The show was created by Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi and began as minute-long shorts in 1989 that aired in between regular programs. Owing to the popularity of the shorts, five half-hour specials were made, followed by a regular half-hour series that ran for three seasons (1993–1996) and continued in reruns until around 1999. The N (now TeeNick) aired reruns of the show between 2002–2003. The first two seasons were released on DVD in 2005 and the third was planned for 2006 but was indefinitely postponed.
Pete & Pete is set in the fictional town of Wellsville; like The Simpsons' Springfield, its state is never revealed, even though there is both a town and a village of Wellsville in Allegany County, New York, as well as others in Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Utah. In addition, Glurt County, mentioned in the episodes "Yellow Fever" and "The Good, the Bad and the Lucky," does not exist. The show was filmed largely in Cranford, New Jersey with location shots done in a variety of other spots around northern New Jersey. The exteriors of Pete & Pete's house (as seen in the credit sequence and other shots) were filmed on Woodridge Place in Leonia, New Jersey. The football field used for various episodes is actually Bayonne High School in Bayonne, New Jersey.