When we visited the Ugly Betty set last year, half the tour was about the digital affects that allowed Betty and friends to walk the streets of Manhattan and Queens, even though they were shooting in LA.
Thanks to New York's new tax breaks on production, however, the set SheKnows visited this year was moved to New York, along with the entire cast!
"You'll see Manhattan as it should be seen in our show. As opposed to through green screen and faking it on the LA streets," Vanessa Williams (Wilhelmina Slater) raves to SheKnows. "We're shooting four out of nine days on the streets of New York!"
Unfortunately, not everyone from the Ugly Betty team is hitting those gritty streets.
"The hardest thing was seeing the crew lose their jobs after two years," Williams sighs. "It was heartbreaking, especially in times when the economy isn't great. And after coming back from the writers' strike, we only did five episodes. We were finally on a run and felt we had the show back to where we wanted to get it and then we got devastating news."
Williams is optimistic the benefits outweigh the personal costs. "On the flip side it's going to open up our show," Williams admits. "It will give us the authenticity we had in the pilot, where we saw buildings we recognized and could tell where we were in New York."
For fans who don't know, the pilot episode was actually shot back east. The entire production was then moved to Los Angeles once ABC picked up the show. Thus, this move is as much a return as a fresh start.
"We were all from New York and we all moved out here," Williams says of the cast. "I still have my house in New York and luckily, I didn't buy one in LA, but a lot of cast members did, so they're not in great positions now."
After chatting with Williams' on-screen assistant, Michael Urie, it is clear this New Yorker turned West Coast homeowner is ready to roll with the punches that come along with a hit show.
"I moved to LA for this show and fell in love with it," Urie tells SheKnows. "I bought an awesome apartment and I just love it there. It has an amazing view and I miss it. New York is where we should be and I love it there. People who watch this show and don't know the city will now know what they were missing!"
See if the real thing makes a difference when Ugly Betty premieres on September 25 at 8 p.m.
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