11 Fictional Media Offices (and Their Real-Life Inspirations)

Offices—heard of them?

In this, the post-pandemic era of working remotely, the office still survives. It's also a convenient plot tool for many movies and shows about the press. 

Here are 11 of the most memorable ones and the real places they are based on.

Sterling Cooper

Is AMC's "Mad Men" based on workplaces like Leo Burnett (below via Guoharn)? 

The company featured on the show "Mad Men" lifts inspiration from real-life ad agencies in the 1950s and 1960s such as BBDO and Leo Burnett. 


What a Zoom background of the Scarlet Magazine office would probably look like 

The Manhattanite magazine on "The Bold Type" is loosely based on Cosmopolitan, specifically when it was under editor Joanna Coles. The magazine is housed in the Hearst Tower at 300 West 57th Street. 

Empirical Press

The "Younger" offices could be the stand-in for headquarters of big publishing companies such as Simon & Schuster (below via Mike Steele) and Random House

"Younger" sends up everyone from George R.R. Martin to Candace Bushnell. The company at the center of the show could well be any major publisher from Simon & Schuster—where Bushnell and the originator of the story herself, Pamela Redmond Satran, got their start—to Random House. 


Apple TV's "The Morning Show" clearly channels, no pun intended, "The Today Show" (below via Anthony Quintano)

"The Morning Show" and its fictional TV network, United Broadcast Association (UBA), are thinly veiled digs at NBC's "The Today Show." The latter, also a long-running program, airs from the NBC Studios in New York. 


Just like Savoir, Lonsdale (right via Guilhem Vellut) has worked with top French brands like L'Oréal and Pernod Ricard

The titular city in "Emily In Paris" has no shortage of veteran luxury marketing companies in real life such as Lonsdale Design and Havas Media. The building that serves as the Savoir facade can be found at 6 Place de Valois.


'Yo soy Betty, la fea' creator Fernando Gaitán used to work for El Tiempo in Colombia, below via Felipe Restrepo Acosta

Before "Ugly Betty" aired on American television, it was a popular telenovela in Colombia. The original show, "Yo soy Betty, la fea," was written by the journalist Fernando Gaitán. A former worker for top Bogotá periodicals such as El Tiempo, Fernando was inspired to write "Betty la fea" after witnessing a secretary being maltreated by her boss in real life.


‘Murphy Brown,’ a CBS show both on screen and off, was originally shot in California. Below via Studio Sarah Lou

The newsmagazine depicted on "Murphy Brown" is all fiction, but the network isn't: CBS. The show within a show was filmed in Warner Bros' studios in Burbank, California. The 2018 revival of "Murphy Brown" was filmed at the Kaufman Studios in New York. 


A statue stands at the Nicollet Mall in Minnesota in honor of Mary Tyler Moore's character Mary Richards. Via Uncommon Fritillary

The "M" in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" might as well stand for Minneapolis. The show's writers chose the city as the setting for the fictional WJM station because of the Vikings and as an alternative to overused places like NYC and Los Angeles. Sites such as the RSM Plaza and the intersection of Nicollet and 7th Streets are now tourist spots. 

The Daily Planet 

The New York Daily News building (below via Epicgenius) figured prominently in the 'Superman' films

The newspaper where Superman's alter ego Clark Kent worked was inspired by the Daily Star (now the Toronto Star) headquarters in Canada where comic book creator Joe Shuster was a newsboy. However, it is the New York Daily News building, where the "Superman" movies were shot and which had a distinctive globe sculpture on its roof, that has been synonymous with the fictional broadsheet. 


Condé Nast publications such as Vogue, inspiration for Runway in 20th Century Studios' 'The Devil Wears Prada,' are headquartered at 1 World Trade Center in New York (below via Nicole Lee)

Everyone knows Miranda Priestly is Anna "Nuclear" Wintour. Runway Magazine, by extension, is Vogue. Just ask former employee Lauren Weisberger, who is also the author of "The Devil Wears Prada."

The New York Inquirer 

Ranked as one of the greatest movies of all time, 'Citizen Kane' is said to be based on magnate W.R. Hearst, whose building in Midtown Manhattan (below via Mariano Mantel) houses publications like Esquire, Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and Seventeen

Charles Foster Kane of "Citizen Kane" is said to be William Randolph Hearst IRL. A famous line from the film, "You provide the prose poems, I'll provide the war," echoes the newspaper magnate's own words. In a well-documented order to illustrator Frederic Remington of the now-defunct New York Journal, William said: "Please remain. You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war."


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