The primary locale of the first three seasons is in the fictional town of Agrestic, California. During seasons four and five, the Botwins reside in the fictional beachside town of Ren Mar in San Diego County, California. During the sixth season, the family relocates to Seattle, Washington before moving to Dearborn, Michigan. In between seasons six and seven, Nancy serves a prison sentence in Connecticut while her sons and brother-in-law live in Copenhagen, Denmark. At the beginning of season seven, Nancy moves into a halfway house in New York City where she reunites with her family. They live in Manhattan for the duration of the season, but relocate to Connecticut in the season seven finale and throughout season eight.
The show debuted on the Showtime cable network on August 7, 2005, earning the channel's highest ratings. The show concluded after airing its eighth season on September 16, 2012. In 2012, TV Guide Network bought the airing rights, providing an edited version of the show to audiences free of charge.The show has received numerous awards, including two Satellite Awards, one Golden Globe Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, a Young Artist Award, and 2 Emmy Awards.