Several television shows have been based in Minnesota, although most are not entirely filmed in Minnesota. The following is a listing of television shows where the lead characters or the storyline were based in Minnesota.
- Big Time Rush (2009-?)
TV Series; Also referred to as “BTR”. Popular teen show about four best friends from Minnesota who grew up playing hockey, but move out to L.A. to pursue their musical boy band dreams and become the latest pop sensation. It is one of the highest-rated live-action series on Nickelodeon ever.
- Coach (1989-1997)
TV Series; Hayden Fox (Craig T. Nelson) is the head coach of the Minnesota State Screaming Eagles, a D1 college football program with a long history of failure. The location for the fictional Minnesota State University is never revealed, but it’s likely not the Twin Cities because of references of Hayden Fox visiting his girlfriend Christine, who lived in the Twin Cities. None of the episodes were filmed in Minnesota, but stock footage of a college game in the Metrodome did make an appearance. Craig T. Nelson won an Emmy in 1992 as the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2003-Present)
This popular show involved home makeovers for families that have faced some sort of hardship. So far there have been four Minnesota families highlighted: the Swenson-Lee Family of Minnetonka, MN (Aired 11/25/07), DeVries Family of Albert Lea, MN (aired 12/07/08), Morris Family of St. Paul, MN (aired 01/03/10), and the Grommesh Family of Moorhead, MN (not yet aired).
- Happy Town (2010)
TV Series; Haplin, MN has enjoyed an uneasy peace for five years, but the small town now faces a new crime that brings all unresolved fears to the surface. The founding family of Haplin, Minnesota – represented by the mysterious matriarch Peggy Haplin and her quick-tempered son, John – runs the local bread factory, the town’s largest employer.
- Late Show with David Letterman (1997)
Minnesota was featured on the “Late Show with David Letterman” show on May 9, 1997. Local CBS affiliate news anchors (Don Shelby and Amelia Santaniello – WCCO) were featured in a “breaking news” bit. Kirby Puckett, center fielder for the Minnesota Twins did the “Top Ten Ways to Mispronounce Kirby Puckett”.
- Laurel Avenue (1993)
TV miniseries on HBO. The story of an eventful weekend in the lives of an extended African American family living in St. Paul, Minnesota. Filmed entirely in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
- Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983)
TV Series; Follows the late 1800’s frontier lives of Charles and Caroline Ingalls, and their three young daughters who settle into a little house on the banks of Plum Creek near the small town of Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Stories loosely based on the popular “Little House” book series by Laura Ingalls-Wilder. It received the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite TV Dramatic Program” in 1978 and 1979. Most scenes were filmed in California.
- Lucan (1977)
TV Series on ABC; Lucan was a show about a baby boy lost in the wilderness of Minnesota, raised by wolves and in captivity was learning how to act human. Premiered May 1977, ended December 1978.
- Mall Cops: Mall of America (2010)
A 12-part reality show on TLC that covers events at the Mall of America (Bloomington, MN) which has over 500 stores, a 7-acre indoor theme park, a 1.2 million gallon aquarium, a secondary school, a wedding chapel and huge celebrity events. Viewers are taken behind the scenes as mall cops handle routine and extraordinary events. Mall Cops first aired in October 2009, but it will premiered as a series on May 27, 2010.
- Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)
TV Series; Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) moves to Minneapolis and finds a job in the newsroom of a fictional television station called WJM, the lowest rated station in its market. The opening sequence was filmed in Minneapolis. The show received three Emmy Awards as “Outstanding Comedy Series” in 1975, 1976 and 1977. A bronze statue of the infamous hat toss was placed on the Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.
- Newton’s Apple (1983-1998)
TV Series on PBS ; Newton’s Apple was a long-running children’s series that aired on PBS from 1983 to 1998 covering a wide range of topics. It was filmed in the Twin Cities.
- The Big C (2010)
A comedy about Minneapolis schoolteacher Cathy Jamison (played by Laura Linney) who is diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma and decides to make choices that suit her needs during her final days. It was filmed in Conneticut, but there are many references to Minneapolis. It premiered on the Showtime Channel on August 16, 2010 and starred Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, Gabourey Sidibe.
- The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959-1964)
TV Series; Frostbite Falls, Minnesota is the home of Rocket J. Squirrel, better known as “Rocky,” and his pal Bullwinkle J. Moose. The town is mentioned in both TV series “Rocky and His Friends” and “The Bullwinkle Show”. Rocky shared a simple house there with Bullwinkle in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota. It is also home to Wossamotta University.
- The Louie Show (1996)
TV Series on CBS; Sitcom about a psychotherapist in Duluth, Minnesota. Written and starred by Minnesotan Louis Anderson. Canceled after six episodes.
- The New Land (1974)
TV Series; The story of Swedish immigrant family that came to America in 1858 to establish themselves in Minnesota. The series premiered in September 1974, was off the air by October 1974.
- The Tom Show (1997)
TV Series on WB; Starred Tom Arnold as a father raising two daughters while having to start his career all over again in St. Paul, Minnesota. It premiered on September 7, 1997 and ended on February 22, 1998. Portions of the show were filmed in Minneapolis and St. Paul.