeering conspiracy. More importantly, he wouldn't have been allowed to wear his toupee on camera.

A third episode concerns the disappearance and murder of Ernest, Alice, and eight-year-old Emily Brendel of Barrington on September 20, 1991. Narrator Paul Winfield, though not his usual sonorous self (he had suffered a stroke in recent months), spends most of the hour pounding home the idea that Barrington is an affluent, lily-white suburb where Things Like This Just Don't Happen. "Being better than the rest of Rhode Island is something the good people of Barrington take for granted," he slurs portentously, "though they don't like to brag about it." An interview with the owner of Imagine Gift Shop, touching on the local controversy over whether her blue fiberglass cow is a sculpture or a commercial sign, paints the town fathers as a bunch of pedantic, elitist prigs. Shots of boats, golf courses, nice houses with neatly trimmed lawns, and fit, beautiful people walking, riding, and roller blading on the bike path contribute to the continual beating of a dead horse. Rather than eliciting sympathy for the victims, the overall tone of the piece seems to be saying that, damn their eyes, those rich bastards deserved it.

Contrary to the narrative uttered over the many shots of Country and Mathewson roads, Barrington doesn't actually have any gated communities—not to mention that such a thing would be at odds with the whole nice town premise. In another sloppy detail, there's a shot of "ransom money" that features bundles of $100 bills, but the bands wrapped around the bundles are from one-dollar bills.

When the show actually gets around to telling the story of the murder, locations we're shown include the Brendel home at 51 Middle Highway, murderer Christopher Hightower's house at 1 Jones Circle, Primrose Hill School (which Emily attended), Newport Creamery, Barrington Town Hall, the Barrington Professional Building (where Ernest Brendel had an office), Brickyard Pond, Bayside Family YMCA (where Hightower picked up Emily), Brown University's Van Wickle Gates, and the Rhode Island Court House in Providence. Archival local news and police video and interviews with principal players add some much-needed authority. The show first aired on January 1, 2005.

Dawson's Creek (The WB, 1998-2003) drama series

The McPhee family, who entered the series at the beginning of season two, moved to the fictional Cape Cod town of Capeside from Providence following the death of oldest son Tim. Daughter Andie has inherited mental health problems exacerbated by her brother's death, and at the end of season two she returns to Providence with her father so she can see a therapist there.

If Walls Could Talk (HGTV, 1998—) home improvement series

We haven't yet seen episode 304, "Protection, Chapel, Family," in which "…a couple in Rhode Island go on a huge genealogy search of their 1730s home and discover that they both have connections to past owners," or episode 316, "Victorian, Hammer, Spirits," in which "…a Rhode Island man finds a trail of clues to his home's history that begins with the discovery of an old hammer." However, we have seen episode 322, "Grandfather's Home," which tells how Champlin Starr and his wife, Lisa, moved to Block Island to restore a half-burned hotel, Hygeia House, once run by Starr's great-grandfather. During the episode the couple open, Geraldo-style, a meat locker that had been closed for decades. What's inside? Nothing, of course.

In episode 1513, "The Crime Castle," Warwick Neck homeowner Bill Nixon shows off his 1901 Colonial. The home was once owned by a rum runner named Carl Rettich, and includes a seventy-five-foot concrete-and-steel bunker where he hid booze. Nixon happily points out a number of patched spots in the concrete wall of the bunker which he believes are the remnants of bullet holes. He further theorizes that they may explain what happened to a fellow named Danny Walsh who, owing Rettich $40,000, mysteriously vanished one day in 1933.

Mr. Nixon, by the way, is the editor of a book about Warwick Neck history, Warwick Neck: A Collection of Memories.

The secrets of Newport's Malbone Castle are featured in episode 1612, "Hidden Treasures Abound." Owner James Leach explains that the doors of the octagonal dining room were designed to blend into the walls, giving the illusion of no exit. During an extensive renovation of the mansion Leach uncovered stained glass windows in the dining room, a hidden passageway to the castle's tower, and a closed-off tunnel that may once have been a smuggler's route to the shore. The narrator, noting that Godfrey Malbone was a privateer, surmises it may have been built by Malbone himself. If so, it was built prior to 1766, when the original mansion burnt down. The current building dates from about 1848.

Episode 1701, "House Mysteries Revealed," focuses on the 1884 North Kingstown farmhouse that newlyweds Julie and Andrew Kizlinski are working to restore. G.H. Allen built the house on the site of an earlier home that had been owned by John Foy and Abigail Spinks, the original foundation of which is visible in the basement. Prior to Allen's ownership, the land had been in the Spinks family since 1726.

A 6,000-square-foot 1899 Queen Ann Victorian in Cranston is one of the subjects of episode 1702, "Hidden Histories Uncovered." When Jessyca and Greg Golembowski bought the place it was in rough shape, but hard work and a hefty infusion of cash brought the house's rich leather wall coverings, intricate parquet floors, elaborate fireplaces, ornate chandeliers, and massive stained-glass windows back to life. Along the way they learned that the place had been built by a man named Carpenter, a prominent local businessman, who moved in with his family in 1906. The building was subsequently used by a Carpenter daughter as a wedding parlor in the 1920s and '30s, which explains some of the house's more elaborate ornamentation. Also of note is that the house was fitted with a very early central vacuum system, the remains of which can be seen in the basement.

A vague link to former President Howard Taft is uncovered in Pascoag in episode 1703, "Historical Home Surprises." Linda and Dale Straube are the owners of the 1786 Federal Cape-style home, one of the interesting features of which is a small chamber hidden in a stairwell that was originally used to smoke meat. The house was built by Moses Taft, a relative of the aforementioned president. Moses owned a nearby sawmill and had eight kids. "One fateful day in 1832," intones the narrator, "a sneaky neighbor who wanted the Taft's water invited Moses and his family over for a turkey dinner. The neighbor kept pouring drinks until Moses was feeling no pain, and convinced the very tipsy Moses to sign away all of his water rights." For a while the area was called Turkeyville in consequence, and Moses, his mill lost, turned to farming.

Part of episode 1713, "Homes' Histories Come to Life," concerns a mysterious attic room in the 1857 Colonial owned by Jeff and Laurie Dumas on Carpenter Street in West Warwick. The house was built by a judge named Job Carpenter and includes an upstairs room with metal sheeting on the floor and no inside doorknob. Laurie, who works at Robert H. Champlin Memorial Library in Cranston, learned from a patron that the chamber was probably a "disappointments room," where a sick or disabled child was hidden from public view. When Laurie tracked down the family gravesite in historical cemetery #66 on Washington Street in Coventry, she discovered that the Carpenters had a daughter, Ruth, who died at only five years old in 1900. While the Carpenter family were prominent enough to be in the newspapers fairly frequently, Ruth was never mentioned, leading Laurie to speculate that the little girl was probably the attic room's inmate.

The 1910 William Park House at 24 Walnut Street in Pawtucket's Quality Hill neighborhood, was featured in the May 19, 2008, episode. The Tudor-influenced post and beam home is owned by Joe Asermely, who purchased it in 1998 and has spent the years since renovating it (the house was also featured on a 2000 episode of HGTV's Restore America). "They spent ten hours in October, the whole day on a Saturday [with] cameras, sound," Asermely told allpawtucket.com in 2008. "They were amazed it was in such good shape." The William Park House is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Real World/Road Rules Challenge aka The Challenge (MTV, 1998—) reality game show

In 2003, for an upcoming season of the Challenge, subtitled The Gauntlet, MTV was originally very interested in using a house in Newport as the home base for two teams of twenty-somethings engaged in a series of sports and endurance contests, but neighbors voiced strenuous opposition. Despite assurances from MTV that the cast would be supervised, and likely too exhausted from their challenges to cause a ruckus anyway, neighbors feared that Ivy Lodge, at 533 Bellevue Avenue, would turn into a party house, and they hired a lawyer to stop MTV from moving forward. But it was zoning problems more than anything else that put the kibosh on the Newport location. City regulations prohibit more than five unrelated persons from inhabiting a single residence—MTV would have had twenty-eight. MTV announced on June 11, 2003, that they would look for another local economy in which to spend an estimated $4 million.

They didn't go far, next setting their sights on a 1930 mansion at 165 Indian Avenue, overlooking the Sakonnet River in adjacent Middletown. Filming was to last a month, from July 1 to August 1, with challenges tentatively scheduled in Pawtucket, Exeter, Newport, and Portsmouth. But again neighbors complained. They said that a temporary film studio was an illegal industrial use in a residentially zoned area. They pointed out that the wiring in the house was old (an understandable concern after the then-recent Station Nightclub fire in which 100 people died). And they were sure that, unlike their own well-behaved sons and daughters, the contestants would be loud, immoral, and obnoxious. Two neighbors went so far as to copywrite the images of their homes so that they could not be shown on TV without permission. Even the former owners of 165 Indian Avenue spoke out against the production. MTV producer Julie Pizzi told the Providence Journal that (we're paraphrasing) never before had the Unwelcome Wagon run over the production company with such vigor.

Saying that he found the production to be "materially disruptive," and citing Middletown's proscription against more than four unrelated people living together, a Newport Superior Court judge ordered MTV to temporarily halt their activities while the matter was looked into. But MTV didn't have the time to spare. They gave up on Rhode Island and moved the whole shebang to Telluride, Colorado, where presumably they met with a much friendlier reception.

Considering the state of Rhode Island's economy and how much effort our politicians are putting into luring film and television productions to come to our state and spend their money, this just goes to show how divorced from reality some wealthy people are. One resident actually stated that, "Most of the people who live on Indian Avenue had never heard of MTV until this came up." [Proving that this issue is divisive even within the realm of Quahog.org, Editor Claudia dissents, suggesting that the people of Newport and Middletown know all too well about MTV and the "rebellious," attention-seeking whores who appear on these vulgar programs, who may be all too ready to treat Rhode Island as their personal vomitorium.]

Driving the final nail into the coffin of any good feeling MTV might have had for Rhode Island, the Hotel Viking sued the channel for lost revenue in January 2004. 1,459 reserved "room nights," worth about $150,000, were never used and consequently never paid for. No word on how that came out.

Will and Grace (NBC, 1998-2006) situation comedy

Cheryl from Cranston sent us an email to remind us that actress Debra Messing (the titular Grace) grew up in East Greenwich. Further, Cheryl asserts that "...Rhode Island was mentioned several times over the years" on the show. Short of watching all 194 episodes on DVD, we'll just have to take her word for it.

Cold Case Files (A&E, 1999-2006) true crime series

One half hour of the September 23, 2006, show, titled "Deadly Stroll," was devoted to the case of Jeffrey Mailhot, Woonsocket's serial murderer. During 2003 and 2004 Mailhot preyed on prostitutes he picked up on Arnold Street, brought back to his apartment, strangled, dismembered, and disposed of in trash bins around the city. He's know to have killed three women; the escape of another, Jocilin Martel, led to his arrest. Locations used in the episode include Arnold Street, the Central Landfill in Johnston (where remains of the third victim, Stacie K. Goulet, were found), the Woonsocket police station where Mailhot was held and where he confessed, and the Licht Judicial Complex in Providence where he pleaded guilty in early 2006. The landlord of Mailhot's apartment at 221 Cato Street wouldn't give permission to film inside, so producers had to settle for filming on the street itself.

Family Guy (Fox, 1999-2002, 2005—) animated comedy series

Created by Rhode Island School of Design alum Seth MacFarlane, Family Guy is an odd mix of the Simpsons, the Honeymooners, and a James Bond-style evil villain that takes place in fictional Quahog, Rhode Island. Note the Providence "skyline" that appears behind the family's house. The daughter, Meg, attends James Woods Regional High School; the son, Chris, attends Buddy Cianci Junior High School; and the local tavern is called the Drunken Clam, but none of the characters seem to be able to pronounce "Pawtucket" correctly.

Can't get enough Family Guy? Check out our Family Guy Concordance.

Food 911 (Food Network, 1999-2002) cooking show

The premise here is that professional chef Tyler Florence invades the kitchen of one cooking-challenged person each episode, tutoring them in the mysteries of making the perfect souffle, brisket, or cheesecake. We're guessing on the date span for this show. Based on the episode codes, we think the following shows first aired in 2001.

Florence visits Portsmouth in episode FO1C01, where his student du jour learns to put together a slammin' seafood meal: Steamed Mussels in White Wine Sauce, Stuffed Shrimp with Tasso Ham and Crab, Roasted Tomato Aioli, and Spicy Shrimp and Mussels in a Thai Noodle Bowl. Then, in episode F01C03, it seems that Joyce from Warwick always turns her steaks into burnt shoe leather, so Florence helps her bone up on filet mignon, grilled steak, and London broil.

Food Finds (Food Network, 1999-2002) food and travel series

With twenty-four hours a day to fill with food-related programming, it was inevitable that before too long, the Food Network would find Rhode Island.

The show pays a visit to South Kingstown's Kenyon's Grist Mill in episode FI1B03. Owners Paul Drum, Jr., and Paul Drum III are interviewed, and johnnycake expert Dick Donnelly demonstrates the right way to cook a johnnycake. Donnelly also displays his creativity with johnnycakes that incorprate nonpareils, orange soda, and what looks like guacamole.

In episode FI1F03, they highlight several businesses in "this small state's big town," including Costantino's Venda Ravioli, Autocrat Coffee, Wright's Dairy Farm, and Del's Lemonade.

The Food Finds camera crew shot about eight hours of footage at Wright's Dairy Farm in October 2002, including scenes inside the bakery and dairy, but focusing particularly on the making of hermit cookies. All that footage was eventually distilled down to a mere twelve minutes for the finished show.

Johnny B's Diner in Cranston is featured in the segment on coffee milk. A couple of the other places you'll see in this episode are DePasquale Square and Prospect Park in Providence, and Del's Lemonade headquarters in Cranston. Our one quibble is that it's implied, both in the online description and in the show intro, that all the businesses shown are based in Providence.

Gravity Games (NBC, 1999-2006) sports event

Following in the footsteps of ESPN's X Games, Rhode Island was again the venue for televised risk-taking in 1999, 2000, and 2001. Extreme sporting events were featured in various locations around Providence: street luge, downhill skateboarding, and downhill inline skating on College Hill; motocross, BMX dirt bike, bike vert, and inline vert competitions at Waterplace Park; and wakeboarding in Roger Williams Park. Events are generally filmed over the course of a week each September, then broadcast in October.

History's Business (History Channel, 1999—) business series

A 2007 episode focused on FM Global, one of the world's largest companies specializing in business property insurance. Believing that "property damage is avoidable, not inevitable," FM Global works to lower insurance costs by lowering their clients' risk profile. They do this by performing extensive testing of building materials, equipment, products, and procedures. Based on the results, they make recommendations to their clients which, if implemented, earn the clients lower insurance rates. Fascinating, no?

The company traces its origins back to 1835 and Rhode Island textile mill owner Zachariah Allen. In an era when the dry, dusty textile mills burned down at the drop of a match, Allen made property improvements to make his mills less prone to such misfortune. But when he tried to get a lower insurance rate, citing the increased safety of his mills as compared to others, he was told to take a hike. So he got together with some of his like-minded industrialist friends and created his own insurance company, the Manufacturers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company. A collection of such companies later banded together to form the Associated Factory Mutual Fire Insurance Companies. In the twentieth century the association looked beyond textiles and admitted foundries, shoe factories, utilities, and the like to its fold. Then came an era of consolidation, with the individual mutuals sucking together like that liquid metal Terminator from Terminator II. In 1999 the last three come together under the name FM Global.

FM had a lot to do with supporting and promoting the use of sprinkler systems, and although they didn't invent the first ones, they hold hundreds of patents for designs and improvements. In 1878 the companies began an inspection program for their policyholders, then added prevention research, performing the first fire tests in 1884. FM Global continues the research today at its 1600-acre campus in Glocester, blowing stuff up, shooting two-by-fours through sheets of plywood, setting things on fire, and subjecting building materials to hurricane-force winds. FM has over 3,000 clients all over the world, including one-third of the Fortune 500. Some of their clients have been with them for over a century.

Most of what we see in this episode of History's Business takes place in a studio, where host Geoff Wawro interviews FM Global chairman and CEO Shivan S. Subramaniam. Adding color to the show is footage at the Glocester research center and the company's Johnston headquarters, plus CGI depictions of the campus layouts. If you're wondering if Wawro ever trips over Subramaniam's name, we'll put your mind at ease and reveal that he doesn't. But you can see the terror in his eyes at the prospect.

House Hunters (HGTV, 1999—) real estate series

If watching other people shop for real estate is on your top ten list of life's pleasures, this show is for you. And if, additionally, you're a real Rhode Island-o-phile like us, there are three episode you won't want to miss:

S19E13, "Planting Rhode Island Roots," aired March 18, 2007. Recent college grad Stacy Kish is so done with her cramped little apartment near the airport, and can't wait to begin paying the mortgage on her own little slice of heaven. She enlists the help of realtor Alayna Berek who guides Stacy through three Warwick properties: a single-level condo, a semi-detached townhouse, and a regular townhouse. After much agonizing, Stacy chooses the semi-detached and, presumably, lives happily ever after. The episode includes a montage of Warwick scenes, and a scene with Stacy and some of her friends hanging out at an empty Grille on Main in East Greenwich.

S25E8, "Renting in Rhode Island," aired May 18, 2008. Lisa Davis and her kids, Rachel and Ryan, tired of the rental rat race, tour three Cranston properties—all of which have pink bathrooms. One of the properties, according to a Quahog reader who was surprised to see a familiar house in the episode, is located on the corner of Rangely Road and Crestwood Court. "I recognized our neighbors' house directly across on Rangely and then the exterior of the house next door, the featured home," she told us. "I also remember all three of the prospects in this episode having pink bathrooms and the buyer... asking if all the bathrooms in Cranston were pink. We laughed as our home had a pink and black bath, which we renovated to black and white! Anyway, we knew that the featured house contained a lower-level in-law suite (because we had met the couple who lived in that apartment). Oddly, the in-law suite was neither shown nor mentioned. As the camera panned the outside area, we saw a portion of our roof. The buyer did not choose our neighbors' house. What is really strange about this is neither we or any neighbors noticed a film crew around the neighborhood."

S68E5, "Swim Instructor Wants Home Near Beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island," aired September 28, 2012. HGTV episode description: "Swim instructor, Jaimie, is ready to move out of her sister's place and into a home of her own. She wants a three-bedroom home with a large yard for her dogs. Since she enjoys open-ocean swimming, Jaimie wants her home as close to the beach as possible. But with just $250,000 to spend in one of New England's most sought-after coastal enclaves, she's in for a wake-up call."

Believe it or not, there's more of this incredible edge-of-your-seat drama just waiting to be seen. With several seasons being chucked in the can each year, there are (as of September 2013) seventy-eight seasons of House Hunters to look at.

Naughty Amateur Home Videos (Playboy, 1999—) adult

When you have "Rhode Island" on your TiVo wishlist, you learn about treasures like the "Rhode Island Raunchy" episode of Naughty Amateur Home Videos (2005). Unfortunately, we were too cheap to subscribe to the Playboy Channel to see whether the raunch was truly Rhode Island, featuring Nort' Providence accents, a ProJo paper "boy," or maybe "bribing" a city official.

Surely such a region-specific program would feature dialogue like "I've got a hot stuffie," "This bad girl likes Twin Oaks" or "Put this in your mouth and say 'Quonochontaug.'" If anyone out there can tell us about this—and we promise anonymity—please drop us a line at stuffie@quahog.org.

Providence (NBC, 1999-2003) drama series

For the series' first two years film crews came to our little state about twice a year for location footage, mostly in Providence.

Gorgeously cinematic shots of the Providence skyline, Waterplace Park, and sun-dappled residential streets lined with trees in full autumn bloom abound on the show. The house where the Hansons live is located at the corner of Taber Avenue and Freeman Parkway. The mom's (Concetta Tomei) funeral in the debut episode was staged at Swan Point Cemetery. Another scene from the first episode takes place at the "Providence Airport Terminal," but was not filmed in Rhode Island.

The series was a lot of fun for Providence residents who liked to tune in to watch characters drive the wrong way down one-way streets. Providence Journal columnist David Brussat, in his January 1999 column entitled "The Providence of Providence," pointed out further geographical absurdities from the first episode:

...we see Sydney's cab chugging toward us up College Street, then up Exchange Street past Stillman Street... by Center Place as the camera pans toward the State House, then along Memorial Boulevard by Waterplace and Union Station, then back up Exchange again, across the Exchange Street Bridge, with RISD's waterfront campus as backdrop, then down Lloyd Avenue, and then up Blackstone Boulevard. Here the cabbie (Richard Donnelly, of Hollywood), no doubt angling for a bigger tip after taking Sydney home by the scenic (i.e, long) route, says: "This yer first time in Providence?" "Uh, no, I grew up here a long time ago." "You won't recognize the place," he says knowingly, having already driven her through it several times.

Eric Olin, of the Providence Film Commission, once described how the hurricane barrier on the Providence River was closed at high tide for filming: "This allowed for a consistent water level while the crew was filming along the river, meaning that shots taken throughout the course of the day could be edited together."

The Gilbert Stuart Museum in Saunderstown, South Kingstown, was used as a location for an October 1999 shoot. The effort, which involved several tractor trailor trucks full of people and equipment, reportedly yielded about five seconds of footage.

Providence debuted on January 8, 1999. Then-Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci appeared in episode 9 as himself.

Restore America (HGTV, 1999-2004) historic preservation series

North Kingstown's Smith's Castle was featured in an episode (#132) of this historical preservation show that first aired on February 13, 2000, on the Home and Garden TV network. A film crew was on site November 10 and 11, 1999, for a look at the comprehensive restoration of the castle that took place from 1994 to 1997. Other segments looked at mill houses in Woonsocket, a windmill in Middletown, and a mansion in Newport.

Episode 310 returned to Rhode Island for a segment on a 1909 Tudor Revival mansion in Pawtucket, and Scituate took the stage in episode 407 when "a man returns to his childhood home and reclaims it as his own, moving it piece by piece."

The Sopranos (HBO, 1999-2007) drama series

There are two Rhode Island references we are aware of. The first is from S1E9, "Boca," in which Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his cohorts attempt to intimidate a successful soccer coach into staying in New Jersey rather than taking a coaching job at the University of Rhode Island. The script erroneously places URI in Providence when in actuality all of the sports teams are based at the main campus in Kingston, South Kingstown.

The second reference comes in S4E4, "The Weight," in which Tony takes out a hit on fellow crime boss Johnny Sack (Vince Curatola). On the advice of his uncle, Tony hires the gang of an elderly mob associate, Lou "DiMaggio" Galina (Joseph Castellana), from Federal Hill in Providence. The hit is later called off.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 2000—) crime drama

From S12E3, "Bittersweet" (aired October 5, 2011). The team attempts to unravel the identity of a corpulent corpse who drowned in a vat of chocolate:

Angie Salinger (Kelly Hu): That's Tristan Duran. Now, him I know, every inch.

Morgan Brody (Elizabeth Harnois): Then you can confirm the birthmark on his left butt cheek. The one in the shape of Rhode Island.

A.S.: Absolutely.

Greg Sanders (Eric Szmanda): Chad Ellis has a birthmark, too. Only now it's the size of Texas.

Disinfo Nation (Channel Four, 2000-2001) infotainment series

Supposedly, part of one of the first six episodes of this news magazine of the weird and subversive was shot in Rhode Island, but we've so far been unable to discover exactly which. Anybody out there in Rhodyland want to own up to being one of this show's freaky subjects?

Food Network Challenge (Food Network, 2000—) competitive cooking series

An episode (CCSP04) on the Tabasco Cook and Ladder Competition, hosted in New York City on February 2, 2002, by The Institute of Culinary Education featured Dan Rinaldi of Cranston who won first prize and $10,000 for his Firehouse Fra-Diavilo. The episode first aired on August 3, 2002. A firefighter out of the LaSalle Square station in Providence, Rinaldi's moment of fame was extended with appearances on Rosie O'Donnell and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

FoodNation with Bobby Flay (Food Network, 2000-2005) cooking show

In a program that the Food Network's own website can't decide how to spell ("Food Nation" or "FoodNation") grill master Bobby Flay travels across America to stand on cutting boards and sample local cuisine.

Flay travels to Rhode Island in S2E15, which first aired July 31, 2001. He tries quahogs, checks out some of the restaurants on Federal Hill, visits Carpenter's Grist Mill in South Kingstown for johnny cakes, and attends a clambake hosted by the McGrath family in Newport.

Gilmore Girls (The WB, 2000-2007) comedy-drama series

The Providence Journal plays a small part in episodes 18 and 20 of the seventh season. Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) declines a job opportunity with the Journal in anticipation of a possible internship with the New York Times. But that doesn't work out, and when she finds out the Chicago Sun-Times isn't hiring either, she calls to beg for the Journal job, without success.

A Makeover Story (TLC, 2000-2003) reality series

Like the Food Network, TLC's stock-in-trade is cheap, reality-based programming. As such, Rhode Islanders are just a small subset of the thousands of fifteen-minutes-of-famers who are grist for TLC's mill.

The Providence Journal reported in October 2003 that two friends from Warwick, Kathleen Walsh and Gabriella Ammon, "picked up new outfits at Dangles in Garden City, [Cranston], then went to the Jacqueline Philip Salon in Providence for new hairstyles and makeup, and finally to Restaurant Prov to show off the new look to family and friends." They won their makeovers through a contest on the Cox Communications website.

Survivor (CBS, 2000—) reality game show

Rhode Island, gays, alliances, and nudism were all thrust into the spotlight together in the person of Middletown resident Richard Hatch. In the final episode, 51 million Americans watched him "outwit, outplay, outlast" the last of fifteen other contestants for the prize of one million dollars and a Pontiac Aztec.

Hatch returned to Survivor in 2004 for the All-Stars season, where, with a cry of, "I been bamboozled!" he was voted off in the fifth episode.

We usually try to avoid listing shows that merely star Rhode Islanders, preferring to focus instead on productions that were actually filmed within the state's borders, but in this case we felt we had to make an exception. And that's because, for a lot of people watching Survivor during its first season, the fat, naked guy was Rhode Island. (An idea that was merely reinforced when he was subsequently sentenced to fifty-one months in federal prison for failing to declare his winnings to the IRS.) Since then, an inordinate number of Ocean Staters have been chosen to compete on the show, continuing to make it worthy of comment.

The second season, Survivor 2: The Australian Outback, also had a Rhode Islander, albeit an expatriate one, in Elizabeth Filarski, who grew up in Cranston. She made it all the way to fourth place before being booted off.

Filarksi (now Filarski Hasselbeck—she married Washington Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck in July 2002), is perhaps one of the most successful Survivor contestants so far. She traded on her reality show face time to land a hosting job on a show called The Look for Less on the Style Network, and a co-hosting gig on ABC's The View with fellow Rhode Islander Meredith Vieira.

Yet another Rhode Islander, a 47-year-old Navy swim instructor from Middletown named Helen Glover, graced the small screen in Survivor 5: Thailand. She also made it to fourth place and parlayed her notoriety into a talk radio gig on local WHJJ.

Producers dipped into the Rhode Island pot again for Survivor 11: Guatemala, casting 2005 Brown University graduate Rafe Judkins. Judkins, who managed a wilderness program at Brown, brilliantly played his way to the final three, but his conscience ultimately caused him to give up any chance at the million-dollar prize.

The connections get more tenuous as the seasons pass. Survivor 19: Samoa included Californian Mike Borassi who attended URI from 1965-1969. The sixty-two-year-old personal chef was pulled from the game in episode 2 after experiencing shortness of breath and low blood pressure.

Trading Spaces (TLC, 2000-2008) home improvement series

As many as seven episodes of this show have been made in Rhode Island, two for the second season and five for the seventh season of the series.

A triple decker at 114 Phillips Street in Woonsocket is the scene of the action in the inaccurately titled "Providence: Phillips Street." Donna and Sarah LaBonte live downstairs, Erick and Chelsea Thibodeau live upstairs; Chelsea is Donna's niece, and Donna is the landlord. Designer Vern Yip revamps Donna's main living space in gold and cranberry, while the Thibodeaus have their living room redone by Hildi Santo-Tomas in grays and off-whites. The episode originally aired on November 3, 2001.

The second episode, entitled "Providence: Wallis Avenue," is actually set on New Meadow Neck in Barrington, where homeowners Kathy and Steve Amaral and Heather and Chris Burton are neighbors. One couple's master bedroom is transformed into a "sophisticated love nest"; the other's "dark and tiny kitchen is given an arts and crafts feel." This episode first aired on November 10, 2001.

"Providence: Elliot Street," the third episode, is something of a mystery. For one thing, there's no such street in Providence. Given the producers' track record of being geographically challenged, and the fact that the episode description begins "Trading Spaces visits Massachusetts...," it's possible this one wasn't made in Rhode Island at all. We haven't seen it, though, so we can only speculate. This episode first aired November 11, 2006.

The fourth episode opens with carpenter Carter Oosterhouse and designers Edward Walker and Frank Bielec striding across one of the bridges at Waterplace Park in Providence, exchanging scripted banter. The spaces to be traded are at numbers 10 and 11 Shaw Avenue, in Johnston—the homes of Don and Lilly Poli and John and Jen "Short Cake" Martino, respectively. (Don and Jen are siblings). The Polis got a revamped upstairs playroom, designed by Edward Walker, for their ten-month-old son, Gianni; the Martinos got a remodeled kitchen, designed by the cuddly Frank Bilec. The obtrusive Trading Spaces truck reportedly garnered little attention during its obligatory run to the Johnston Home Depot. In fact the whole shoot on July 12 and 13, 2006, was undertaken with so little fanfare that the production crew was gone before 99.9% of the town even knew it was there. The episode debuted on November 18, 2006.

The fifth Rhode Island episode was introduced under the marquee of the Providence Performing Arts Center by first-time designer Leslie Segrete, carpenter Andrew Dan-Jumbo, and designer Hildi Santo-Tomas. As is often the case, although the episode is titled "Providence: South Cobblehill Road," it was actually shot not in Providence, but in Warwick and East Greenwich. Filming took place shortly after the Johnston episode wrapped up, on July 16 and 17, 2006. Leslie undertakes a pink "shabby chic" transformation of Michelle and Steven's daughter, Ellie's, bedroom in East Greenwich, while Hildi tackles a spacey theme for the bedroom of Nicole and Alex's little boy, Michael, in Warwick. (Michelle and Nicole are sisters). Although the couples are several times shown apparently trotting between their respective homes, it should come as no shock to anyone that this is a cinematic white lie. It's true that South Cobblehill Road in Warwick is not far from the East Greenwich border, but it's still farther (about a mile) than one would want to walk when working on a tight schedule.

Lyndon Road in Cranston is the setting for the sixth Rhode Island entry in the series, although carpenter Andrew and designers Laura Day and Leslie introduce the episode from a pedestrian walkway between Memorial Boulevard and Weybosset Street in Providence. Leslie says that if things don't go well with the designs, the homeowners "will look like that guy," and points out the bust of the Turk on the Turk's Head Building at the corner of Weybosset and Westminster. The homeowners in question are Marc Lovely and Scott Jaworski, Thom Hammond and Tony Lanciano (who own some kind of local boutique for dogs). Laura works with Thom and Tony on their friends' kitchen, while Leslie guides Marc and Scott through a dining room makeover. Of note is the fact that one of the houses has a historical cemetery—the Benjamin Carpenter Lot—in the back yard. Cool. The episode was shot in August 2006 and aired January 20, 2007.

One thing you can say for the producers of this show, they're consistent. The Alhambra Circle of "Providence: Alhambra Circle" is actually located in Cranston. Designers Christi Proctor and Frank Bielec and carpenter Carter Oosterhouse do begin the episode on a rooftop in the titular city, though. Later we meet homeowners Gail and Gwen and Lisa and Michelle. Kitchens are revamped, lives are changed, the universe smiles. This episode first aired March 24, 2007.

The Amazing Race (CBS, 2001—present) reality game show

Season 23 (September 29 to December 8, 2013), was won by Jason Case, 33, of Attleboro, and Amy Diaz, 29, of Providence.

The Best of… (Food Network, 2001-2005) food and travel series

At least four different Newport eateries have been featured on this show: the Salvation Cafe (episode BE1F05), the Cheeky Monkey Cafe (episode BE1F14), the Chanler at Cliff Walk's Spiced Pear Restaurant (Episode BE1F16), and the Castle Hill Inn and Resort (episodes BE1F28 and BE1F32).

We actually learned something from one of the Castle Hill Inn episodes—in Rhode Island, "Happy Hour" is illegal. To get around the law, the Inn hosts "Social Hour" instead. Who says semantics are overrated?

Maybe It's Me aka Maybe I'm Adopted (The WB, 2001-2002) comedy series

Maybe It's Me is set in the fictional Rhode Island village of Wickettstown, "the smallest town in the smallest state." The series, based on creator (and Cumberland native) Suzanne Martin's own family, follows the annoying lives of teenager Molly Stage and her family.

Filmed in Burbank, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the series doesn't seem to take much advantage of its fictional Rhode Island location. Out of twenty-two episodes made, only "The Quahog Festival Episode," the two-part "Prom Episode" (in which Molly is forced to attend the prom with the geeky son of a local mobster), and "The Birthday Episode" (in which the family weathers a hurricane in a restaurant) can be loosely tied to the Ocean State. Otherwise, the show could probably have been set anywhere.

Revenge of the Whale (NBC, 2001) docudrama

Tells the story of the Essex, a Nantucket whaler that was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in the Pacific Ocean in 1820, which event inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick the following year. Governor Stephen Hopkins House, 15 Hopkins Street, Providence, was used in some scenes.

Sandy "Spin" Slade: Beyond Basketball (2001) documentary

A straight-to-video feature with an inspiring message: if this young woman can do all these amazing things with a basketball, what's to stop you from accomplishing your humble goals? One of the filming locations was in Cumberland (possibly at one of the schools).

Unwrapped (Food Network, 2001—) food and travel series

An eighth season episode (#161) that first aired June 6, 2005, featured beachy foods, including a look at McGrath Clambakes, Inc., of Newport's thirty-fifth anniversary clambake.

America's Walking (PBS, 2002-2003) health and fitness series

Episode 111, "Trails to Fitness," was shot in Cranston and Providence.

American Idol (Fox, 2002—) talent search series

Season eleven included South Kingstown singer Erika Van Pelt, who made it to tenth place before being eliminated on March 22, 2012. Her first appearance was in the second episode during auditions in Pittsburgh, which aired July 15, 2011. The episode prior to her elimination included a profile of Erika that showed her home in the Green Hill neighborhood of South Kingstown and a shot of Wakefield's Main Street.

The Bachelor (ABC, 2002—) reality series

Warwick resident Krisily Kennedy (Miss Rhode Island USA 2003) graced the spring 2005 season of the show, making it all the way to the final two before being rejected, in the May 16 finale, in favor of a nurse from Texas.

In one episode, cameras followed the twenty-five-year-old Kennedy back to Warwick for a visit with her family. Her grandmother, Kathy Kennedy, danced a bump and grind with Krisily, then advised her grandaughter that sleeping with the Bachelor (Charlie O'Connell) would give her an edge over other contestants. All right, grandma!

Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege and Justice (TruTV, 2002-2009) documentary series

The episode entitled "The Von Bulow Affair," which aired February 15, 2008, is yet another rehashing of the events surrounding Sunny Von Bulow's decades-long coma. Providence Journal columnist Mark Patinkin is one of the talking heads. In a column published on the eve of the show's premier, Patinkin revealed that he boned up on the subject matter beforehand by looking through the Journal's files, that he was interviewed by a producer at a rented dance studio near McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, and that, no surprise, some of his quotes were later edited out of context.

Dream Drives (HGTV/Fine Living Network, 2002) real estate series

This show stakes out a stretch of roadway and brings the viewer into some of the homes along that roadway. One episode centers around Providence's Blackstone Boulevard. There we explore Jean and Paul Moran's 1908 Colonial at 125 Grotto Avenue; a 1928 Italian Renaissance Revival belonging to Marjorie Yashar; and Suzanne Reeves' 1926 country-style manor, built for a Providence textile magnate, at 17 Upton Avenue. The center median of the boulevard, now a path for walkers and runners, follows an old trolley line. An early 1800s trolley shelter (still in use as late as 1940) can still be seen at the northern end of the street, across from Swan Point Cemetery. Local architectural historian M.W. McKenzie Woodward provides commentary.

$40 a Day (Food Network, 2002-2005) food and travel series

In episode AD1C12 from season three, host Rachael Ray begins her day in Newport with forty dollars and a smile. Breakfast at the Rhumbline, 62 Bridge Street, (a crepe with bacon, egg, goat cheese with leeks, and tomato) is followed by a short visit to the grounds of Newport International Polo at 715 East Main Road in Portsmouth. Lunch is a Portuguese stuffed quahog (Rachel pronounces it "kway-hog") and Portuguese kale soup at Gertrude's Galley, 146 Aquidneck Avenue, Middletown. Back in Newport Ray next wobbles her way through a skateboard demo at the Easton Beach skate park with Water Brothers Surf and Skate, 38 Broadway, then scarfs down on a 7x7 (pad Thai) at the Salvation Cafe at 140 Broadway. After a relaxing stroll along Cliff Walk, she rounds out her day with a Dark 'n' Stormy (dark rum and ginger beer) at the Whitehorse Tavern. Total bill for the day: $38.43. That is, if you don't include the cost of her room at the Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina.

Ghosts and Vampire Legends of Rhode Island (PBS, 2002) documentary

This documentary, made by Rhode Island natives Scott Saracen and Maria Patsias, spotlights the ghostly goings-on at Newport's Belcourt Castle, and tells the stories of Block Island's ghost ship, Middletown's haunted Inn at Shadow Lawn, the murder of Rebecca Cornell, the ghosts of Providence's Benefit Street, and Rhode Island's vampires. Local authors Dr. Michael Bell (Food for the Dead), Christopher Rondina (Vampire Legends of Rhode Island, The Vampire Hunter's Guide to New England), and Eleyne Austen Sharp (Haunted Newport) lend their expertise to the on-camera proceedings. The documentary first aired on Channel 36 on October 26, 2002.

Souls of Rhode Island (PBS, 2002) documentary

These are a set of half-hour documentaries about Rhode Islanders who love their jobs, made by filmmaker Brent Sterling Nemetz, which premiered on Rhode Island's WSBE Channel 36 on September 17, 2002. The documentaries feature the following interesting people:

Episode 1, filmed during the winter of 2002, begins with an introduction from Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci. We then meet Jenna Wims Hashway of Pawtucket, a Historical Vocalist with For Sentimental Reasons, a singing group of four men and five women who perform music from the 1940s at the newly restored Stadium Theater in Woonsocket. Next up is Stephan Goldman, President of New England Pest Control in Providence, and keeper of the Big Blue Bug; Cranston's Wenley Ferguson, a Seal Watcher with Save The Bay; Jack McElroy of North Providence, the Penalty Box Attendant for the Providence Bruins; and East Side resident Jack Mustard, Professor of Geological Sciences at Brown University, who explains Martian geology. We end with Newport's Jeff Moore, Chief Conservator for the Preservation Society of Newport County, and Charlotte Johnson, Keeper of the Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport.

Episode 2, filmed during the summer of 2002, begins with Jim Thompson of Thompson Lumber in Hopkinton, followed by George Dolan of East Greenwich, who works at the Field's Point Wastewater Treatment Facility. Crisse Genga, Topiary Gardener at Green Animals in Portsmouth is next, then cartoonist Don Bousquet of Narragansett. Walter Scott, of Coventry, demonstrates the fine arts of Narragansett Bay quahogging and maritime painting, and Communion wafer maker Brian Canavagh, of Cavanagh Company in Smithfield, brings the show to a close.

While You Were Out (TLC, 2002-2006) home improvement series

Unlike most WYWO projects, which take place in private homes, the space that's tackled in "Pet Haven" is one that's open to the public—Park Avenue Puppy's, a retail pet supply store and pet cafe located at 112 Spruce Street in Providence. The challenge is to transform a drab cement patio into an inviting, European-inspired, cafe space while Gina Cerullo, one of the owners, is away. This episode first aired on September 17, 2004.

Dutiful daughter Lisa wants to surprise her mother, Marie, with a basement makeover in "Queen Marie's Quarters." At one point during the episode a frozen lemonade truck pulls up to the job site. Carpenter Ali Barone buys a frozen lemonade and, apparently unfamiliar with the specific gravity of this strange substance, promptly spills it. This episode first aired on September 24, 2004.

In "Stripe It Rich" the team tries to redesign RISD student Gideon's Providence dining room behind his back, but they probably should have hidden the While You Were Out truck more carefully, because Gideon spots it parked near the Biltmore on his way to Six Flags in the morning. That something is up becomes even more obvious when a camera person begins following him around the amusement park. In an effort to salvage the element of surprise, host Evan Farmer calls Gideon on his cell phone, admits that, yes, WYWO is at his house, but convinces him they're there to redo his backyard. He then gets Gideon to promise that, for the sake of the cameras and his wife, Kristin, he'll feign surprise when he arrives home. With only a few hours to work with, Evan has to create a faux backyard makeover with "maximum tackiness" on a "minimum budget." So where does he go to buy materials? Benny's, of course. Specifically, the Benny's store on Branch Avenue in Providence. The result, crafted from cheap plastic do-dads and inflatable pool toys, is dubbed "Rhode Fantasy Island."

As for the real makeover, designer Mark Montano paints the dining room walls with black and white stripes set off with tourquoise, creates a dining room table topped with fake grass and glass, and puts together an art installation composed of five television sets playing video tapes of the heads, torsos, and legs of the WYWO gang. This episode first aired on October 6, 2004.

All-American Festivals (Food Network, 2003-2005) food series

Perpetual eleven-year-old Jim O'Connor hosts a look at the 2004 Newport Chowder Cook-Off. Greg Davenport of Davenport's Bar and Grill, East Providence, talks about his lobster, shrimp, fish, clam, and scallop chowder. Bill Sousa of The Mooring Restaurant, Newport, shows off his scallop chowder. We see some second unit shots along the Newport waterfront and around the harbor, then we join Bill Silks and Todd Carreira as they harvest oysters. Bill Squid demonstrates quahogging. Then back to the festival, where Jim "helps" judge clam cakes.

The results: Chelo's clam cakes are the number one choice for the third year in a row. The Mooring takes second place in the Creative Chowder category, edged out from first by San Francisco's Blue Mermaid Chowder House. Davenport's secures first place for their Seafood Chowder, and in the Clam Chowder category it's Captain Parker's Pub from West Yarmouth, Massachusetts.

The Bachelorette (ABC, 2003-2005, 2008—) reality series

Barrington native Jay Resmini was one of the eight contestants cut during the rose ceremony in the first episode of season six (aired May 24, 2010). But before he left he was featured in a brief profile in which he visited his parents' home in Barrington, Barrington town hall, and the inside of a Providence courthouse. Resmini is a lawyer with his father's firm, Resmini Law Associates.

Ciao America with Mario Batali (Food Network, 2003-2004) cooking show

Batali (or his producers) was sufficiently impressed with Little Rhody's cuisine scene that he slipped segments filmed here into at least three episodes of his short-lived show.

In episode MU1A07 (2003), Mario's looking for an Italian snack, and, among other places, he's drawn to Rhode Island.

The segment begins with a shot from Memorial Boulevard, looking past the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America and up the Moshassuck River. Mario's then shown ambling down Atwells Avenue, past Andino's Restaurant.

Suddenly the camera's inside a "no-frills joint called Caserta Pizzeria." Instead of saying "caSURda's," like anyone from Rhode Island would, though, he says "caSEARta PIZaREEuh" (rolling the Rs). It's rather disconSEARting, reminiscent of the way that normally white-bread NPR reporters in the '80s would refer to the conflict in "Nichhhhhhhhhoragua."

Mario's idea of an Italian snack is Caserta's "signature stuffed pizza," the Wimpy Skippy, which is really a spinach pie stuffed with cheese and pepperoni. Mario helps them make some, and we learn that Caserta's goes through two tons of cheese and 500 pounds of pepperoni in a week—probably about the same as Mario himself. The secret to the popularity of Caserta's crust, says baker John Campagnone, lies in one of the ingredients. "Rhode Island water makes it good," he claims, somehow managing to keep a straight face.

Batali: Where'd the name Wimpy Skippy come from?

Campanone: Wimpy Skippy, they were guys that hung out together on the Avenue, because they came here so often, the owners, what they did is they named one of their calzones after their two best friends.

B.: One was Wimpy and one was Skippy?

C.: Yes.

B.: Cool.

After proclaiming "This is the perfect snack food," Mario then appears at Al Forno for some high-falutin', thin-crust, fire-grilled pizza. It's one of those places where instead of shaking on spices, they squish a leaf and drop it on the top.

We couldn't help but notice, however, that Mario did not try (or even mention) Rhode Island's own pizza strips. The Food network shall be notified.

We haven't yet seen episode MU1A10, in which the Ocean State supplies the local backdrop for a preparation of seafood ravioli.

Episode MU1A12, however, we have seen. The Rhode Island segment starts with Batali walking along with the automated post office in the background (Did he mail himself to Rhode Island? In a big, big box?). Suddenly he's slouching down Atwells Avenue to Mediterraneo, where they add "a little American flair" to traditional antipasti. In this case, American flair means deep frying breaded mozzarella with basil and Parma ham in a li'l treat they call "mozzarella in a carriage" (which sounds way classier than "Cheesy Camaro").

Mozzarella in a carriage makes cardiologists cry. Won't anyone think of the cardiologists?

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC, 2003-2012) home improvement series

Kenny and Doreen Silva got a new house for themselves and their seven kids, and all they had to do was take a trip to Disney World. Well, it wasn't quite that simple—EM doesn't just hand out new houses willy-nilly. Recipients of the show's largesse have to be super-deserving, and the Silvas fit that category very well.

Kenny drives a garbage truck for the city of Warwick while Doreen takes care of the kids at home. Raising seven kids on a garbage truck driver's salary has got to be tough, but made all the tougher because their two biological kids are both autistic, and three adopted children all have disabilities. The couple are also in the habit of taking in stray foster kids, and at the time of the makeover, two were in residence—a six-month-old and a nineteen-month-old. Talk about a handful. Worse, their 1,000-square-foot one-story Cape was not only too small for a family of nine, but was also contaminated with high levels of lead.

So the EM crew sent the family to Disney World for a week while they got busy demolishing their crappy little house and replacing it with a great big awesome house. About 200 volunteers—contractors, subcontractors, neighbors, strangers, city officials—and 122 local businesses worked on or contributed to the project. The new house at 106 Yucatan Drive was designed by Blount Bennett Architects of East Providence. Furniture was donated by Cardis and RISD students gave art to brighten the interior. CVS paid off the family's old mortgage.

Producers casting about for a clever way to initiate the demolition, and considering they were in the Ocean State, first thought of using a giant anchor. But then someone found out that a retired city garbage truck (one Kenny had driven years before), was available. They hoisted it up with a crane and swung it at the house like a wrecking ball. But the truck didn't have enough weight or inertia—it just bounced off. A couple of excavators performed the job much more efficiently, if unironically.

Normally a two-story, 2,900-square-foot New England shingle-style house would take six to eight months to complete. This one took only 106 hours between February 20 and 25, 2008, and that included the demolition of the original house. In order to cut out a lot of the on-site work, portions of the structure were prefabbed in a warehouse on Commerce Drive.

The completed house was revealed to the Silvas at about 3:25pm on Monday, February 25, 2008.

The show premiered on May 4, 2008, preceded locally by a live one-hour special from the ballroom of the Crown Plaza Hotel in Warwick, hosted by ABC6.

High School Stories: Scandals, Pranks, and Controversies (MTV, 2003-2010) teen hijinx series

The first segment of the November 5, 2008, episode tells how a group of Johnston High School boys recorded a hip hop CD, debuted it at a party, then started selling copies to their fellow students. CDs sold out the first day, but once purchasers really gave the lyrics a listen, opinions turned against the boys. Many of the lyrics were profane and offensive toward women in general, and toward some fellow students who were named specifically. At least one girl who was slandered complained, and the boys were hauled into the Principal's office for a dressing down. They received five days' suspension, ten hours community service, and had to attend a sensitivity program. "Makin' the CD was a pretty great feeling," remarked one of the boys at the end of the segment, "but we wouldn't do it again."

Incredible Stories: The Vampire Hunters (Discovery Channel (GB), 2003) documentary

In February 2002 a crew from Granada Productions filmed scenes for a half-hour documentary on New England's vampires. Actors from Trinity Rep helped bring to life a re-enactment of the exhumation of Mercy Brown. State folklorist Michael Bell provided color commentary.

Supposedly, the show first aired on the British Discovery Channel in the Fall of 2003. We've so far been unable to substantiate that it ever appeared anywhere at all.

John Ratzenberger's Made in America (Travel, 2003-2008) reality series

The host visited ChemArt in Lincoln on September 22, 2005 (S3E5), to highlight the company's American-made decorative ornaments and collectibles. The episode aired in 2006.

Made (MTV, 2003—) reality series

Johnson & Wales University freshman Christopher Barry is transformed "From Geek to Chic" in an episode that first aired in November 2007. Personal coach John Battaglia, formerly of Wilhelmina Artist Management, guides bobble-head-doll-collecting, never-been-kissed Barry through seven weeks of training in social interaction, nutrition, fitness, and fashion. Along the way we glimpse quite a few Providence-area locations that, up 'til now, haven't had a lot of exposure on national television.

Johnson & Wales campus, including Barry's dorm, McNulty Hall, plays a big part. We get a brief shot of Hasbro Children's Hospital when Barry is explaining how his sickly childhood led to his unhipness. The gym that producers hook him up with is Method Fitness Personal Training Studio, located at 755 Westminster Street, and he meets with his nutritionist at White Electric, just up the street at 711 Westminster. We see Haven Brothers briefly. Cafe Paragon at 234 Thayer Street is the scene of a lukewarm, but not unpleasant first date. (We gotta give Barry credit—as uncool as he is, he never seems to lack cojones when it comes to going in for a kiss, no matter how many times he's rebuffed.) Later, over a game of pool at the Rhode Island Billiard Club, 2026 Smith Street, North Providence, Battaglia gives Barry some much-needed tips and a boost of confidence. Barry decides he needs a guys' night out, and he and his friends end up at Platforms Dance Club, 165 Poe Street, where he meets Melissa, a cute little number who seems to dig him. Barry asks her out and treats her to a romantic gondola ride on the Providence River, but the date ends once again without the kiss that Barry was hoping for.

Now things are coming to a head, though, and there are only a few minutes left in the show. A visit to Seiren Salon, 442 Wickenden Street, adds a haircut to Barry's charm offensive. Finally the episode wraps things up with a coming-out party of sorts at Club Hell, 73 Richmond Street. The crowd, no doubt whipped up by the show's producers, appear eager to embrace the new and improved Barry. The one down moment, the disappearance of his date, Melissa, proves to have a silver lining, as another nameless chick starts rubbing herself all over him. It's obviously stud Barry that's getting her so hot, and not the presence of MTV's cameras. In any event, Barry finally gets his first kiss and, we presume, much more. Thanks MTV!

Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica (MTV, 2003-2005) reality series

Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson were filmed chowing down at Providence's 10 Prime Steak and Sushi, 55 Pine Street, in December 2003.

The O.C. (Fox, 2003-2007) drama

An important plot thread in season four has Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson) attending Brown University. We understand stock footage showing aerial views of downtown Providence and an establishing shot of Brown's Van Wickle Gates can be seen, but otherwise no Rhode Island locations were used. The University of Southern California supplied all other required collegiate scenes. Series creator Josh Schwartz grew up in Providence, so having one of his characters attend an Ocean State college was a natural. We would have been more impressed if he'd used CCRI, though.

On Frozen Pond: The Tom Eccleston Story (PBS, 2003) documentary

Written and directed by Burrillville native Kathi Wheater, this film chronicles the first fifty years of schoolboy hockey in Rhode Island. It focuses on a group of Burrillville boys and the coaches (particularly hockey legend and educator Tom Eccleston), who turned their teams of "hicks from the sticks" into a succession of state and New England champs.

The story is told through archival photos, newspaper clippings, old network footage, and interviews with people whose lives were touched or even turned around by Burrillville hockey.

A sneak-preview premiere was shown in the Burrillville High School Auditorium on March 28 and 29, 2003, and the television premiere took place on April 2, 2003, on WSBE-TV 36.

Roker on the Road (Food Network, 2003) travelogue

In an episode entitled "All in the Family" (episode AR1A09), Al Roker visits a few family-run, food-related businesses, including East Providence's A.B. Munroe Dairy.

The Secret Life of... (Food Network, 2003-2008) food porn series

A 2007 episode on "Halloween Treats" visits Jaswell's Farm in Smithfield, where Allison Jaswell Mollis subjects ebullient host Jim O'Connor to some truly frightening gourmet candy apples.

Splendid Splinters: The Armand LaMontagne Story (PBS, 2003) documentary

North Scituate sculptor Armand LaMontagne and his works are the subjects of this one-hour documentary. Known primarily for his wood and bronze statues of sports figures, some of which adorn the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, the self-taught LaMontagne has also dabbled in painting, illustrating, and furniture making. Did we say "dabbled"? No, this guy is the furthest from a dabbler that you can get. Everything he undertakes—from yearly portraits of his daughter growing up, to the four authentically contracted stone enders that he built, to the dry stone walls that criss-cross his property, and the remarkably life-like wooden statue of Ted Williams that made the sports legend himself cry—is attacked with the same patient craftsmanship and attention to detail. LaMontagne relates how, early in his career, he fooled no less than the Henry Ford Museum with a perfectly aged replica of a circa 1640s Brewster Chair.

Trading Spaces: Family (TLC, 2003-2005) home improvement series

When the ProJo announced in July 2003 that TLC was looking for contestants from the Providence area for Trading Spaces: Family, a variation of the hugely popular home improvement show, a pair of families residing on Midway Lane in Greenville took the bait. The result was "wild colors and tie dye" for the extended living room of one family, and "an earthy look" for the kitchen of the other. The episode, inexplicably titled "Boston: Midway Lane," premiered on October 5, 2003.

A Newport-area episode, which was to have been filmed in July 2004, was scrapped without explanation only days after a casting call was announced. Perhaps the producers heard what happened when MTV tried to film a season of Real World/Road Rules Challenge the previous summer.

Travel Channel Presents... Curses of New England (Travel Channel, 2003)

One segment of this special, which looks like it was cobbled together using clips from other shows, highlights the eerie side of Newport's Belcourt Castle. Owner Harle Tinney explains that the house has eight or nine ghosts that are connected with various rooms or objects. Two of the most noteworthy are a suit of armor that screams and a seventeenth-century carving of a monk that has a ghostly counterpart. Local author and paranormal investigator Paul F. Eno chimes in with some pseudo-science flim-flam about how antiques can absorb and discharge spirit energy.

Two and a Half Men (CBS, 2003—) situation comedy

Jon from Coventry alerted us to S1E17, "Ate the Hamburgers, Wearing the Hats," in which Alan (Jon Cryer) and Charlie (Charlie Sheen) discuss who would have custody of Jake (Angus T. Jones) in the event that Alan and his ex-wife Judith (Marin Hinkle) both take a premature dirt nap.

Charlie: Who gets him in that [worst-case] scenario thing?

Alan: Cousin Jerry and his wife Fay.

Charlie: Jerry and Fay? Why Jerry and Fay?

Alan: Well, they... they've a good marriage, three kids, lots of dogs, a big backyard, and they live in a great school district.

Charlie: Yeah, but I'm your brother!

Alan: Charlie, it's—

Charlie: And I live right here! You wouldn't have to ship him off to... Cornhole, Kansas!

Alan: Coventry, Rhode Island.

Charlie: Who am I thinking of that lives in Kansas?

Alan: I don't know, Dorothy and Toto?

Tyler's Ultimate (Food Network, 2003-2008) cooking series

About two-thirds of a 2004 episode on "One Pot Cooking" is done in Rhode Island, the rest in England. After some establishing shots of Providence from Prospect Park and Atwells Avenue, host Tyler Florence drops in on Chef Walter Potenza at Aqua Viva. Chef Walter isn't ready for him and tells him to come back later, so Florence crosses the street to distractedly sample cheeses at Tony's Colonial Food Store. Having declared that Tony's "…is definitely up there with the best delis I've ever visited, Italy included," he heads over to Chef Walter's other restaurant, Walter's. There he and the chef prepare lamb with gnocchi in a terra cotta pot. While the dish cooks they taste olive oils from Potenza's pantry, an activity that apparently requires making silly faces.

Weird Travels (Travel Channel, 2003-2006) documentary series

An episode on haunted hotels features Newport's Inn at Shadow Lawn (now known as the Agincourt Inn). Author Eleyne Austen Sharp and innkeepers Randy and Selma Fabricant explain that the inn is haunted by brothers Hamilton and Thomas Hoppin, who are sometimes heard arguing with one another, and by an unknown woman who breaks things in the front hall every June. The ghostly vandal is thought to be acting out anger at her cheating husband, whom she may have murdered.

Amazing Vacation Homes (Travel Channel, 2004-2006) lifestyle series

One episode (S1E1, "Beach Homes," aired September 6, 2004) of this Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous knockoff features one of Block Island's nouveau mansions, dubbed the Ark House by its owners, David Peters and Pam Hamilton. David and Pam say they vacation on Block Island year 'round. While we don't doubt that they visit once in a while, the house, which was inspired by cruise ship design, is so spotless and empty it's obvious no one really lives there. The segment includes footage of North Light, the Harborside Inn, Crescent Beach, Mohegan Bluffs, Old and New Harbor, Clay Head, and the Block Island Ferry, at least some of which is stock footage supplied by the Block Island Chamber of Commerce. The views of the island from the upper floors of the three-story Ark House are truly breathtaking. It's a shame we can't all afford to own such a home.

The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch (CNBC, 2004-2008) talk show

Three segments of a feature entitled "Will it Play in Peoria," in which average Joes give opinions on new products, were filmed at Doherty's East Avenue Irish Pub in Pawtucket. The Modern Diner was the first choice for a location, but it proved to be too small. The segments aired on March 24, 25 and 27, 2008.

Bridezillas (WE TV, 2004—) reality series

In S1E3, New York couple Brooke and Charlie spend $250,000 getting married on Block Island, which the snotty, faux-posh narrator claims is "five miles off the coast of Connecticut." It's not really fair to call Brooke a Bridezilla, though, as this episode primarily features the wedding planner, Kate, and her cell phone.

Highlights of the three-day event include a clambake near the visitors' center with brie and raspberries, an imported French videographer having a hissy fit, and the last-minute chartering of a plane to deliver the disappointing wedding cake. The reception itself takes place at the Spring House hotel.

Generation Renovation (HGTV, 2004-2006) home improvement series

This show takes a look back at renovation projects after they've been completed, showing off how awesome the buildings look now compared to how crappy they used to be.

Episode 309 features the show's first Rhode Island home— Malbone Castle (1848) in Newport. Owner Jim Leach worked for ten years to turn the clock back on decades of neglect, even using dental tools and Q-Tips to bring old woodwork back to life. Malbone Castle was built on the site of a former mansion owned by Colonel Godfrey Malbone (1695-1768) which burned down in 1766.

In a February 2006 episode (#312, filmed in June 2005), Cumberland residents Amy McKensie and Joe Cracco show off their circa-1780 Federal-style cottage. The pair spent two years bringing the house, located at 3433 Diamond Hill Road, back to something akin to its original appearance. During the episode there's a quick shot of McKensie and Cracco playing bocce on the lawn with their daughter.

Episode 313 was about the Newport home of Charlie and Linda Nichols. Their "1970s ranch home gets updated with an angular front entrance, opened up floor plan, and wall of windows." Charlie claimed the shape of the house was redesigned "like a wave" to reflect the view, but we couldn't really see it.

In one more episode, #408, which we haven't yet seen, "Jill and Jay Litman renovate their 1952 rancher and put the new master suite on top of the house."

Ghost Hunters (SciFi, 2004—) paranormal reality series

Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, plumbers working for Roto-Rooter's Providence branch, really seem to enjoy their jobs. But it's their hobby that the SciFi Channel thought was worthy of air time. In their spare time, Hawes and Wilson run TAPS—The Atlantic Paranormal Society.

Although they both claim to have experienced the supernatural in their own lives, Hawes and Wilson try to maintain a healthy skepticism while they, and a number of volunteer friends, use night-vision cameras, sound monitoring equipment, and temperature monitors to uncover the truth behind seemingly inexplicable auditory, visual, and physical phenomena.

TAPS has investigated several allegedly haunted Rhode Island sites in the past (including the Sprague Mansion in Cranston), but the first season of the show offered local color only in dribs and drabs. In addition to multiple establishing shots of TAPS' backyard trailer headquarters and high-speed montages of area highways, the alert Rhode Island viewer can spot a handful of other familiar places and situations. The second show of the first season includes an interlude during which Jason and Grant scarf hot weiners at Harry's New York System in Warwick while discussing volunteer technician Brian Harnois's many screwups. In the episode in which the team first visits Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary, Jason and Grant discuss the case while fixing a sink at The Abbey, a pub located at 686 Admiral Street in Providence. Then, in a true Rhode-Island-is-small moment, a later episode has team interviewer Donna LaCroix popping in on Jason and Grant while they are doing some plumbing work in the basement of a local home. She was on her way to a birthday lunch at Twin Oaks in Cranston when she spotted the Roto Rooter truck and decided to say hi.

The second season offered far more Ocean State scenery as the team got to investigate several spots closer to home. Their higher national profile brought them their own storefront on Route 117 in Apponaug, Warwick, and four spiffy new vans, donated by GMC.

A house in Cranston, owned by Ken DiRaimo, is the focus of investigation in a show that debuted August 3, 2005. The team picks up some alleged ghostly whispers there, and during a short day-job interlude, Grant and Jason fix a sink at the Warwick Holiday Inn Express. On the August 24, 2005, show the boys check out the Harris Fire Station in Coventry, where volunteers claim to see ghostly silhouettes. While there, the team also try to find a logical explanation for the spontaneous activation of a set of safety monitors and a surround sound system. The September 7, 2005, episode finds the gang examining the spooky home of Norma Sutcliffe, somewhere in the northern part of the state. In between ghost-busting chores, Grant and Jason somehow find the time to fix a dishwasher at Buttonwoods Fish and Chips in Warwick. TAPS then spends a night in luxury when they are invited to explore the Astors mansion in Newport for the September 14, 2005, episode.

Season three's June 20, 2007, episode brought us to the home of Lynn and Michael Tedeschi, at 41 Eastman Street in Warwick, where the family reports problems with a ghost cat, electronic toys that turn themselves on, weird sounds, and the feeling of being watched in the laundry room. Our boys find loose pipes and high EMF readings, but no explanation for a toy that seems to respond to human voices—but then they never actually examine the toy.

The General Stanton Inn in Charlestown is the focus of the following week's episode. General Manager Karilee Dahl leads the guys through the building, describing various ghostly encounters, including a patron who "saw something... over there," a male apparition spotted in the Washington Room, the finger of a manikin that was thrown at a workman in the attic, and two instances where Dahl herself claims she was tapped on the shoulder in otherwise empty rooms (in the Washington and Williamsburg Rooms). Established in 1667, the inn started as a schoolhouse for the children of General Stanton and local Indians. The boys perform their usual investigation of the building, as well as the cemetery out back that contains the remains of Joseph Stanton and his wife. They gather unimpressive evidence in the form of EVPs, thermal imaging glitches, and a personal experience of hearing a door closing followed by footsteps. Research reveals that Stanton had a daughter who died young, which is obvious validation of a split-second EVP that "sounds like" a little girl. Steve's expert scientific opinion: haunted!

In what is probably the shortest distance the team has ever had to travel for an investigation, they head next door in the July 11, 2007, episode to explore Warwick City Hall. Employee Bob Martin explains that fellow employees have reported the unexplained smell of cigar smoke, feelings of being watched, and the sounds of crying women in the basement. (The basement was once used as a jail, with men on one side and women on the other). He also shows off an apparition that was caught on a web cam in the council chambers. Jason and Grant are unable to offer an explanation for the blurry man seen in the footage, although they establish that it's physically impossible for a person to traverse the room without being caught at least once by a camera set to take photos at three-second intervals. Impossible that is, if the camera really was set that way, but the guys aren't shown following up that line of reasoning. As usual there are a lot of dramatic "What was that!?"s, followed by a commercial break, but nothing much actually happens.

Sprague Mansion in Cranston is one of the subjects of the October 17, 2007, episode, "Houses of the Holy." Cyril Place, goth photographer and Vice President of the Cranston Historical Society gives the boys the lowdown. The place is supposedly haunted by the ghosts of Amasa Sprague, who was murdered in 1843, and by Kate Chase Sprague, who died in 1899. A man in black has been seen on the stairs; a strange presence has been felt and footsteps heard in the doll closet; a woman has been seen in the window of Amasa's bedroom and in the cupola; cold spots have been felt, and jellyfish-like orbs have been photographed in the cellar. During the investigation Jason feels a spider or cobweb on his neck in the cellar, and Steve feels the same in Amasa's room. Dustin and Tango debunk the figure in the cupola. Back in the cellar, Jason and Grant hear breathing (a digital recording sounds more like white noise), try to track a cold spot, and dismiss the jellyfish orbs as light artifacts. In the doll closet, Steve thinks something touched his leg. How come these sorts of things never happen to us when we visit the Sprague Mansion?

Jason is called back to Rhode Island from an investigation in Salem, Massachusetts, in the October 24, 2007, episode, because his son, Logan, broke his arm. Brief exterior shots of Hasbro Children's Hospital are included.

For season four TAPS moved to new headquarters at 2362 West Shore Road in Warwick. A few episodes (which otherwise had no local content) open with Jason and Grant performing their plumbing duties at recognizable area businesses—West Shore Butcher Block at 2424 West Shore Road on September 3, 2008, and Honda Suzuki World‎ at 250 Oakland Beach Avenue on October 8.

In the March 26, 2008, episode the guys visit the Cashtown Inn in Cashtown, Pennsylvania, which was used as a field hospital in the Civil War. While doing some EVP work on the third floor, Grant tries to engage some spirits in conversation with the opening gambit of, "This is Jason, I'm Grant... we're from Rhode Island." Amusingly enough, the spirits seem to respond with a series of sounds that Jason and Grant interpret as booted footsteps. Funny, but inconclusive of anything.

The Ruff Stone Tavern, 17 Metcalf Avenue, North Providence, is one of the settings for the April 16, 2008, episode. Heather Feeley, bartender at the Ruff Stone, explains that the building goes back to 1873, and that, among the phenomena that people have experienced is a sighting of a shadowy man with a top hat and pipe, the musky scent of a woman when no woman is near, kitchen doors that seem to move on their own, and a creepy basement. The boys debunk pretty much everything, finding that the drawers of an old fixture are musty smelling, that the kitchen doors move because of suction when an outside door opens and closes, and that the basement is the site of high EMF readings, creating a "fear cage."

The September 10, 2008, episode features the Slater Mill Historical Site in Pawtucket, where the team prowls around the Slater and Wilkinson Mills. The production was on site from May 11 to 17, with the reveal being filmed on the 15th. The Sylvanus Brown House was used by the TAPS team as a base of operations. At the beginning of the segment Jason and Grant mention that they each visited Slater Mill as kids on school field trips.

North Kingstown takes a turn in the infrared spotlight in the September 17, 2008, episode, when the team tackles the Hoof Fin Feathers Carriage Inn at 1065 Tower Hill Road. Now a restaurant, the place was reportedly once a brothel. Employees and patrons claim to have seen a badly burned little girl, a little boy whose dad was supposedly hung in one of the rooms, and a ghostly whore or two. Grant and Jason capture an EVP of what they think sounds like a child's voice, but otherwise don't have much to show for their time.

The October 8, 2008, episode offers another thinly-veiled Roto Rooter advertisement as Jason and Grant take a call about a potential investigative opportunity while working on a toilet in a motorcycle shop. We believe the location is Honda Suzuki World‎ at 250 Oakland Beach Avenue in Warwick.

Slim pickings for Rhode Islandophiles in season five, but there was one bright spot: the investigation of Newport's Belcourt Castle. The episode, titled "Soul Searching," aired April 8, 2009.

Season six was similar, with only one in-state location to boast of. This time it was Rose Island Lighthouse, situated just outside Newport Harbor in Narragansett Bay. "Signals from the Past" aired September 22, 2010.

Then came season seven. Episode 11 ("Urgent," aired August 24, 2011) includes an investigation of a private home in Woonsocket. In Episode 13 ("Dark Shadows," aired September 7, 2011), the team tackles Seaview Terrace in Newport, the mansion used as the setting for the 1960s supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows. And if you thought the show jumped the shark back in 2006 when professional wrestler CM Punk was allowed to tag along on an investigation, it should have come as no surprise when fellow Rhode Islander Meredith Vieira was brought in as a guest investigator for episode 20 ("Murdered Matron," aired October 26, 2011). Because when you think paranormal, you think Meredith Vieira.

Oh god, there's a season eight. The teams slogs through Providence City Hall (episode 6, "City Hell," aired February 15, 2012), and the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, South Kingstown (episode 7, "Frighternity," aired April 11, 2012). By this point even lead investigator Grant Wilson is bored, and he makes a much-hyped exit in the season finale.

In season nine the Grant-less Hunters examine the ghostly goings-on at Block Island's Surf Hotel and Cyr House (episode 15, "Shock Island," aired October 23, 2013), and Cumberland's Public Library at the old monastery (episode 22, "Nine Men's Misery," aired February 26, 2014).

Occasionally, the guys do find something that's pretty eerie, but for the most part the spooky goings-on are easily dismissed. One wonders, with the billions of people who have died since the beginning of time, why more paranormal activity hasn't been recorded. If deaths connected with sensory or emotional agony or outrageous injustice make for restless spirits, surely we should be up to our eyeballs in possessed dolls, headless horsemen, walls that drip blood, and the vengeful spirits of murder victims. But what do we get? Dust motes, badly exposed film, and static. Phooey.

As a side note, Rhode Island twins Carl and Keith Johnson showed up a few times during the first season. Carl is the host of the annual H.P. Lovecraft memorial service, held at Providence's Ladd Observatory each spring. He and his brother were touted as the show's demonologists, but their participation was limited to blessing and cleansing buildings of spirits. Sadly, they never had the chance to go up against head-spinning or pea-soup-spewing little girls.

HERstory: The Founding Mothers of Johnson & Wales University (PBS, 2004) documentary

This half-hour film by Johnson & Wales University professor Marian Gagnon details what is known about the two women, Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales, who founded J&W as a business school for women in 1914. Told mostly through interviews with some of the few surviving students who attended the school in the 1930s and early 1940s, the film documents Gertrude's and Mary's lives, their trailblazing within higher education, and their contributions to the women's movement.

Johnson & Wales opened out of a house at 250 Hope Street in 1914 with one student and one typewriter. The school subsequently moved to 222 Olney Street, then 36 Exchange Place, then the sixth floor of the Gardner Building at 40 Fountain Street. Today the university occupies more than fifty buildings in downtown Providence, as well a complex of buildings, located off Narragansett Boulevard, known as the Harborside Campus. As of 2008 J&W had over 16,000 students at six campuses around the country.

Two follow-up documentaries, Johnson & Wales University's Men of Vision (2008) and Jack Yena's Legacy: Finding a Sense of Place (2011) chronical the next phases in the school's life.

Mystic Voices: The Story of the Pequot War (PBS, 2004) documentary

As the title says, this documentary, filmed partially in Rhode Island and on Block Island, tells the story of the 1636-1638 Pequot War. The film's Rhode Island premiere took place at the Columbus Theatre in Providence during the Rhode Island International Film Festival, August 10-15, 2004. Rhode Island PBS (WSBE-TV) hosted the television premiere on November 18, 2004.

Co-Producer Guy Perrotta dropped us a line to let us know that "we did some shooting at the Norman Bird Sanctuary [in Middletown]... Roger Williams and Narragansett sachem Miantonomo are major figures in our dramatic reenactments. Staff and members of the Rhode Island Indian Council and Roger Williams Memorial aided in the production and special events. And Charlestown also served as an interview location. It was great to work in your state!"


Wife Swap (ABC, 2004-2010) reality series

Train wrecks don't get much more voyeuristic than this delightful offering. If you've been dealing with your own life rather than watching those of others on reality television, the premise is this: two very different families exchange wives for two weeks, in return for $20,000 and a whole lot of aggravation. At least two Rhode Island families thought this sounded like a good idea.

The Heiss family was in the local news back in 2004 because they were involved in a feud with their Warwick neighbors. This brought them to the attention of Wife Swap producers, and after a bit of paperwork, some routine background checks, drug and psychological tests, they were in.

Their episode, in which "upscale housewife" Susan Heiss was switched with Sienna Kestrel, a hippie from Virginia, premiered November 7, 2005. Camera crews were at the Heiss's Cowesett house eighteen hours a day for eleven days in September 2005, during which time they captured Sienna throwing an ear of corn at "hubby" Ed Heiss' head, and her attempts to convince him to wear a skirt. Meanwhile, down in Virginia, Susan Heiss was contending with unemployed, dreadlocked Ash Kestrel, as well as the Kestrel's pigsty of a house.

Susan Heiss later said she signed her family up for the show in order to shake them up, get them to appreciate her more, and help out around the house—a strategy that she says worked. "Nothing would have changed in this house unless something really drastic happened." Not only does he help out more around the house, but Ed Heiss kept his skirt. "I'll probably wear it in the summer, just for laughs."

It says a lot about American tastes in television entertainment that Wife Swap is still on the air in 2008. We had actually forgotten all about it until seeing an article about another Rhode Island family, the Childs of Pawtucket, that decided to jump into the reality TV muck. This time the producers decided to see what would happen if they mixed a conservative Christian family—the Childs—with a liberal Christian family—the Beckman-Hesketts of Colorado. The episode was shot over about sixteen days in the second half of August 2007.

The Childs family is ruled by father Chris (who refers to himself as "the guard on the wall" and "the gatekeeper"), with an iron and slightly maniacal fist. His five daughters, ranging in age from two to eighteen, are taught that their sole purpose in life is to be good wives and mothers. They are forbidden to date until they are "ready" for marriage, at which time, Chris believes, their husbands will be revealed to them by God. Chris even admits at one point, proudly, that he is brainwashing his children. Chris' wife, Lee-Ann, as any good help-mate should, does her best to forward his agenda, and she instantly shuts up when Chris' sharp glance tells her she's demonstrating a little too much independent thought.

On the other side of the coin we have the Beckman-Hesketts. Wife Kim is a corporate vice-president; husband Randall stays at home with the couple's two twelve-year-old daughters. Their brand of Christianity is far more humanistic, informed largely by Randall's background as an academic theologian. While the daughters are not yet dating, Kim and Randall seem to look forward to that stage of their daughters' lives. The children are taught that they have choices in both future relationships and careers.

The results of this clash of values are unpredictable only to those who believe that all Christians are alike. Chris Childs is shown to be a control freak who walks away any time Kim tries to talk with him about ideas outside his narrow worldview. Kim's attempts to open thirteen-year-old Columbia Childs' eyes to possibilities beyond domestic servitude lead Chris to kidnap her in order to get her away from Kim's evil. Randall Beckman-Heskett doesn't come off much better. A surplus of education and a shadowy past in which he apparently suffered some form of religious abuse leads him to alternately lecture or break down crying when interacting with Lee-Ann Childs. Lee-Ann badgers the Beckman-Heskett kids into writing non-dating vows, which they later recant.

In the end, no one really seems to have learned anything. Unless, that is, you think that Chris Childs' new willingness to cook dinner sometimes is a huge breakthrough.

Al Roker's Diner Destinations (Fod Network, 2005) travelogue

Using Providence's Johnson & Wales University Culinary Museum and Archives as a base, Al visits a number of diners around the country in this Food Network special (episode ARSP16). One of the featured diners is Pawtucket's Modern Diner, owned by 1977 Johnson & Wales graduate Nick Demou.

As of August 2005 the museum was showing the episode on a continuous loop as part of their Diners: Still Cookin' in the Twenty-First Century exhibit.

Breaking Vegas (History Channel, 2005) documentary series

An episode entitled "Counterfeit King" takes a look at Louis B. Colavecchio, a former North Providence tool-and-die maker who used his skills for evil. In 1996 he fashioned counterfeit slot machine tokens that were almost as good as the real thing, and used and distributed them in casinos in New Jersey and New England. He was arrested in Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino in December 1996 by the FBI and New Jersey State Police, and earned himself a twenty-seven-month federal sentence.

The episode first aired on April 5, 2005.

Upon his release from prison Colavecchio seemed to go straight for a while, running a business fabricating metal orthotic devices, but in November 2006 he was again arrested for allegedly making dummy slot machine tokens. Rhode Island State Police held an auction of his counterfeiting machinery in September 2008. Colavecchio, out on bail at the time, told a Providence Journal reporter that he might attend, saying, "I could tell [potential buyers] a lot of stuff. They may know how it works, but it's been, let me say, 'modified'... so some things are not exactly as they seem." No word on if the machinery sold, or to whom.

Dirty Jobs (2005—) documentary series

After five seasons and more than 200 dirty jobs all over the country, host Mike Rowe finally makes his way to Rhode Island, to Newport Distilling Company in Newport, to learn the filthier points of distilling Thomas Tew Rum. Under the tutelage of Head Distiller Brent Ryan, Mike mixes ingredients, jokes about bung holes, seals bottles of rum with wax, and takes full advantage of the Sternewirth Privilege (a tradition that allows brewery workers to knock some back on the job). The episode was filmed in August 2010 and aired January 11, 2011.

Holy Water-Gate: Abuse Cover-Up in the Catholic Church (2005) documentary

In this documentary Warren resident Mary Healey-Conlon tackles the thorny subject of pedophile priests and the Catholic church's practice of shuffling suspected perpetrators between parishes. While working as a legal assistant on behalf of some of the victims, Healey-Conlon found out that Father James Silva, a former pastor at her family's church, St. Matthews in Cranston, was one of the accused. Compelled to dig deeper, she began collecting the stories of Rhode Islanders who claimed to have been victimized as children, but then expanded her net to include compelling testimony from other parts of the country. Between 1999 and 2005 Healey-Conlon collected 350 interviews and spent $180,000, even refinancing her home at one point to fund the project. The finished fifty-six-minute film is a dense overview of a scandal and cover-up that was standard practice in the Church since at least 1950. Woven through are the stories of five individual victims, including Rhode Islander Lee White who details his abuse at the hands of Father Silva.

Holy Water-Gate won Best Documentary at the 2005 Rhode Island International Film Festival.

How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 2005-2013) situation comedy

The wedding of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) in the last season took place at Castle Hill Inn in Newport. It was known as the Fairhampton Inn on show.

Intervention (A&E, 2005—) documentary series

Season 5, episode 9 (aired August 11, 2008) features a girl named Allison who is addicted to inhaling propellant from cans of compressed air. Yes, grandma, that's a thing. Anyway, Allison lives in Newport. Folks familiar with the area claim she lives in "the Goat Island neighborhood," although they probably mean the Point neighborhood. The Walmart from which Allison buys ten cans of computer duster a day is located at 199 Connell Highway. The hotel where the attempted intervention takes place is probably the Holiday Inn Express at 855 West Main Road in Middletown. The episode also features cameos by the Newport Police, Newport Hospital, and T.F. Green Airport.

Look What I Did! (HGTV, 2005) home improvement series

Fifteen minutes of fame? Jennifer and David Clancy of Jamestown got shortchanged. They only got four minutes out of episode HLWID-205 to show off the spare bedroom they remolded into a "funky rustic bathroom." Both are glassblowers by trade and they worked together to create a custom hand-blown glass sink for the room. They fashioned shower walls out of sheet aluminum and surfaced the floor of the shower with loose rocks from the foundation of their house.

Moving Up (TLC, 2005-2008) home improvement series

S1E13, "From Brother's Rest to Lover's Nest" (2005) shows the reactions of the former owners of a couple of Newport properties to changes made by the new owners.

No Simple Truth (PBS, 2005) documentary

This seven-minute film by Jamestown resident Elizabeth Delude-Dix takes a look at the relationship between a master and his slaves in 1740s and '50s Narragansett. The master is the Reverend James MacSparran, minister of St. Paul's Church in Saunderstown, and owner of a one-hundred-acre plantation on the Pettaquamscutt River. The majority of the narration in the film (voiced by Trinity Rep actor William DamKoehler) is derived from MacSparran's diary, in which he recorded mundane details of day-to-day life on the farm. Gauzy summer scenes of slaves working in the fields, repairing stone walls, and sneaking off for a little afternoon delight are juxtaposed with passages expressing frustration with slaves who slack off, run away, or engage in unsanctified sexual congress.

The short was filmed at Watson Farm in Jamestown and in the old St. Paul's Church cemetery in Saunderstown. The film premiered on Rhode Island PBS on September 29, 2005, and has since had showings in many local venues.

The Office (NBC, 2005—) sitcom

In season 7, episode 17 ("Threat Level Midnight," aired February 17, 2011), Michael Scott (Steve Carell) screens his dream movie, eleven years in the making, for the employees of Dunder Mifflin. One of the first shots is a still photo that appears to have been clipped from a realtor's ad, labeled "Scarn Manor, 451 Hanover Lane, Clarks Summit, PA, 18411." The mansion shown is The Breakers.

Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels (Food Network, 2005—) food travel series

A film crew from the Food Network descended upon Providence in April 2008 and shot footage at the following local eateries: CAV, Al Forno, Cuban Revolution, Geoff's Superlative Sandwiches, Haven Brothers, Julian's, La Laiterie at Farmstead, Nicks on Broadway, Olga's Cup and Saucer, Pastiche, Seaplane Diner, Waterplace Restaurant, and 10 Prime Steak and Sushi. Ray didn't show her face in our fair capital city herself, opting instead to lend color commentary from her New York City studio.

Supernatural (The WB, 2005-2006; The CW, 2006—) sci-fi series

Season 6, episode 13 ("The Unforgiven," aired February 11, 2011) takes place in a fictionalized Bristol that bears very little resemblance to the real thing. Most filming for this series is done in Vancouver, British Columbia, and it's obvious that the writers and producers didn't do a lot of research to get the details right for this episode. They understood, at least, that the town is close to water, and so we get a fanciful "Welcome to Bristol, Rhode Island," sign that incorporates a lighthouse and an octopus; and a seafood restaurant, Captain (illegible)'s Buccaneer. GPS coordinates (41.7088, -71.2735) received by one of the main characters via text message pinpoint a private residence at 21 Sachem Road in Bristol, but that specific location doesn't figure in the story. None of the characters encountered in this fake Bristol has a Rhode Island accent, and an online rag called The Bristol Sun is offered as a local news source, but the most blatantly wrong element of the show is that they'd have us believe Bristol County has a sheriff.

Taste of America (Travel Channel, 2005) travel series

On July 8, 2005, a crew from the Travel Channel's Taste of America show spent the day filming an authentic New England clambake at Mount Hope Farm in Bristol. The bake, catered by McGrath Clambakes of Newport, was organized to thank forty or so local residents who had donated time to the non-profit farm in the past year. The half-hour show was projected to air in October 2005.

Threshold (CBS, 2005) sci-fi series

In the seventh episode of this short-lived sci-fi series, a team of experts is dispatched to Braxton, "a small town on the Eastern shore of Rhode Island," to investigate strange dreams experienced by residents which may be evidence of extraterrestrial activity. The dreams were found to be a kind of infection, the source of which was traced to "Eddie's Clam Shack," where the owner had made a counter out of a piece of flotsam he found on the beach. None of the scenes were actually filmed in Rhode Island. The episode aired on October 21, 2005.

Action Blast! aka MonkeyBar TV (G4, 2006-2007) animation series

This was a one-hour animation block bracketed by live action spots, and apparently (according to IMDB), some of those live action spots were shot at Club Ultra, 172 Pine Street, Providence, and the Providence Public Library. The show was produced by Pawtucket-based Hasbro, and was essentially a one-hour commercial for their Transformers and G.I. Joe properties.

Brotherhood (Showtime, 2006-2009) drama series

Originally to be called Southie, then The Hill, Brotherhood is the first television series to be filmed entirely in Rhode Island. Shooting for the pilot began in Providence on August 30, 2004. Once the show was picked up, the remainder of the season was filmed between July 6 and November 16, 2005.

The number of recognizable locations and references used in this series is unprecedented in Rhode Island television history. It was said by at least one commentator that Providence amounted to a separate and distinct character in the NBC series Providence, but if the city was a bit player on that show, it's a headliner in Brotherhood, and the part it's playing is a dark one. Many have complained that it's just wrong that the show should be about Irish politicians and gangsters on "The Hill," when locals all know that Providence's Federal Hill was the home of the New England Italian Mafia for several decades. But we think grousing that Providence is playing against type is like complaining that Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't really an indestructible assassin robot from the future. Besides, the other location option was Toronto, so why not suspend your disbelief and enjoy the show?

The story centers around two Irish-American brothers, Tommy and Michael Caffee (Jason Clarke and Jason Isaacs)—one an up-and-coming politician, the other an ambitious gangster. The parallels with real-life brothers William and James J. "Whitey" Bulger of Boston are inescapable. As different as their life paths may seem, the Showtime series paints the brothers as very much alike, with each displaying varying shades of good and evil behavior.

A sneak preview of the pilot episode was given at Avon Cinema on Thayer Street on June 26, 2006, and the first season of the show began its run on Showtime on July 7, 2006. As of October 2006 (end of season one) it was estimated that Brotherhood had brought as much as $40 million to the local economy.

So much of Brotherhood's world is intertwined with the real world of Providence and Rhode Island that we decided to give it its own page. Visit The World of Brotherhood and explore.

Cultivating Life with Sean Conway (PBS, 2006-2010) outdoor living series

Host Conway uses his former Nursery for Uncommon Plants at 3941 Main Road in Tiverton Four Corners as a production set for his show, and segments are often shot at locations around the state and in nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Decoding Disaster (Discovery Times, 2006-2007) documentary series

This series got off to a rocky start when it examined "Nightclub Nightmares" in its first episode, dealing primarily with the February 20, 2003, West Warwick Station Nightclub fire in which 100 people died. The trouble stemmed from the use, without permission, of copyrighted footage shot by Channel 12 News at the nightclub as the fire began and patrons pushed for the exits. Especially in contention was disturbing footage of concertgoers piled in the front doorway. The show premiered February 26, 2006, prompting TVL Broadcasting, owner of Channel 12, to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

In a settlement reached in July of the same year, TVL agreed to license the video scenes used by Granada America, the production company behind Decoding Disaster, with the exception of one scene and the stipulation that the faces of fire victims be blurred.

About thirty-five minutes of the hour-long show are devoted to the Station tragedy. (The rest has to do with the E2 nightclub stampede in Chicago on February 17, 2003—the Channel 12 footage referenced above was, ironically, made for a news segment on nightclub safety in the wake of the E2 disaster.) In addition to the news footage, the episode includes survivor interviews, computer simulations, and physical recreations of the event with and without sprinklers. Visits to the nightclub site (now a vacant lot strewn with crosses, photographs, and mementos), and a memorial at St. Anne's Cemetery in Cranston round out the episode.

Guy's Big Bite (Food Network, 2006—) cooking show

In S3E9, "Boardwalk Wieners," host Guy Fieri prepares Rhode Island style hot wieners. He says his in-laws live in North Providence and he always has to have hot wieners when he visits. Wiener purists will note that Fieri uses hot dogs instead of wieners and applies the mustard in the wrong order—after the sauce and onions, but before the celery salt. As for the episode title, did he think he was in New Jersey? Rhode Island has no boardwalks to speak of, and certainly no boardwalks with hot wiener joints.

Fieri's recipe (from the Food Network website) is as follows:

  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 yellow onions, minced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound ground beef, 80/20
  • ¼ cup water
  • 20 hot dogs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 20 hot dog buns
  • Yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons celery salt

In a medium sauté pan over medium heat add margarine and one minced onion. Sauté till translucent, but do not brown. Next add chili powder, paprika, allspice, curry, dry mustard, and cinnamon. Then add beef, stir thoroughly and cook for five minutes, add water and simmer over medium to low heat for thirty minutes.

In a medium sauce pot boil hot dogs with salt. Place a cookie cooling rack over the pot and use it to steam buns.

When meat is done simmering, add meat mixture to the hot dog in the bun, top evenly with minced onion, yellow mustard, and a sprinkle of celery salt.

See our Hot Weiner Sauce page for many, many more sauce recipes.

Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger (Food Network, 2006—) cooking series

In a show from season three, episode thirteen entitled "North South East West," East is represented by Rhode Island clam chowder. Krieger uses leaner Canadian bacon instead of regular bacon to make a healthy meal even healthier.

Jim Knox's Wild Zoofari (PBS, 2006-2007) educational series

Knox takes us to Roger Williams Park Zoo to see moon bears, Asian black bears, snow leopards, Masai giraffes, harbor seals, and bison. We meet Lou Perrotti, Conservation Programs Coordinator, who shows off his American Burying Beetle breeding program, and has kids help plant some plants for Karner blue butterflies to feed on. Then we see some white-cheeked gibbons, cotton-top tamarins, and radiated tortoises. The show itself is pretty slapdash as about half-way through we realize that we're supposed to be solving some kind of "mystery," but the "clues" are so lame that we can only wait for the host to reveal what he's nattering on about. Still, this is for small kids, and they probably won't notice the crappy scripting.

Mega Movers (History Channel, 2006-2007) engineering series

This is one of those shows that can elicit Tim Allen-style grunts from the wimpiest of guys. But really, what words would suffice to describe the pride and awe we feel while watching our fellow human beings accomplish seemingly impossible feats of engineering? One such that hits close to home for Rhode Islanders is the May 10, 2007, episode, "Really Big Bridges," in which the new Providence River Bridge (aka the Iway Signature Bridge) is floated up Narragansett Bay and moved into place just south of the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier in Providence. At 160 feet wide, it's the world's widest network arch bridge, and possibly the first of its kind in the United States. Its five million pounds of steel (equal in weight to seventeen 747s), distributed across two barges, were moved by Dutch company Mammoet from a pier in Middletown. Five tugboats guided the massive load up the bay at an average speed of five knots, a trip that took three-and-a-half hours. Part of the multi-year Route 195 Relocation Project, the bridge was opened to traffic in 2007 (eastbound) and 2009 (westbound).

My House Is Worth What? (HGTV, 2006—)

Because one show for people who enjoy learning the values of other peoples' properties, but don't find enough entertainment in looking the numbers up on the internet, isn't enough, here's another. Featured Rhode Island cities and towns are as follows:

HHWW-101C, Barrington

HHWW-106, Cranston (Becky and Victor):

HHWW-1301H, Cranston (Lisa and John)

Cranston (Darren and Natasha):

Cumberland (Linda and Andrew):

HHWW-510, Pawtucket (Jennifer and Jeremy):

HHWW-1310H, Providence (Ray and Janice)

HHWW-1313H, Providence (Tad and Scott)

Warwick (David and Roberta):

Platinum Weddings (WeTV, 2006-2010) reality series

Ever wonder what it would look like if you took all the money you'd spend on a house and blew it on a fancy weekend party instead? Well wonder no more, just tune into Platinum Weddings and watch bright-eyed young couples treat money like toilet paper.

Michelle and John Bannon of Tampa, Florida, in their eponymous episode, choose Newport as the location for their destination wedding. The weekend begins with a tour of Narragansett Bay aboard the Schooner Aurora for the couple's out-of-town guests. The next day Castle Hill Inn is the setting for the bridesmaids' lunch. The evening brings a clam bake at Eisenhower House, hosted by McGrath's Clambakes. The wedding itself takes place on the final day at St. Augustine Catholic Church, 2 Eastnor Road, Newport, followed by the reception at OceanCliff Hotel. Total cost of the weekend: $402,000. The wedding took place on August 22, 2009, and the episode first aired on March 14, 2010.

Speargun Hunter (Outdoor Channel, 2006—) sportfishing series

Some folks came to Block Island during the last week of June 2010, and went swimming. While they were doing that they shot some spears at some fish. And while they were doing that, they filmed it all for a two-part episode of this sportfishing series. According to the Block Island Times, "They fished the legal side of the Southwest Ledge, Black Rock, the wrecks of the Essex and Lightburne as well as off Clay Head." The episodes ("Stripers! Part 1: Block Island" and "Stripers! Part 2: Attack of the Triggerfish") were slated to air in January 2011.

30 Rock (NBC, 2006—) situation comedy

In S5E3, "Let's Stay Together," Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) testifies before congress about a media merger and is confronted by congresswoman Regina Bookman (Queen Latifah): "Mr. Donaghy, I represent Rhode Island's first congressional district. It's a diverse community, from the hardworking moms and dads of Smithfield, to the spoiled jags at Brown, to a thriving, flourishing Italian criminal element in Providence..."

Rhode Island's hardworking parents, "spoiled jags," and mob associates are joined by the mentally ill in S5E7, "Brooklyn Without Limits," when Donaghy tries to promote nut job Steve Austin (John Slattery) as an independent candidate for Regina Bookman's congressional seat.

Waterfront (CBS, 2006) drama series

Inexplicably cancelled with only five episodes in the can, and none aired, Waterfront was to have been another Providence politics-centered production, following in the footsteps of Brotherhood and preceding Michael Corrente's screen adaptation of the Mike Stanton book Prince of Providence. Like the latter, Waterfront centers around Providence's "wildly charismatic and ethically challenged mayor." Unlike the latter, Waterfront's mayor, Jimmy Centrella (Joe Pantoliano), was supposedly not based on Vincent "Buddy" Cianci. The other major character on the show is an ambitious state attorney general played by William Baldwin.

The pilot was shot between March 18 and April 3, 2006. Locations used included the real Providence mayor's office in City Hall, Capriccio and Hemenway's restaurants, Benefit Street, Waterplace Park, the state Department of Administration, a Route 195 construction site, the Licht Judicial Complex, and a mansion on Adams Point in Barrington.

Real-life Providence Mayor David Cicilline had a cameo in the pilot, playing a businessman at a groundbreaking near India Point. His second speaking part (he had one in Brotherhood, too), with the line, "What do I know, I'm a Jew from Boston," earned him membership in the Screen Actors Guild. While his office was being used as a set, Cicilline performed his city duties out of a conference room in another part of City Hall.

It was reported on May 17, 2006, that CBS had ordered an additional twelve episodes, and that the show would air as a mid-season replacement in January or March. In preparation for full-scale production beginning August 31, a former Alcoa Aluminum warehouse at 70 Industrial Lane in the Diamond Hill Industrial Park in Cumberland was transformed into a film studio. Production was expected to run through January 2007.

Production began on further episodes around August 31, 2006. Sets at the warehouse included a replica of the mayor's office, the attorney general's office, the mayor's East Side home, and a jail cell. The Valley Breeze reported that "Sharp-eyed audience members will see the mayor's real office in the pilot with green walls, while the subsequent episodes are in a terra cotta color." The set was outfitted with a set of heavy doors that exactly matched those back in the real City Hall, allowing characters to move between Cumberland and Providence seamlessly. The house used for the exterior establishing shots of Centrella's home is a Tudor located at 19 Stimson Avenue in Providence.

The Henry Barnard Elementary School on the campus of Rhode Island College was the scene of filming on September 19. The school was to appear in episode 3 as that attended by the mayor's daughter and the attorney general's son. Another of the mayor's daughters, Collette, a prosecutor in the Attorney General's office, was played in the series by Lincoln resident Natalia Cigliuti. On October 10, 2006, scenes were shot in DePasquale Square on Federal Hill and at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence. That night Pantoliano got the news the show was cancelled. Reasons given were that there was no room on the schedule, and one of the higher-ups was "unhappy with the show's direction" and "tone." Another reason may have to do with politics—Waterfront was produced by Warner Brothers, which doesn't enjoy the same corporate connection as some other shows produced under the umbrella of Viacom, which owns CBS.

At a screening of the pilot and first episode of the show at Tazza Caffe on the evening of October 23, Joe Pantoliano told the assembled crowd of actors, crew, local luminaries, and the curious, "We had not considered Providence at first. Frankly, it was the tax credit incentives that made this place interesting to us... But there is something very special about working in Providence. It's a very infectious place. You should be proud to work here and be able to raise your children here. The genuine feeling we had is that we didn't want to leave this place."

It's always possible the show may be retooled for a future season or picked up by another network, so all is not lost for Waterfront yet.

What You Get for the Money (HGTV, 2006—) real estate series

At least four ocean state homes have appeared on this scintillating show about property values. Episode HGFTM-406 (price point $700,000) features the 1915 Dutch Colonial home of Tom and Helen Louth at 33 Weymouth Lane, Warwick. The segment was filmed over four hours on September 10, 2006. Episode HGFTM-407 (price point $300,000) briefly shows Paul and Marna Krajeski's Cape Cod cottage in Peace Dale. A third house appears in episode HGFTM-410 (price point $700,000), and a Providence Victorian, home to a pair of married architects, is featured in HGFTM-509 (price point $400,000).

The Krajeski's cottage:

Marna Krajeski described her experience with the WGFTM crew in an email to us: "I noticed a very small blurb in the Projo that the HGTV show was coming to Rhode Island and wanted to profile houses of various prices. We live in Peace Dale in a small (1,200 square foot) home that is very comfortable and livable but reasonably priced (around 300K) for South County. The show asked for lots of pictures, which I sent, and then they scheduled a film crew. They were here in the summer of '06. The camera operator and producer spent most of the day here filming and doing a short interview with me. Very nice crew. The good thing was, their visit forced me to finish a bunch of home improvement tasks I'd been putting off (sort of like getting your house ready to sell!). From the hours of film footage they took, they aired a three-minute segment on the house and area. I thought it was a very positive profile of the neighborhood. And they mentioned my book [Household Baggage: The Moving Life of a Military Wife] at the end, which was great!"

World's Most Extreme Homes (HGTV, 2006—) extreme real estate series

One episode answers the decades-old question: What ever happened to the Block Island ferry Yankee?


Yankee served as a ferry between Providence and Block Island from 1947 to the 1980s.

Bristol's Fourth of July: A Celebration of History and Independence (PBS, 2007) documentary

The longest-running Independence Day celebration in the nation gets the documentary treatment in this film produced by Bristol native Mary Lou Palumbo. Interviews, vintage photographs, and archival film bring the old days of the parade, the Miss Fourth of July Pageant, the July Ball, and other associated events to life. Bristol's Fourth of July premiered on Rhode Island PBS on July 1, 2007.

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (Food Network, 2007—) food and travel series

In episode S2E3, "Seaside Eats," host Guy Fieri stops in to Evelyn's Nanaquacket Drive-In in Tiverton to sample their fried clams, clam cakes, clear clam chowder, and lobster chow mein. "As wrong as it is," says Fieri about the last, "it's right."

During the last week of July 2009 Fieri visited Louis Restaurant, 286 Brook Street, Providence; Crazy Burger, 144 Boon Street, Narragansett, and Liberty Elm Diner, 777 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. If you want to go to any of these places and eat what Guy ate, check out Louis' barbecued chicken-and-cheese ravioli and granola pancakes; Crazy Burger's Pacific Rim spring rolls, Luna Sea Burger, and Whasuppy Burger; and Liberty Elm's fresh turkey sandwich with sprouts, jonnycakes, and coffee milk.

Louis' appears in episode S7E11, "Family Style," first aired on November 2, 2009. Crazy Burger is featured in episode S8E3, "Stacked, Stuffed and Loaded," first aired on January 18, 2010. Liberty Elm shows up in episode S8E8, "Comfort Food Classics," first aired on February 22, 2010.

Angelo's Civita Farnese (Braciola, sliced beef over pasta with a red sauce) and Mediterraneo (Spaghetti alle Vongole, linguine and clams) are featured in episode S15E6, "East Coast Comfort," first aired on September 24, 2012. Filming at these locations took place in early June of the same year.

S15E8, "Burgers, Noodles and Quahogs," (aired October 8, 2012) brings the platinum-coiffed commentator to Middletown and Anthony's Seafood, there to witness the creation of Anthony's chorizo stuffies and Kung Pao calimari.

The October 15, 2012, show (S15E9, "Handcrafted") featured Italian Corner Deli and Market in East Providence. Brasato, an Italian slow roasted beef sandwich with salsa Rossa, and a homemade tortelli Bolognese are presented.

Aunt Carrie's gets the Fieri treatment in the October 29, 2012, episode (S15E11, "Food Done Right"). Aunt Carrie's clamcakes and scratch-made strawberry shortcake are the real stars of the show. The excitable host practically creams his jean-shorts when he learns from owner Elsie Foy that the special clamcake flour is mixed in a cement mixer, and that the clamcakes are fried in beef shortening. "Whoh-ho!" he hoots. "That's why you rock this!"

Giada's Weekend Getaways (Food Network, 2007-2008) food and travel series

Pretty bobble-head Giada de Laurentiis eats her way through Newport in Episode WG0104 of this travel series. Friday afternoon finds her driving a ScootCoupe from Scooters of Newport along Ten-Mile Drive, before dropping by The Mooring Restaurant for a lunch of Classic Mooring Clam Chowder and a Bag of Doughnuts (lobster, crab, and shrimp fritters with chipotle-maple dipping goo). Later she samples a portable clambake from McGrath Clambakes while hogging the one uncrowded spot on the deck of the Adirondack II. Giada starts her Saturday with a double espresso and chocolate chip banana bread from The Coffee Grinder at Bannister's Wharf, then endangers onlookers during tennis lessons at the Newport Casino. (Giada flexes her translation muscles, explaining that this particular casino is not a gambling den, but is named from the Italian casina, or "little summer house"). Afterwards she relaxes courtside with iced tea and a lobster roll from LaForge Casino Restaurant. Dessert is chocolate curry and cactus pear gelato from Cold Fusion Gelato on Thames Street. Dinnertime finds Giada at Asterisk, where she plies herself with yet more caffeine in the form of an espresso martini, to prepare herself to attack a small plate of Crispy Salmon with Mushroom Orzo and Red Wine Sauce. The weekend getaway finally comes to an end with a Sunday brunch of poached eggs and hollandaise sauce served over croquettes of lobster hash at the Castle Hill Inn. The episode first aired on April 6, 2007.

Glutton for Punishment (Food Network, 2007-2011) food series

S4E12, "Edible Car," finds host Bob Blumer "helping" Team Vegi-Might build a vehicle entirely out of food for Brown University's second annual Edible Car Competition. The race, involving twenty teams, took place on October 30, 2009, along Brown's Manning Walk. Side segments show Blumer picking out pumpkins to use as building materials at Frerichs Farm in Warren (filmed October 27), and hanging out in the kitchen of Brown's West House. Most of the vehicles fell apart after moving only a short distance. The race winner was Team Pumpkin Express with a distance of 174 feet. Team Vegi-Might came in third. The episode debuted March 15, 2010.

Going Up Home: The Passion of Atwater-Donnelly (PBS, 2007) documentary

This hour-long biographical documentary was written and directed by Uriah Donnelly, the youngest son of Aubrey Atwater and Elwood Donnelly, local traditional American and Celtic folk musicians. It talks about their childhoods, how they met in 1987 at a Stone Soup Coffeehouse in Providence and became a duo, then married in 1989. Highlights of their twenty-year career are enumerated, and the film also explores the influence the couple have had on other musicians. Going Up Home premiered on Rhode Island PBS on August 1, 2007.

The Greatest Salesman in Rhode Island (PBS, 2007) play

This is a one-act play based on an early short story by Rhode Island's Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Edwin O'Connor (The Last Hurrah). It takes place in fictional Providence radio station WEVB in the early 1940s and contains a number of references to real local businesses and institutions. The production was videotaped at the studios of WJAR in Cranston and Rosewood Productions of Lincoln. It premiered on Rhode Island PBS on March 26, 2008, and is slated to show up on PBS stations nationally in May.

I'm Paige Wilson aka I'm Paige Armstrong aka Capital City (The CW, 2007) drama series

This is a pilot for a series that was never picked up. The plot centered around Paige Wilson (Jaime Ray Newman), a young congressional aide who decides to run against her sleazy boss, Congressman Noah Benjamin Foxworthy (Will Lyman). Shooting took place between March 29 and April 3, 2007, in Providence and Newport, standing in for Washington, D.C. Providence also doubles as itself, as the title character hails from there. As in Amistad, the Rhode Island State House was used for its similarity to the United States Capitol Building. Rhody lawyer Brian Cunha's house in Newport, Beacon Rock, was decked out with roulette wheels and blackjack tables for a cocktail party and fundraiser at Foxworthy's D.C. mansion. Bravo Brasserie at 123 Empire Street in Providence was used as another D.C. location. It was reported that Providence Mayor David Cicilline was slated to play a part, but it's unclear if that ever came to pass.

Kitchen Nightmares (2007—) restaurant rehab series

Providence's DownCity restaurant gets the Gordon Ramsey treatment—amidst lots of yelling—in the March 11, 2011, episode. Ramsey's efforts focus mainly on convincing stubborn co-owner Abby Cabral to take his advice on changes to the menu and better ways to communicate with her staff. A test shoot (minus the host) was done at the restaurant on August 4, 2010, and actual filming for the episode took place December 9-12. Cav was also filmed at the same time, reportedly to serve as a local example of a successful, well-run restaurant, but the footage was never used.

Ramsey returned to Providence on July 5, 2011, to check on DownCity's progress. He found a restaurant that had seemingly learned from his contentious earlier visit, still rockin' the Ramsey-inspired menu and with much more harmonious relations between management and staff. The episode aired October 21, 2011. But the changes and notoriety weren't enough to save DownCity from a down economy, and the restaurant closed its doors forever on December 10, 2011.

The Protestant Reformation (BBC, 2007) documentary

This eight-part documentary includes footage shot at the Portsmouth Historical Society on June 3, 2006, for a segment on Julia Ward Howe and the part religion played in expanding the traditional role of women.

Suburban Secrets (Court TV, 2007—) true crime series

A crew was in Little Compton in early November 2006, and in Tiverton in early December, to shoot scenes for this crime series produced by the same company, Sirens Media, that did the lurid City Confidential. The Little Compton shoot was for an episode on the 1999 murder of Angela Spence-Shaw, and Commons Lunch, Sakonnet Point, South Shore Beach, the Little Compton police and fire station, Spence-Shaw's house at 127 Sakonnet Point Road, and the town commons were used as locations. Family Ties Restaurant, Weathervane Tack Shop, Four Corners Equestrian Center, and the Jaques estate at 149 Nanaquaket Road were used in the Tiverton episode, about the 1997 murder of Patricia Jacques.

The American Future: A History (BBC2, 2008) documentary mini-series

This four-part BBC miniseries explores American history in the context of the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. Part three, "American Fervour," delves into how "faith has shaped American political life." One of the filming locations is Touro Synagogue in Newport, the oldest surviving Jewish synagogue building in the United States. The four episodes ran on October 10, 17, 24, and 31, 2008 in the U.K., and combined into two parts on BBC America on January 19 and until 20, 2009, in the U.S..

Caring for Your Parents (PBS, 2008) documentary

Follows the stories of aging members of five Rhode Island families and how they are being cared for in their declining years. Featured locations include Brown University Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, The Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, Kent Hospital Wound Recovery Center in Warwick, Mansion Nursing Home in Central Falls, Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, and Woodpecker Hill Nursing Home in Coventry.

Chasing Classic Cars (Discovery, 2008—)

The 2009 Concours d'Elegance in Newport is featured in S2E3, "Duesenberg Barn Find." The event, which takes place each year at Fort Adams, is essentially an up-up-scale version of cruise night at the local diner, with the moneyed class showing off their classic luxury automobiles and competing for prizes.

Johnson & Wales University's Men of Vision (PBS, 2008) documentary

This follow-up to the 2004 documentary HERstory: The Founding Mothers of Johnson & Wales University picks up the story in 1947, when founders Gertrude Johnson and Mary Wales sold Johnson & Wales Business College to a pair of World War II Navy veterans, Morris Gaebe and Edward Triangolo.

A third documentray, Jack Yena's Legacy: Finding a Sense of Place (2011) completes the A University Comes of Age trilogy.

Man vs. Food aka Man vs. Food Nation (Travel Channel, 2008-2012) food tourism series

Man vs. Food had host Adam Richman roaming the country, undertaking gut busting eating challenges for our entertainment. After three seasons of that he handed the eating duties over to a series of "local champions" and the show was retitled Man vs. Food Nation.

Olneyville New York System began agitating for a spot on the show in July 2010. They created a Facebook group, optimistically named "1,000,000 Olneyville NY System Fans to have MAN VS FOOD come to Olneyville!," challenged locals to set a hot wiener-eating benchmark (the pre-show record was fifteen in forty-five minutes), and filmed and submitted an "audition video" to the show. The show eventually responded and taping took place at the Olneyville location on June 23, 2011.

By this time Man vs. Food had become Man vs. Food Nation, and the local challenger chosen to take on the hot wiener challenge was a member of the Rhode Island Rebellion rugby league, Connor McQuade. His task was to equal the pre-show record of fifteen in forty-five minutes.

To fill out the rest of the episode, and create suspense about the outcome of the challenge, Richman took side trips to highlight some of Providence's other notable menu items. He went to Haven Brothers for a Triple Murder Burger, and to Bob and Timmy's Grilled Pizza to sample their star attraction.

When the challenge came, the show insisted (and Richman advised) that the challenger be allowed to use any condiment he liked to help down the wieners. McQuade didn't like onions, so he smothered his wieners in ketchup to hide their taste. Weiner purists know this is sacrilege, and maybe the wiener gods looked unfavorably upon McQuade for this reason, for, although he started strong, averaging one wiener every two minutes for the first third of the contest, his enthusiasm soon flagged. When the clock timed out he still had two-and-a-half wieners left on his tray. Food had won.

The episode aired on August 10, 2011. Adam Richman tweeted that night that "Not only was it hard to say 'hot weiner' and not laugh—but Anthony Weiner was in the midst of his own weiner scandal when we shot."

As of February 2012, the records stands at eighteen for men (John Munroe), nine for women (Jessica Cousineau).

Moment of Luxury (PBS, 2008—) interior design series

Episode entitled "America's Castles: The First Gilded Age," shot on February 13 and 14, 2008. Premiered May 23, 2008. Locations: Rosecliff and the Chanler Hotel in Newport, and the Wakefield home of Kevin Farley.

New England Portrait: The History of New England Diners (PBS, 2008) documentary

Richard Gutman, director and curator of the Culinary Arts Museum on the Harborside Campus of Johnson & Wales University, provides color commentary in support of interviews with local diner owners and patrons. Profiled Rhode Island diners include Hope Diner in Bristol; Champ's Diner in Woonsocket; Bishop's Diner in Newport, and Haven Brothers in Providence. Premiered on Rhode Island PBS on June 2, 2008.

Parking Wars (A&E, 2008—) reality series

"I was only gone for like, two minutes!" The activities of Providence parking enforement officers became part of the show beginning with season 6 (February-May 2012). Locations shown include Downcity, the East Side, Smith Hill, Federal Hill, Olneyville, and the West End. Judge Frank Caprio and his traffic court make a few appearances.

Partnership Runs Deep (NBC, 2008) documentary

This thirty-minute documentary tells how, during AUV Fest 2008, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center partnered with the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project for two main purposes: 1) to test out AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) technology in real world situations, and 2) to map the floor of Narragansett Bay and catalog any possible sites of historical significance. In particular, the machines are shown searching for the remains of two British frigates, the HMS Cerberus and the HMS Lark, which were burned or scuttled in August 1778 to prevent their capture by the French.

Some re-enactments were filmed at Coggeshall Farm using members of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment. Battle scenes took advantage of the annual re-enacted Battle of Lexington Green in Lexington, Massachusetts. The other main location is, of course, Narragansett Bay. Scenes at the end with schoolchildren building their own AUVs were filmed at Thompson Middle School in Newport.

Renovation Nation (Planet Green, 2008-2010)

An episode that premiered May 15, 2009, featured green renovations at the 1854 Stone House in Little Compton. Projects include installation of ultra-thin "peel and stick" solar panels that can't be seen from the ground, geothermal wells, creative re-use of timbers from the barn, replacement of a cupola lost in a hurricane, and reconstruction of original porches. The episode was shot over two days in November 2008.

Road Tasted with the Neelys (Food Network, 2008—) travel and food series

The Neelys aren't a funny feeling, like the wimwams or the heebie jeebies, they're Patrick and Gina, a married couple who engulf all they encounter with their thick and syrupy southern personalities. In season 1 episode 10 (RN0110) of this culinary road trip show they venture north to our fair state to make and sample four items from local businesses. First stop is a bayside location in Middletown to make huge stuffies with Sandra Greenwood of Lighthouse Catering. Next we meet Bernadette Cicione who shows us part of the complex and subtle process that goes into making Ocean State Chocolates and Confections' Dark Chocolate Port Wine Barbecue Sauce. The recipe includes wine from Newport Vineyards and several kinds of chocolate for a multilevel taste profile. (Since this episode first aired on September 23, 2008, Cicione appears to have moved on to a new venture, Deluxcious Foods, based in Cranston). Cumberland's Phantom Farms is the third stop. There owner Kerri Stenovitch talks the Neelys through the creation of a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Mousse Roll and frightens them with the story of star-crossed Rebecca, who reputedly haunts the fields of the farm. Last on the agenda is Cory's Kitchen at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, where Steve Cory and his stepson Doug combine fresh strawberries, rhubarb, peaches, blueberries, and raspberries into a concoction they call Bumbleberry Jam.

The Rumford Baking Powder Company: The Past, Present, and Future (RIPBS, 2008) documentary

Description from the RIPBS website: "The Rumford Baking Powder Company is one of America's earliest entrepreneurial successes. Archival photos and the reminiscences of former employees tell the history of the manufacturing source of the familiar staple in every cook's kitchen: a tall red tin of Rumford Baking Powder. No longer the manufacturing powerhouse that shaped Rumford Village, Rumford Center is now reshaping itself, through adaptive reuse as a community of apartments, offices and shops."

Street Patrol (truTV, 2008—) reality series

One episode of this cop ride-along series shows Providence cops responding to a domestic disturbance call involving a brother and sister. The brother turns out to have outstanding warrants and gets a free ride downtown. Later our cops lend assistance during a drug bust. The buyer is already in custody when we arrive. When the seller is found, a pat down reveals something hidden in his sock, and he's arrested for possession of crack.

World's Toughest Fixes (NatGeo, 2008—) engineering series

An episode called "Giant Wind Turbine" concerns the installation of a 115-ton turbine at Portsmouth High School. The work took place between February 6 and March 3, 2009. Show host and master rigger Sean Riley helped move the pieces into place and, during a lull, sampled the stuffies at Fieldstones Grille, 980 East Main Road in Portsmouth.

The Wreck (in development hell) dramedy series

To the best of our knowledge this production is stalled in the planning stages. It seems producers originally approached Connecticut officials with the intention of setting and filming the series on the Nutmeg State's eastern shore. This was around December 2007, and a Connecticut General Assembly press release was even put out about it. But apparently that deal fell through, because come July of the next year producers were poking around Misquamicut, saying they'd like to do most of their filming there. Since then there's been no further movement on the project that we're aware of.

The Wreck is described as a combination of Northern Exposure, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Men in Trees, and Cheers. The setting for the hour-long show is a fictitious seaside bar on Misquamicut Beach. The owner of the bar (played by Robert Jordan) is a swamp yankee whose patrons include rich folks from Watch Hill.

The property has reportedly been in the works since 2001, the brainchild of writer and producer Wayne Holmes. If he hasn't yet given up, it may still see the light of day. By which time it will be filmed and set in Louisiana's Bayou Country.

Accidental Fortune (2009-2010) true story series

Best we can tell, this series tanked after three episodes. The premise was simple: tell the stories of ordinary folks who stumbled across valuable objects. The Rhode Island connection concerns Michael Westman, who, with friend Alan Golash, purchased a pearl brooch from a Newport antiques store for $14. One of the two purple pearls turned out to be one of the largest quahog pearls known, possibly worth as much as a million dollars.

A quick half-hour taping with Westman took place at Consignments Ltd in Wakefield on January 29, 2010, the original store having since gone out of business. The episode aired April 18, 2010.

The Best Thing I Ever Ate (Food Network, 2009—) food porn series

This show has celebrity chefs and other notables gushing about extraordinary gustatory delights. As of 2012, Rhode Island cuisine has been singled out for mention in three episodes.

In S1E4, "Sugar Rush," chef Alex Guarnaschelli extols the virtues of Al Forno's Golden Delicious Apple Tart.

In S2E8, "Crunchy," the Fried Clam on a Roll and the Fish and Chips at Flo's Clam Shack receive acclaim. Aired February 19, 2010.

In S3E3, "Regional Favorites," host Guy Fieri sings the praises of hot wieners from Olneyville New York System. Aired June 14, 2010.

The Dreamer (web, 2009) horror series

The Dreamer is a thirteen-part web series written and directed by Barrington High School senior Seth Chitwood. The series was filmed from May 2008 to August 2009, and the resulting nine- to eleven-minute webisodes premiered periodically from February 8 to August 22, 2009. Barrington, Newport, and Providence supplied the main locations.

Description from IMDB: "The Dreamer is... the story of Roger, a junior in college, who experiences weird night terrors. As the dreams get more and more vivid to Roger, the more his body begins to [be] possessed by the man in his dream. Meanwhile, detectives try to search for a man who has killed several people. Roger realizes that he may [be] dreaming about the man the detectives are looking for."

Eastwick (ABC, 2009-2010) drama series

Based on the John Updike novel The Witches of Eastwick, this series resurrects the fictional Rhode Island town of Eastwick (which itself was based on the real-world towns of East Greenwich and Wickford, although Updike never admitted it). Reportedly, while the series was filmed at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California, some b-roll shots were sourced locally.

Also, as noted by tvtropes.org, the writers of Eastwick are guilty of "So Calization," as the local law enforcement agency on the show is a sheriff's department. In Rhode Island the sheriff's department is a state-level organization that is mainly responsible for "courtroom/judicial security, court facility and cellblock operation, inmate transportation, interstate extraditions, interstate inmate transfers, writ service and body attachments," not ordinary law enforcement or investigations.

Empire State (ABC, 2009) pilot

According to a Rhode Island Film and TV Office press release the plot of this proposed drama series concerned "Two families—one of blue-collar ironworkers and the other of the wealthy real estate tycoons that run them—collid[ing] in present day Manhattan. At the center is a love story." Filming took place in a variety of urban settings around the state from March to May 2009. Unfortunately the pilot failed to generate interest and the show was not picked up.

House Rules (CBS, 2009) pilot

A Rhode Island Film and TV Office press release described this as "An ensemble drama following five freshman members of Congress." Filming for the pilot took place between March 18 and April 2, 2009. The Rhode Island State House was mentioned as the primary shooting location in the press release, and the Providence Journal took note of a shoot at the Westin Hotel on March 18. IMDB also lists Newport as a location. Like Empire State, this pilot also fell into the pit of obscurity and disappeared.

On a side note, the Journal reported on April 28 that a film crew working overnight in the State House on March 22 had reported an inebriated couple lurking around the production. It was found the next morning that someone had broken into House Majority Leader Gordon Fox's office and appeared to have made use of his couch. Subsequent investigation revealed that the male was a State House employee. Charges were dropped, however, and the names were not released.

The Jersey Shore (MTV, 2009—) reality series

This train wreck of a show features (among other self-absorbed twenty-somethings) Johnston resident Pauly D (Paul DelVecchio). We watch a lot of TV for this page, but we have to draw the line here. We can only assume from reports we've read that local scenery has appeared on the show. For instance, the Providence Journal reported on January 2, 2011, that "A MTV crew arrived in Johnston and filmed DelVecchio spinning music, using his home tanning bed, riding his motorcycle and styling his hair, which takes twenty-five minutes a day." Poor Johnston. First the landfill, now this.

Lunch (2009) pilot

Lunch is, so far, just a pilot for a possible sitcom, although it's listed on IMDB as a "TV movie." The concept involves four co-workers facing layoffs, and what they talk about at lunch. Filming locations included Warwick, Bristol (possibly Colt State Park), and Westport, Massachusetts, and shooting took place in June and July of 2009.

IMDB says the film was released on September 13, 2009, and was named an "official finalist" in the 2010 Las Vegas Film Festival Television Pilot Competition, but since then all seems quiet on the Lunch front.


The Most Terrifying Places in America (Travel Channel, 2009—) documentary series

Pawtucket's Slater Mill is a featured location in the third installment of this breathlessly lurid series. Witnesses report machinery that runs by itself, the ghostly voices of children, shadowy figures, and feelings of anger in the wheel pit of Wilkinson Mill.

Southside: The Fall and Rise of an Inner-City Neighborhood (PBS, 2009) documentary

Per a Brown University press release dated February 11, 2009, this fifty-five minute documentary by Brown University sociologist Hilary Silver "recounts the history of South Providence from its white ethnic and African-American origins through a period of depopulation and disinvestment, arson and abandonment, and the subsequent efforts of new and longtime residents and community organizations to revitalize the neighborhood, build new housing, and create new jobs." The film premiered on Rhode Island PBS on February 14.

Surprise Inspection (TruTV, 2009) reality series

Only two episodes of this show were ever made. The premise is a look into the working lives of public health inspectors, with visits to "restaurants, hotels, convenience stores, gas stations, stadium concession stands, public swimming pools and health clubs." Both half-hour episodes, which aired August 24, 2009, feature Providence health inspectors Cathy Feeney and Shirley Gaudreau going about their duties.

The Unusuals (ABC, 2009) drama series

Although this series takes place in New York City, the April 8, 2009, premier episode included a very brief exterior shot of McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon, 52 Pine Street, Providence. It shows up in the final segment of the show, when the cops gather to raise a glass to their fallen comrade.

Aerial America: Rhode Island (Smithsonian Channel, 2010) documentary

Just what it sounds like, forty-seven minutes of Rhode Island from the air, with a healthy dose of local history on the voice-over. As you might expect, the emphasis is on Newport and Providence, but there's a whole segment highlighting our many lighthouses, as well.

Sneak peek:

American Pickers (History Channel, 2010—) reality series

The town of Johnston doesn't find itself in the spotlight very often, but at least one Johnston business was illuminated in December 2010. Several businesses, actually—auction barn, carnival, auto repair shop, and frozen lemonade truck—all owned by Paul Ruotolo of Simmonsville Avenue. The show was the History Channel's American Pickers, and the draw was several buildings full of antiques, treasures, and junk collected by Paul's late father, Thomas "Okee" Ruotolo.

Hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz spent Monday, July 19, 2010, climbing and digging through barns and outbuildings on the Ruotolo property, eventually emerging with a 1967 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle, a classic Evel Knievel pinball machine, and an antique wooden horse racing game. Not everything they bought was shown in the episode. "They bought a lot of stuff," Ruotolo told the Johnston Sunrise. "They filled up a U-Haul." Also not seen on the show: when production stopped for lunch everyone chowed down on locally sourced Italian grinders. Mike and Frank had hoped to attend that night's auction, but they ran out of time.

If you're searching for the episode it's called "What's in the Box?," from S2E16, and it aired December 20, 2010.

Wolfe and Fritz returned to the Ocean State in late 2013 or early 2014, having been invited to pick the cast-offs from the renovation of Belcourt of Newport. S6E19, "Frank's Holy Grail," aired April 9, 2014.

Canterbury's Law (Fox, 2010) legal drama

Only six of this stinker's contracted thirteen episodes were produced, and so it only appeared on-air from March 10 to April 18, 2010. Did the show fail because of subpar writing and unconvincing acting, or because the cinematic style incorporated unsteady cams, fast editing, and loud dialogue to lend a sense of artificial urgency? Or could it be that, for a show that purported to take place in Rhode Island (but was filmed in New York City) precious little Ocean State authenticity was on display?

The series was created by a guy named Dave Erickson who grew up in Raynham, Massachusetts, but worked summers in his dad's Warwick, Bristol, and East Greenwich sub shops. The title character, Elizabeth Canterbury (Julianna Margulies), is "a rebellious defense attorney who's willing to bend the law in order to protect the wrongfully accused." No Rhode Island accents are heard on the show because, according to Margulies, "People would have said, 'Huh?'"

In the pilot episode a skyline shot looks nothing like Providence and none of the landscapes or buildings look remotely Rhode Islandy. The only attempts at authenticity are a Providence police car and a Rhode Island license plate on Canterbury's car. When Fox is referenced, it's Boston's Fox 25 rather than Providence's Fox affiliate, WNAC 64. Even the one Rhode Island town mentioned—Claremont—is fictitious.

Cupcake Wars (Food Network, 2010—) reality competition series

Providence's Nancy's Fancies took part in this baking competition's third season, on the "Tim Burton Bake-Off" episode that aired on July 5, 2011. Owner Nancy Sepe and her daughter Nikki made it through to the third and final challenge, but did not win the contest.

Drinking Made Easy (AXS TV/HDNet, 2010—) non-stop imbibe-athon

For a show that drinks too much, Drinking Made Easy manages to pack a lot of information into each thirty-minute episode.

Two episodes were shot in Rhode Island, one in Newport (S2E11, aired December 14, 2011), and one in Providence (S3E11, aired December 19, 2012).

Providence locations include Cook and Brown Public House, 959 Hope Street; The Whiskey Republic, 515 South Water Street; The Wild Colonial Tavern, 250 South Water Street; Trinity Brewhouse, 186 Fountain Street; Olneyville New York System, 20 Plainfield Street; and The Dorrance, 60 Dorrance Street.

Newport locations include The White Horse Tavern, 26 Marlborough St; Newport Storm, 293 JT Connell Road; The Mooring Seafood Kitchen and Bar, 1 Sayers Wharf; International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum, 194 Bellevue Avenue; Fluke Wine, Bar and Kitchen, 41 Bowens Wharft; and Yesterdays, 28 Washington Square.

Mercy (Chiller, 2010) short film

This short (three minute) film has nothing to do with vampire Mercy Brown. Instead it seems to be a compact showcase for the creators' talents. The plot: Aggressively hungry humanoid creature(s) chase(s) young woman. The piece was shot at PondView Equestrian Center in Pascoag. It was shown on the Chiller channel on October 31, 2010 as part of the Halloween Horror Nights Rob Zombie Film Competition.

See for yourself:

My Ghost Story (Biography Channel, 2010—) paranormal series

People who believe they've encountered something not of this world find a willing ear for their fantastic tales.

S3E1, "The Demon Shadow," aired October 15, 2011, features eerie goings-on at a private residence in Cumberland.

Ken and David DeCosta, father and son founders of RISEUP, a paranormal investigation group, appear in the April 21, 2012, episode (S4E2), "Bones in The Basement." Filming took place at Paine House in Coventry on January 21, 2011.

S4E13, "Attracting Spirits," aired July 7, 2012, features spookiness at Newport's Rose Island Lighthouse.

Palatial Passport (Wealth TV, 2010) documentary series

Two episodes feature Newport mansions—The Breakers and Marble House. Each thirty-minute episode covers the history of the buildings, the architect (Richard Morris Hunt) who designed them, and the families who lived in them.

Bar Rescue (Spike TV, 2011—) reality series

This show "rescues" failing bars through renovations, menu and personnel changes, etc. The September 15, 2013, episode (S3E20, "Barely Above Water") centered on Marley's On The Beach, a tavern located next door to Iggy's Doughboys on Oakland Beach in Warwick.

The episode was filmed in May 2013. Among the changes meant to bring Marley's back from the brink: a name change—to St. Michelle's Beach Club; upgraded patio furniture and dance floor; the addition of four outdoor fire pits; a revamped and expanded drink menu; on-air termination of assistant manager Elese Buerman. Adding to the drama, some impromtu marriage counseling for bar owners Kevin and Michelle. Post-production, the new name didn't stick (they compromised on Marley's Beach Club) and the drink menu continued to evolve, but the infrastructural changes remained and Beurman stayed fired.

Body of Proof aka Body of Evidence (ABC, 2011-2013) drama series

The first season of this series—nine episodes—was filmed entirely in Rhode Island, even though the show is set in Philadelphia. Subsequent episodes also included scenes previously shot in Little Rhody, but the majority of the production moved to L.A. for season two.

Shooting for the pilot episode began on March 16, 2010, and continued through the end of the month. S1E1 includes the following locations: Fox Point Marina, north of the hurricane barrier (at 1:26); The GTECH Building as the Philadelphia County Medical Center ((at 2:58) this is a stock shot used in all the episodes; you can see the Weston Hotel next door, with three other buildings Photoshopped in, and Waterplace Park in the foreground); Todd Fleming's (Jeffrey Nordling) office is in the real-life offices of Providence law firm Brown Rudnick, 121 South Main Street (at 4:03; filmed March 20); Woman jogging westward on Smith Street (at 14:13); Mathewson Street United Methodist Church serves as an Overbrook halfway house (at 16:44); Aspire Restaurant, 311 Westminster Street (at 27:45; filmed March 23 and 24); the plaza at One Financial Plaza, outside the old Hospital Trust tower (at 29:33); the Washington Street exterior of the Providence Public Library as the Philadelphia Police Department ((at 44:50) another stock shot; variations of this view show up repeatedly throughout the series); the former Blue Cross Blue Shield building across Green Street from Cathedral Square (at 45:49); Megan Hunt's (Dana Delany) condo is at 100 Fountain Street—you can see the Providence Journal building out her window (at 57:00).

Also reportedly used for this episode (but not readily apparent onscreen): an East Side neighborhood; the Turk's Head Building; Burnside Park; the CCRI campus in Lincoln, and the Newport mansion Champ Soleil (filmed March 25).

The pilot episode premiered on March 29, 2011.

Once the show was picked up, production on the other eight episodes took place from late July to mid-December of 2010. Sound stage and production offices were located in a "former office building and lumberyard just north of Warwick Mall." Additional locations included Waterplace and India Point parks. Grayrock Mansion off Angell Road in Cumberland was used as a suspect's house (filmed July 23). Rehearsals for a scene with two women fighting were reported taking place on August 13 at the Todd Morsilli Clay Court Tennis Center, Roger Williams Park (standing in as Penn Hill College). Other sites filmed around the same time: Rhode Island College, Providence; Bold Point Park, East Providence; Iron Works Tavern and Twist, Warwick; and downtown Woonsocket. In S1E7, "All in the Family," the home of Maureen Lodge on Watch Hill Drive in East Greenwich was used as the scene of a murder. Blithewold in Bristol played the family home of a wealthy victim in S1E8 (filmed October 5). November 8 to 13 filming took place at Red Rock Farm in Foster, with horses and riders from Pine View Farm and Equestrian Center, Peeptoad Road, Scituate. The production was spotted filming on Empire and Washington Streets and in "a second-floor unit in the Cosmopolitan residences on Fountain Street... above Murphy's Deli and Bar" in Providence on November 16. The Woonsocket Call reported that S1E13 began filming December 3, with Pawtucket listed as a location. Since season one only had nine episodes, this presumably turned up in a season two episode.

One early episode included a flashback with a vintage 1970s Philadelphia police car. The prop was created in two days by Johnston resident Paul Ruotolo "out of an LTD that wasn't running and had flat tires." After its moment in the spotlight, Ruotolo displayed the car in the parking lot of his auction house on Simmonsville Avenue for a number of months.

Dr. Elizabeth Laposata, former chief medical examiner for Rhode Island Hospital, was a medical adviser for the show. S1E6, "Society Hill," features two married Trinity Rep actors, Phyllis Kay and Richard Donnelly, as husband-and-wife Jim and Suzanne Pollato.

Chase Belafonte's "Working Title" (2011) web series

This started out as a 2009 48-Hour Film Project submission and blossomed into a five-part web series. The premise has a documentary film crew following the actors and crew on an independent film production. Most of the initial short was filmed at Optic Sugar design studio, Branch Avenue, Providence, while the fight scenes were filmed at Prospect Park. The web series was filmed in and around the converted mill building in West Warwick that served as 12 Guage Pictures' studio.

Links to the webisodes:
S1E1, "The Contracts," aired January 1, 2011.
S1E2, "The Scripts," aired February 1, 2011.
S1E3, "Becky, Take Your Top Off," aired March 1, 2011.
S1E4, "Internviews," aired April 1, 2011.
S1E5, "World's Best Episode," aired May 1, 2011.

View the original 48-hour film project submission:

Dance Moms (Lifetime, 2011—) reality series

A show about dance class students, but named for their hovering mothers. IMDB claims that, although the show is set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, some part of it was filmed in Providence. Perhaps the moms took their hoofing progeny on the road at some point.

Eat St. (Food Network/Cooking Channel, 2011—) food and travel series

Gourmet food trucks are invading our curbs, parks, and parking lots, spreading mobile eats from coast to coast. S1E6, "Surf and a Slice," which debuted May 7, 2011, features the house-made gourmet sausages of Providence's Hewtin's Dogs, the mobile arm of Chez Pascal.

First Face: The Buck Starts Here (PBS, 2011) documentary

Jim Wolpaw and Steve Gentile's half-hour documentary contrasts Rhode Island's dissolute master portraitist, Gilbert Stuart, with his most famous subject, the dour and humorless George Washington. Premiered February 1, 2011.

Jack Yena's Legacy: Finding a Sense of Place (PBS, 2011) documentary

This piece completes a trilogy of documentaries by professor Marion Gagnon on the principal personalities behind Johnson & Wales University from its founding to the present day (2011). Part three focuses on Jack Yena, who joined the administration in 1962 and rose to the top spot in 1989, becoming only the third president to helm the institution since its founding in 1914.

The other two parts of the trilogy are HERstory: The Founding Mothers of Johnson & Wales University (2004) and Johnson & Wales University's Men of Vision (2008).

Jack Yena's Legacy debuted on Rhode Island PBS on February 20, 2011.

Lemonade Mouth (Disney Channel, 2011) made-for-tv movie

A musical in the vein of the very popular High School Musical series, Lemonade Mouth is based on a young adult novel of the same name by Barrington native Mark Peter Hughes. Although the original novel was set in a fictional Rhode Island town, for the movie the action was moved to an unnamed southwestern location. "But the nice thing," the author told us via Facebook, "is that they acknowledged the change by switching one of the character's stories around: In the book, Stella moves from Arizona to Rhode Island. In the movie she moves from Rhode Island—so at least they gave Rhode Island (and the book's location) a nice nod that way."

Another holdover from the book is the Mel's Organic Lemonade machine that figures prominently in the storyline. Mel's, of course, is based on our own Del's Frozen Lemonade.

Mr. Hughes actually scored a non-speaking cameo in the film, and you can spot him if you don't blink. He's the one wearing the bee costume during the Halloween school dance.

Lemonade Mouth premiered on the Disney Channel on April 15, 2011.

Lidia's Italy in America (PBS, 2011—) cooking and travel series

S1E4, "Spicy and Sweet in New England" (aired October 1, 2011): In the third segment of the episode chef Lidia Bastianish demonstrates how to make her version of Sciallo Brothers' Boston cream pie. Sciallo Brothers' is already smaller than a traditional cake, and Lidia miniaturizes it even further, making it the size of a cupcake. An interview with Carol Gaeta, daughter of founder Luigi Sciallo, is included.

S1E23, "Fishing Along America's Eastern Seaboard" (aired February 11, 2012): Lidia visits Gasbarro's Wines on Atwells Avenue in Providence and talks with owner Mark Gasbarro about his favorite seafood pairings.

Nightmare Next Door (Investigation Discovery Channel, 2011—) crime documentary series

S6E3, "Murder on the Menu," aired December 18, 2012, delves into the 1991 double murder of Tammy Petrin and Jenner H. Villeda at a Social Street, Woonsocket, Burger King, by a hitman hired by Petrin's husband. Petrin and Villeda were there to open the store in the morning. While Petrin was targeted, Villeda apparently was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Includes interviews with Woonsocket Call reporter Russ Olivo, in the Call offices at 75 Main Street.

Red Circles (2011-2014) crime drama web series

Detectives try to solve a murder with paranormal overtones. There are four seasons totaling forty-seven episodes, at about fifteen minutes per episode.

The series is set in Newport, but most of it was shot in and around Barrington, including at the home of series creator Seth Chitwood.

Restaurant: Impossible (Food Network, 2011—) dining/renovation series

Chef Robert Irvine helps owner Jerry Porcaro bring Mount Pleasant institution Mainelli's (1366 Chalkstone Avenue, Providence) back from a living death. Providence Journal food critic Gail Ciampa had a part in the show and she confirmed in a column that appeared in advance of the January 26, 2011, airing that much of the episode, despite its veneer of "reality," was heavily scripted. For instance, many problems that had already been solved by Pocaro were trotted back out to increase the before and after differences; a scene in the ProJo offices with Ciampa was staged for effect; and menu prices were set by producers at about double what Mainelli's usually charges.

Despite renovations and a revamped menu, Mainelli's closed for good in early 2012. An incident on March 5, 2011, in which a car crashed through the side of the restaurant and into one of the remodeled dining rooms probably didn't help.

The X Factor (Fox, 2011—) singing competition series

Season 2 auditions took place at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence on May 10 (before producers) and June 27-29, 2012 (before the judges).

The Pauly D Project (MTV, 2012—) reality series

This Jersey Shore spin-off features Johnston's Paul Delvecchio and his tuffet of hair. Local scenery is often edited down to a series of brief peeks, a portion of which are blurry and Instagramesque.

S1E1, "Hello Pressure! I'm Pauly D" (aired March 29, 2012) has visits to a number of private residences, including the Johnston home shared by Pauly and his father. The episode wraps up with a DJ-ing gig at Ultra: The Nightclub, 172 Pine Street, Providence.

While most of the series evidently takes place in Las Vegas, Pauly D and his entourage of hometown buddies return to the Ocean State periodically. They came back to Little Rhody for a whole episode in S1E6, "Where the Heart Is" (aired May 4, 2012), in which Pauly D gets a manicure from ex-girlfriend Angel at Cheryl Ann's Hair Salon, 621 Laurel Hill Avenue, Cranston. Keep an eye out also for A Wish Come True, Inc., 1010 Warwick Avenue, Warwick; Luxe Burger Bar, 5 Memorial Boulevard, Providence; Shogun Steak and Seafood, 76 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick; Mews Tavern, 456 Main Street, Wakefield; and Rick's Roadhouse, 370 Richmond Street, Providence.

The Providence Journal reported that some scenes were shot at the So Fresh and So Clean Car Wash in East Providence in September 2010. "Rhode Island is where I came from," Pauly D told WPRO's Tara and Andrew in a pre-series premiere interview. "You will always see me there."

Monumental Mysteries (Travel Channel, 2013—) strange history anthology series

The first segment of S1E1, titled "Teen Vampire, King Of Cons, First Escape From Alcatraz," retells the story of Exeter's Mercy Brown. The episode aired May 9, 2013.

This article last edited December 12, 2015

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