Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Is Tulsa King Actually Filmed In Tulsa?

"Tulsa King's" lead protagonist Dwight "The General" Manfredi (Sylvester Stallone), is a man begrudgingly caught between two vastly different worlds. First, there's the glitz and glamor of New York City and its bustling metropolis. Second, there's the more serene, laid-back tranquility of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In the Paramount+ series, the Big Apple is relegated to a much smaller role as the majority of the story plays out in the Sooner State. Regardless of the show's setting, Sly Stallone's first go-around on the streaming platform is bringing in an impressive viewership. "Tulsa King's" premiere ratings slayed that of "House of the Dragon's," and the crime drama continues to make a splash with the majority of critics. "Tulsa King" boasts a 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing, but what's even more impressive is the show's 91% audience score. But fans might be surprised to learn that a Los Angeles or New York-sized success like "Tulsa King" is mainly shot on location in the state of Oklahoma.

Tulsa King spends most of its time in OKC, not Tulsa

"Tulsa King" begins with Dwight Manfredi being released from prison and returning to New York for a meeting with mafia boss Pete Invernizzi (Alan C. Peterson). But "The General" spends little time there because he is immediately relegated to overseeing the family's turf in Tulsa. While the Paramount+ series does feature many locations that were shot in the actual city of Tulsa, the show is primarily filmed in Oklahoma City, some 106 miles away.

"Most of it was shot in Oklahoma City, which has a better film infrastructure, more studio space, et cetera," "Tulsa King" showrunner Terence Winter said in an interview with Vulture. "You probably have to be from Oklahoma to realize what's not actually Tulsa, but we did spend much time in Tulsa as well."

According to The Oklahoma 100, the OKC Dust Bowl Lanes & Lounge — not the company's facility in Tulsa — was a filming location featured in "Tulsa King." Other locales in Oklahoma City that appeared in "The General's" Season 1 adventures included the Cattlemen's Steakhouse and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. But Prairie Surf Media is where the bulk of the OKC shots came from.

Welcome to OKC's Prairie Surf Media

Nicknamed "Hollywood on the Prairie," Prairie Surf Media teamed with Cinelease to offer a one-stop film production facility in Oklahoma City. This is where the majority of "Tulsa King" was shot. Prairie Surf and Cinelease set up shop in the one-time Oklahoma City Convention Center, and it is now a 1.3 million-square-foot space solely dedicated to moviemaking. With a total of five sounds stages, one of which is 25,000 square feet on its own, Prairie Surf is anything but quaint. 

Former actor and Tulsa native Rachel Cannon joined forces with Matt Payne to form Prairie Surf and bring a bit of Tinseltown to OKC. "I think that we are growing our crew base rapidly," Cannon said during an interview on "CBS Mornings." "And I think we are growing it in a way that we're really putting qualified people to work."

Now, while filming the Paramount+ series in Oklahoma adds a touch of authenticity to the show, the movie industry has remunerative reasons for shooting in OKC rather than Los Angeles. The state rewards those who work in Oklahoma by offering a $30 million rebate incentive. However, the show is called "Tulsa King," so quite a few locations are featured in the Oil Capital of the World.

Home sweet Tulsa

Oklahoma City may serve as the backdrop and atmosphere for most of the series, but the actual city of Tulsa is featured prominently on the show. When Dwight Manfredi flies into the real Tulsa International Airport, the establishing shot reveals an aerial view of the famed 76-foot-tall Golden Driller Statue outside the Tulsa Expo Center.

One of the critical local venues featured in "Tulsa King" is Dwight's home base, which he established at the four-star Mayo Hotel. According to the Visit Tulsa's Visitor Center, downtown Tulsa's South Boston Avenue and Triangle Coffee Roasters also appear on the show. And who can forget Dwight's time at the famed Center of the Universe? After "The General" admits to himself that his good intentions for his daughter Tina's (Tatiana Zappardino) future were tantamount to him abandoning her, Manfredi steps into the Center of the Universe — a circle from which sound cannot escape — and sorrowfully apologizes.

"Tulsa King" co-star Andrea Savage was pleasantly surprised with her experience shooting on location in Oklahoma. "I didn't know what to expect from Oklahoma," Savage said in an interview with Vulture. "I really liked it! It has a really fantastic art scene, fantastic restaurants." While "Tulsa King's" impact on the city has boosted tourism, Paramount has yet to confirm if Season 2 will be shot in Oklahoma again.