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March 23, 2008

'Gossip Girl'

Blakegg By Stephanie Robbins

Spotted: S and B at the Paley Festival in Los Angeles. The two BFFs were dishing about GG along with the entire cast.

That's how the real "Gossip Girl" might describe Saturday night's Paley fest panel. But I'm not her, so here's THR Girl's take.

Tim Stack from Entertainment Weekly, who admitted having the TV taste of a 16-year-old girl, moderated. Being a true fan of the show allowed him to zoom in on questions and issues the fans truly care about. (Blake Lively, left and Leighton Meester. Photo courtesy of Kevin Parry/Paley Center for Media)

The entire regular cast was present as well as creators and exec producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, exec producer Bob Levy and producer Amy J. Kaufman.

Here's a rundown of the major topics of the evening:


  • Producers went after Blake Lively to play Serena because fan sites for the Gossip Girl books suggested her for the role.
  • Leighton Meester originally went out for the role of Blair when she had blonde hair, but the network made her become a brunette to continue the tryout process.
  • Kristen Bell offered to be the voice of "Gossip Girl." Savage said when she called, they were like, "Done!"
  • Ed Westwick, who plays Chuck Bass, originally tried out for the role of Nate.

Third time's a charm for GG

Executive producer Bob Levy said "Gossip Girl" had been sold twice before -- once as a one-hour pilot for Fox and as a feature film. He believes this time the show worked partly because Schwartz and Savage reworked the character of Serena, making her someone who wanted to be a better person, rather than just a beautiful, spoiled rich girl.


The producers admitted the show is not a ratings blockbuster.

"People watch in different ways," Schwartz said. "Some watch online. The CW is a new network. As the CW grows, so does 'Gossip Girl.' We don't worry about it."

Meester added: "Fans that love the show, love the show."

Chasegg The strike

Savage said the show's story still ends in the same place this season but takes only five episodes instead of the original nine. She promised pure adrenaline from now until the end with no "D storylines," only A storylines. Having fewer episodes actually turned out better for viewers, she said. (Chase Crawford, left, and Ed Westwick. Photo courtesy of Kevin Parry/Paley Center for Media)

When GG returns

  • Lively hinted that Serena sleeping with Nate wasn't the real reason she originally left town.
  • We're going to see more "bad" Serena.
  • Cast teased to watch next five episodes to see how "Dan and Serena turn out."
  • Savage said they're looking to explore Vanessa's character.
  • Chase Crawford said Jenny and Nate are not going to hook up.
  • Blair and Jenny will go to war.
  • Michelle Trachtenberg will play a new character named Georgina. Schwartz says she's somebody from Serena's past and that "Blair fears Georgina."

Seen and Heard

  • Hearing Chuck (the actor Ed Westwick is from England) with a British accent is still shocking, no matter how many times you've heard it.
  • Lively was quick to leave the stage after the panel, while Meester and Penn Badgley stayed to sign autographs for fans. A publicist brought her back out and she signed a few of her own.
  • Lively competes in "Guitar Hero" tournaments in Brooklyn. In the episode where Vanessa and Serena play the game, the original script had Vanessa winning. She was so offended by this that she complained and got writers to change the scene so that her character wins.


THR Girl ; )


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