‘New Girl’: Zooey Deschanel and Co-stars Reveal the Series Wasn’t Originally Set in California

Zooey Deschanel spent seven seasons on New Girl playing Jessica Day, a teacher who finds a group of unlikely roommates after her relationship implodes. New Girl, set in Los Angeles, wasn’t markedly different from other sitcoms. Its location, however, set it apart from predecessors like Friends. It almost didn’t happen that way. Deschanel and costars Hannah Simone and Lamorne Morris revealed where New Girl was nearly set.   

‘New Girl’ was almost set in New York instead of Los Angeles  

New Girl utilized the LA landscape fairly regularly during the show’s run. It almost didn’t happen, though. During their podcast, Welcome to our ShowDeschanel, Simone, and Morris revealed where Jess, Winston, Nick, Schmidt, and Cece almost rested their heads at night.

Damon Wayans, Jr., Jake Johnson, Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Hannah Simone and Lamorne Morris in promotional photos for 'New Girl'
the cast of ‘New Girl’ | FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

According to the famed actors, initially, the plan was to set New Girl in New York. They explained that Elizabeth Meriwether, the show’s creator, used her time in New York as inspiration for the series, so naturally, she planned to set the show in the city that inspired it. The setting change came down to logistics. 

Damon Wayans, Jr., Jake Johnson, Hannah Simone and Zooey Deschanel in 'New Girl'
Damon Wayans, Jr., Jake Johnson, Hannah Simone, and Zooey Deschanel | FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Simone revealed that Meriwether had told her the decision to set the show in LA was about the ease of shooting rather than any storyline direction. Simone revealed that it’s easier to shoot in LA because most on-site scenes are easy to get to. When a show is set in New York but shot in California, sets need to be created to mimic the sights and sounds of New York, which, in certain cases, can be a challenge. 

The cast also discussed the affordability of the loft 

While most fans never think about the show being set anywhere but LA, much debate about the loft has happened. More specifically, fans don’t believe the roommates could afford it. Today, a police officer, a teacher, a marketing executive, and a bartender would never be able to make rent. Still, Deschanel insists it was more affordable when the series filmed its pilot. 

The cast of 'New Girl' stands in their loft during an episode
Lamorne Morris, Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Hannah Simone, Max Greenfield and Cleo King | FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Deschanel explained that at the time of the pilot, the downtown LA neighborhood the characters called home wasn’t all that popular. Because the neighborhood wasn’t considered hip, and the loft needed some significant repairs, it was doable for the four roommates, claimed Deschanel. The actor said the rent would have been about $5,000 in 2011. That means each roommate would have been responsible for $1,250 a month. Today, she alleges the same loft would cost upwards of $10,000 per month. The roommates would have absolutely been priced out of the neighborhood now.

RELATED: ‘New Girl’: Where Did Nick and Schmidt Go to College?