Gossip Girl star Connor Paolo, who plays Blake Lively's little (and recently outed) brother, Eric van der Woodsen, has reportedly rejected an offer from the show to become a series regular, according to Entertainment Weekly.
So what's the deal?
Is he scared to be gay-cast, as Thomas Dekker allegedly was, circa Heroes?
It doesn't look like that's the case. According to EW's Gossip Girl sources, Connor Paolo is "totally comfortable playing a gay character."
More likely, it's about simple dollars and sense.
The deal that was put before Connor would not guarantee that he'd be on all episodes produced, or ASP as it's called in the TV business. Rather, the contract called for him to appear in half of the 25 episodes scheduled to air in Season Two.
That's about what he's been averaging as a recurring player as it is.
Basically, by remaining a free agent of sorts, the 18-year-old secures the same gig with none of the strings attached.
"He probably didn't want to commit to being ninth fiddle on a show," one TV agent opined. "Sure, he'll make less money than a full-time [Gossip Girl] cast member, but he's free to accept other opportunities in TV and film should they come along."
"It's not a bad move if you have aspirations to do other things."
A Gossip Girl rep declined to comment, as did the star's agent.
New contract or not, Connor Paolo remains happily committed to TV's hottest soap for the foreseeable future. Schedule permitting, of course.