Long Island is no longer having "Sex."
"We shot in a couple of Long Island locations" when filming the pilot for Showtime's "Masters of Sex" in March 2012, says Sarah Timberman, one of the executive producers, but for production the series moved to California. "The initial plan had been to stay in New York," she explains, but [star] Michael Sheen is Los Angeles-based and relocation was not a possibility for him."
Still, for the pilot that sold the show -- based on Newsday writer Thomas Maier's book "Masters of Sex," about pioneering sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson -- the producers found 1950s St. Louis at the Sands Point Preserve and at a house in Huntington.
"For the opening party scene and a later ballroom scene," says Timberman, "we were at Hempstead House," the Sands Point mansion once owned by the industrialist Guggenheim family. It's also where they shot an exterior scene of Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) arguing with another character.
"It was swanky and stunning and felt perfectly emblematic of the kind of place where all of St. Louis society would show up," Timberman says.
Maier notes that the mansion Falaise in the same preserve was "owned by Harry F. Guggenheim and Alicia Patterson, who created Newsday. Here I was on the estate of Newsday's old publisher, and it was Newsday where the story started," when Maier first interviewed Masters.
The Huntington house portraying Masters' home "isn't quite true to his actual house," Timberman says, "but our showrunner, Michelle Ashford, felt there'd be something fantastic in his living in a midcentury Modern house, since the show has such a romantic view of scientific advances in the late 1950s."