Gossip Girl Producers Discuss the Show and its Spinoff

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As you surely know by now, Gossip Girl is getting ready to spin off a new show - one that would be set well before the soap's teen characters were born.

The May 11 episode of the CW show will serve as the pilot for a potential new series from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, co-creators of Gossip Girl.

The Gossip Girl spinoff, which doesn't have a title yet, would chronicle the high school adventures of Lily van der Woodsen, a former wild child turned society matron who is played by Kelly Rutherford on Gossip Girl.

The younger Lily hasn't been cast yet, but Schwartz said the show would chronicle the high schooler's adventures in the Los Angeles of the '80s.

"I'm very influenced by the '80s, as is Stephanie," Schwartz said in a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune. "A couple of movies we've talked about are Valley Girl and Less Than Zero, which are tonally very different movies. But that period of L.A. in the '80s, the Sunset Strip [music scene] of the time, the idea of coming over the hill into L.A. if you lived in the Valley - that is just something that fascinates us. It's a very romantic, exciting time."

Lily Learns

Gossip Girl is based on a book series that has its own spinoff line of novels under the name It Girl. But the producers weren't interested in making It Girl or a clone of the Monday drama about rich teens on New York's Upper East Side.

"We didn't want to do a spinoff just to do it," Josh Schwartz said.

"For us to do another teen drama, after Gossip Girl and The O.C. [which both Savage and Schwartz worked on], it needed to be something that really excited us creatively. This felt like an unusual way to go for a spinoff, but that's what got us fired up about it."

Schwartz's other show, Chuck, is very different from both The O.C. and Gossip Girl (although pop-culture references are a constant on all three).

Similarly, the new series will have its own vibe, even though the Gossip Girl creators haven't fully decided what that will be yet.

"The tone will be different, it's a whole new set of characters. You'll get to meet [Lily's] sister Carol and this whole other group of people that she lives with," he said.

"I think it'll feel very different. I actually think, in some ways, it can be broader than Gossip Girl, although Gossip Girl skews older than people think, in terms of its median age. I think there are a lot of people who could watch the [new] show with their kids, nostalgically. Most of our teen audience - their parents were teens in the '80s."

Alexandra Patsavas, who served as music supervisor for The O.C. and performs that duty for Gossip Girl (as well as several other shows), is currently digging up choice '80s tunes for the new show. Schwartz underlined the idea that the spinoff won't be using the same few '80s tunes that most of us have heard way too many times.

"We can go deeper than that," Schwartz said.

"There's a lot of stuff out there that's been kind of forgotten or hasn't yet been rediscovered yet, and no one is more up to the task of finding that than Alex."

As for whether the CW will pick up the show for fall, that has yet to be determined. Gossip Girl has not always done well in the ratings, but it's very popular online and on iTunes, and the soap gets more than its share of media coverage.

"We feel like the success of the [spinoff] lies in a greater picture, and ratings are a part of that," Schwartz said.

He was mostly mum when asked about what's coming up on Gossip Girl, and he wouldn't comment on whether we'll see Dan and Serena's secret half-brother again.

Schwartz did say that Michelle Trachtenberg would be back around April and May as troublemaker Georgina Sparks, and Chuck (Ed Westwick) and Blair (Leighton Meester) would remain at the forefront of the show.

"We get that that [relationship] works for people," Schwartz said with a laugh.

He also said many of the show's characters "graduate at the end of this year - that's going to be a very big deal and it will shape direction of Gossip Girl heading into Season 3." 

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Gossip Girl Quotes

And who am I? That's one secret I'll never tell ... You know you love me. XOXO, Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl

[to Jenny] That's the thing. You need to be cool to be queen. Anne Boleyn thought only with her heart and she got her head chopped off. So her daughter Elizabeth made a vow never to marry a man. She married a country. Forget boys. Keep your eye on the prize, Jenny Humphrey. You can't make people love you, but you can make them fear you. For what it's worth, you're my Queen. I choose you.