Chicago Seen on TV: An Interactive Map of Windy City Shows

chicago TV map

By Ileane Rudolph and Michael Schneider

When Empire producer Ilene Chaiken saw actors in medical scrubs on set, she was confused. “We weren’t doing a hospital scene,” she recalls, “but it turns out, I had wandered one stage too far and I was on the Chicago Med set!” Chaiken could just as easily have found herself on the stages of producer Dick Wolf’s other two shows as well as Netflix’s Sense8 and Showtime’s Shameless, all of which film in Chicago’s massive Cinespace Film Studios complex. Call it Hollywood on Lake Michigan.

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The Windy City has long been used as a backdrop on TV—it was even home to the iconic Oprah Winfrey Show for 25 years—but thanks to generous tax breaks and a new appreciation for its diverse locales, it’s seen a surge in television production in the last few years. “Chicago is a beautiful and cinematic town to shoot in, with great crews and wonderful actors,” explains Shameless executive producer John Wells, who also filmed chunks of his other Chicago-set megahit, ER, here. Though it’s not uncommon for series to be filmed in locations different from where they are set, Wolf Films refused to fake Chicago. “We wanted this quintessential city to be a character,” Wolf says, “the way New York was in Law & Order.” — Additional reporting by Scott Sode

How to Use the Map

  • Click on the [+] and [-] buttons to zoom in and out
  • Use your cursor (or finger) to drag the map left or right, up or down
  • Click on each red marker to learn more about the TV shows filmed in a specific location