American Housewife was a single-camera sitcom that aired on ABC for five seasons. This hilarious sitcom featured the Otto family, a middle-class family living in the rich town of Westport, Connecticut. It starred Katy Mixon, Diedrich Bader, Meg Donnelly, Daniel DiMaggio, Julia Butters, and Giselle Eisenberg.
CBS Studio Center
American Housewife is filmed at CBS Studio Center in Studio City, California, home of other hit shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Man With A Plan, and Big Brother. Many past legendary shows were filmed on this lot, including Gilligan’s Island, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Will & Grace and Seinfeld.
American Housewife films on two soundstages. Stage 23 houses the interior sets of the Otto house, along with the café, which are permanent sets. Stage 11 is used to house temporary sets as needed for the show.
The Otto House
The exterior of the Otto house is a facade located on the CBS Radford lot. They are able to use this house for a lot of shots on the show as it is located on the studio. Actual houses in residential neighbourhoods need to be scheduled and have permits. Because this house is on the lot, the crew is able to film here whenever needed.
The American Housewife-Leave It To Beaver Connection
A number of websites have identified the Otto house as the same house from Leave It To Beaver. This is actually false, although there are connections between the shows.
The house used on American Housewife for the Otto residence has a striking resemblance to the Leave It To Beaver house at Universal Studios Hollywood. In fact, the house is nearly identical, with the exception of the front bay windows and the colours of the house. I wasn’t able to find any info as to when the Otto house was built on the CBS Radford lot, or why it is so similar to the Universal house. That being said, they are in fact two completely different buildings.
Here you can see the Leave It To Beaver and American Housewife houses side by side to compare.
The house is on a backlot residential street known as My Three Sons Street. It includes several houses and multi-use buildings. CBS Radford makes good use of space, because inside are offices for the various productions.
On American Housewife, the house across the street is depicted as a large mansion. There is no mansion across the street however. Generally they use a fake backdrop or CGI editing to add the house.
Next to the Otto house is an empty lawn area which is dressed up as the Otto backyard. It can also be used as a park or garden if needed in the script.
Teen Help Line and the Westport Fertility Clinic
In season 4, Oliver begins volunteering at the Teen Help Line. The building used for the center is one of the houses on the Residential Street. This house is actually located directly across the street from the Otto house.
In season 5, the same building is used as Westport Fertility Clinic. Katie and Tami join JD as he visits to set up an egg donor. They shot the building at a different angle, and set up shrubs to make it appear different.
New York Street Backlot
Another area used on American Housewife is the New York backlot. This area has been on the CBS Radford lot since the early 1990s, as it was built for use on Seinfeld.
While it isn’t meant to look like New York on American Housewife, it still maintains that gritty appearance. It has been used numerous times on the series.
In season 2 Oliver starts dating Gina, a girl in his ballet class. She works at her family’s pizza restaurant, Tuscadero’s. A number of episodes have featured this location. This includes the episode where Oliver releases lanterns into the night sky to win Gina over.
In season 5, the street is again featured when Greg visits the Westport Gazette newspaper office. It is featured in “The Heist” episode when Greg tried to prevent Taylor’s mugshot from appearing in the paper. This part of the backlot is the far end of the NY Street.
Westport Unified School
While CBS Studio Center is not open to the public, there is one location from the show that you can visit. Scenes set at Westport Unified School are filmed at a real high school located in Burbank. As the show is fairly new, there was almost no public information on where this school was located. As a fan of the show, and with an upcoming trip to, it was my goal to track it down. With some hard work and a few tricks, I managed to figure out that they film at Johns Burroughs High School. This is actually the same school used for filming in The Wonder Years, however the school has been significantly modified since then.
The building is instantly recognizable from the show. A change to the school sign and a few banners, and the school is ready for filming. If you are going to stop by, please remember this is a functioning school, so be careful and respectful. My page on guidelines goes into more detail, but the best plan is to visit the school on a weekend.
Throughout the series, we see a fair amount of scenes filmed on a real street, which depicts downtown Westport. In reality, these scenes were filmed in Studio City, right near CBS Studio Center. They used a stretch along Tujunga Avenue, between Moorpark and Woodbridge streets. The street is lined with shops and restaurants on both sides, making it an ideal generic location for filming.
One specific location we see frequently is “Perfection”, the shop owned by Chloe Brown Mueller. The location is actually the Two Roads Theatre, a local community theatre.
Oliver’s Ballet School
In season one, Oliver discovers that his best chance of getting in to Harvard is on through the school’s ballet program. However it doesn’t take long for him to fall in love with ballet. A number of storylines and scenes take place at the Norwalk Ballet Academy.
Both interior and exterior scenes were filmed at a local dance studio in Burbank. I actually have a friend who teaches tap classes in the very studio that was used on American Housewife. As a dancer myself, I was able to take my friends tap class, but I also couldn’t resist throwing on my ballet shoes and recreating one of Oliver’s poses.
Los Angeles Equestrian Center
The series frequently used the fields at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. This large facility has hosted The Spring Gala and some of Greg’s Revolutionary War reenactments. It was even used as the farm where Hans Gruber ends up at.
In season 4, Anna-Kat wins a trip to Hollywood by selling the most Wildflowers girls cookies. In the episode “Vacation!” we see the Otto family visiting Hollywood, and some of the many sites in the area.
The Hollywood portion of the episode starts with showing a number of notable locations to establish the upcoming scenes. These include the Hollywood sign, Santa Monica Beach, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and the Capitol Records building.
A number of scenes were filmed along Hollywood Boulevard near the interection with Highland Avenue. This is where Katie and Greg discover the Cannabis Club, and also where Taylor and Anna-Kat lose their money to a scam artist. These scenes were filmed at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave. The Hollywood Masonic Temple and the El Capitan Theater can be seen in the background.
W Hollywood Hotel
Scenes taking place in the fancy Hollywood hotel were filmed in the lobby of the W Hollywood Hotel. This is where Greg checks the family in, and Cooper shows up to surprise Oliver.
This beautiful and modern hotel is located at the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine, and has breathtaking views of the Hollywood sign and skyline.
Oliver and Cooper spend the afternoon exploring Beverly Hills, specifically along Rodeo Drive. Oliver tries to show Cooper what it’s like to not be rich, by doing window shopping without buying anything. A number of shops along Rodeo Drive are shown, as is the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which was seen in Pretty Woman.
Pump Restaurant Lounge
The episode culminates at Lisa Vanderpump’s Pump Restaurant Lounge, where Katie hopes to meet the reality star. Filming took place at the actual restaurant, and Lisa Vanderpump makes a surprise cameo to wish Katie a Happy Birthday.
My American Housewife video
I hope you enjoyed my look at American Housewife. Please take a look at my video below. If you have any question or comments about the show or the locations, please share with me! There is a comment section below.