Gossip Girl is making a comeback. WarnerMedia’s soon-to-launch streaming service HBO Max has ordered 10 hourlong episodes of a reimagined version of the pop culture phenomenon that made household names of stars such as Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick. The project hails from the original series writer and showrunner, Quantico creator Joshua Safran, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire, Alloy Entertainment, Warner Bros. TV and CBS Television Studios.
Like the original series, the new iteration of Gossip Girl, written by Safran, is based on the book by Cecily von Ziegesar. The logline: Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The prestige series will address just how much social media — and the landscape of New York itself — has changed in the intervening years.
Safran executive produces with Fake Empire’s Schwartz and Savage, and Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo of Alloy Entertainment. Fake Empire’s Lis Rowinski is co-executive producer. Fake Empire and Alloy Entertainment produce in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios.
Gossip Girl ran for six seasons from 2007-2012 on the CW across 121 episodes and aired at a time when social media was taking off.
The CW president Mark Pedowitz revealed at TCA in January that there had “been discussions” of bringing back the series, amid the plethora of classic TV show revivals, but the decision hinged on Schwartz, Savage and Warner Bros being on board.
The sensation of the original series extended beyond television, impacting young women’s fashion sense. The New York Times reported in 2008 that Gossip Girlwas “one of the biggest influences on how young women spend.” The series spawned a Gossip Girl fashion line by designer Anna Sui in 2009. By 2011, Warner Bros. partnered with Romeo & Juliet Couture to create another official clothing line inspired by Blake Lively’s Serena van der Woodsen and Leighton Meester’s Blair Waldorf. There was also a cosmetics line with Birchbox, with products curated by the series’ makeup department head, Amy Tagliamonti, and hair department head, Jennifer Johnson. Verizon Wireless had a contract with the series for five seasons in which characters were seen holding their cell phones. Industry estimates pegged that in 2007 sponsors such as Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal, Target and Johnson & Johnson shelled out over $28M in ad dollars to Gossip Girl.
Safran created drama series Quantico, which aired for three seasons on ABC. His most recent project Mixtape, musical drama starring Jenna Dewan, Callie Hernandez and Madeline Stowe, was picked up to series by Netflix. Safran, who co-wrote the screenplay for Endless Love, also served as showrunner on NBC’s Smash.