Atlanta, GA is home to the typical types of sports teams. The Braves run the bases at Tuner Field, the Hawks shoot baskets at Phillips Arena, and the Falcons score touchdowns at the Georgia Dome. What you may not know is that another sports teams calls the Dome home; the New York Hawks, who coincidentally share the same name as the basketball team. If you haven't heard of them, they're the fictional football team at the center of USA Network's television drama series Necessary Roughness.
Starring Callie Thorne as therapist Dr. "Dani" Santino for the Hawks, Necessary Roughness films across various locations in Atlanta, including the Georgia Dome and Clark Atlanta University. Season 2 of the show will showcase more of the “New York” of the south, something that made perfect sense to producers when deciding on a location for filming.
“If you take photographs of Buckhead or Brookhaven here in Atlanta, it looks remarkably similar to all kinds of places along Long Island,” says Executive Producer Kevin Dowling. “When we looked for Dani’s house I had photographs of several places near Manhasset of Long Island and there were whole neighborhoods that you could have just transplanted, you know, a couple of different trees here and there. You know southern trees as opposed to northern, but the basic feel of the neighborhood and the basic visuals were really the same.”
Getting the neighborhoods right was important because one of the story arcs of season two involves troubled star wide receiver Terrence King, who now goes by K.T. this season instead of last season's T.K., returning to his old family's neighborhood in Newark. It was a difficult task finding the right decrepit look because Atlanta has been busy in reconstructing its buildings and streets, but the scouting crew managed to find a place.
“We went down to the Auburn Street area right near the highway where there are things still pretty old style, you know, early 20th century buildings that have maybe not been kept up all that well, and we used that area and then our art department which is brilliant has done some great things,” says Dowling. “They had to create an old hot dog place that TK went to and they truly recreated something that looked like it was out of the 1960's in Newark and hasn’t been changed since, and that’s funny because again in Atlanta it’s a newer city that’s been revitalized entirely and we had to build that.”
The suburbs aren't the only locations in Atlanta viewers will see, though. Once again, the Georgia Dome returns as the official playing field for the Hawks. Filming there has been an incredible opportunity and something that wouldn't have been possible in New York. “I think it would have been much harder in the New York area to do, to do that not only to mention that here you have the dome and when it rains you can still keep filming and a giant stadium, that wouldn’t have been possible,” says Dowling.
Being able to film inside a covered stadium is important, not only because of rain but the sweltering Atlanta heat as well. If you've spent a summer in Atlanta, you know just how hot the days can become. Unfortunately, Clark Atlanta University – the practice field of the New York Hawks – doesn't have the same cool conditions as the stadium. Heat temperatures can reach in excess of 100 degrees on some days and while the production crew is well prepared with water, fans, and tents, heat exhaustion is still prevalent, as evident from last season.
“We’re not going to be at Clark Atlanta for the last three, four weeks because we almost lost a few, in fact, last year when we did the golf episode, we lost eight crew members that day,” says Dowling. “Two to the hospital and six to the medic. And it wasn’t because we weren’t prepared. I mean we had Gatorade, so much Gatorade we looked like a commercial. We were out in the open on a golf course for 14 hours, so. We’re going to try not to repeat that one this year. As dramatic as it was uh we’re going to try not to lose anybody this year. We have cooling tents, we have all kinds of things and we have double medics this year.”
Judging from all the good things said about Atlanta so far, I think it's safe to say that the heat tradeoff is worth it. Necessary Roughness will be in Atlanta, filming through August for the second season, which has its season premiere on Wednesday, June 6th on USA Network at 10pm.
Check out the images from Shakefire's visit to the set of Necessary Roughness below!