The series takes place in New York City. But for the first two seasons, except for some exterior scenes, it was filmed in Los Angeles. Most of the cast and writers, including Blair Brown, actually lived in New York City. When the show moved to Lifetime from NBC, production was moved to New York City.
NBC Programming Executive Brandon Tartikoff pitched the idea to Jay Tarses of doing a series about a single woman in her 30s, living in a big city. Tarses immediately thought of his friend Blair Brown for the lead. Tarses and Brown discussed how not to make the series into a formulaic sitcom.
This is the first sitcom that, from its original conception, did not have an audience, and did not have a laugh track. This was very precedent setting, and would set the stage for shows like Arrested Development (2003), Malcom in the Middle (2000), The Simpsons (1989), South Park (1997), and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005).