Everyone’s favorite show about Manhattan’s elite teens is officially making a comeback. Deadline reported in July that HBO has ordered a 10-episode reboot of the series for its upcoming HBO Max streaming platform.
The development comes after CW President Mark Pedowitz confirmed to TVLine in February that a reboot of Gossip Girl, the wildly popular 2007-2012 series that launched the careers of Leighton Meester, Blake Lively, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford, and Ed Westwick is a possibility.
At the TV Critics’ Association press tour, Pedowitz said that the show’s revival is mostly contingent on if Warner Bros. and the executive producers of the series want to go through with it. (Spoiler: They did.) “There’s a discussion, but I don’t know if we’re there yet,” Pedowitz said. “I don’t know what it would be. A lot is up to Warner Bros. and [exec producers] Josh [Schwartz] and Steph[anie Savage], ’cause you don’t want to do anything without them.”
Here, all the details we know so far about the celebrated series returning to television.
The revival will be focused on a new set of teens.
Deadline reports that the logline for the series is: “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.”
Schwartz discussed the reboot for the first time at TCA in July, explaining why he wasn’t comfortable with the show focusing on the original cast.
We felt that a version with just our cast grown up, regardless of the challenges of getting those actors, didn’t feel like a group of adults controlled by “gossip girl” made much sense. We felt there was something interesting that we are all “gossip girl” in our own way and how that’s evolved, morphed and mutated and telling that story through a new generation of Upper East Side high school kids felt right.
Original showrunner and series writer Joshua Safran is involved with the series and will be working with Schwartz and Savage’s Fake Empire production company, Alloy Entertainment, Warner Bros. TV, and CBS Television Studios.
The executive producers are still working out the details.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter pegged to their Looking for Alaska adaptation with Hulu, Schwartz said the “freedom” of working with a streaming service appealed to their plans for the reboot, but Savage admits they don’t quite know what that means yet: “If it’s more explicit, that’s something that we’ve talked about and haven’t really come up with a solid take on. Like, can they swear? Maybe there will be some nudity. We haven’t really figured it out.” Perhaps they can take a few tips from Euphoria…
Both Leighton and Blake have said they’re open to doing a revival.
Lively spoke to Variety in April 2017, saying that she’d be fairly open to doing Gossip Girl with the original cast. “It sort of all depends,” Lively said. “Would I do seven years of the show? No, because it’s hard work and I’ve got my babies, and I don’t want to be away from them that much. But I’ve just learned in life you never say never. I’m looking to do something that I haven’t done yet, not something that I did. But would I do that? Who knows—if it was good, if it made sense. We had so much fun shooting and living and working in New York City.”
And when Meester spoke to Vanity Fair about a possible reboot in August 2017, she seemed somewhat open to the idea of reprising the role of Blair Waldorf, but approached the topic with a fair amount of hesitation.“I guess I hear that [reunion talk] in fits and starts here and there, but it’s hard to say,” she said. “If everyone was into it and if the timing was right, you know? I don’t want to say, ‘No, never…’”
Despite the hesitation, Meester has a clear vision of what Blair would be doing now. “When we last left Blair Waldorf, she had a kid with [Chuck Bass], and she was running her own fashion company,” she told ELLE in February 2017. “Blair Waldorf is probably about to debut her new fashion line. She’s probably doing New York Fashion Week! She’s got a runway somewhere.”
After the news dropped that a reboot was a possibility, Meester was asked by E! News in April 2019 if she would be open to doing Gossip Girl again. “No one’s ever asked me,” she responded. “No one’s ever talked to me about it except for in interviews, and I always say the same. I never say never. So, I don’t know. No one’s sent me that information, it’s coming from you.”
Chace Crawford definitely wants to make a cameo in the reboot.
In December, Crawford told Us Weekly that he would “be open to talking about something.” Crawford, at the time, was under the impression that a reboot wasn’t in discussion. And though he is open to the idea of playing Nate Archibald again, he thinks that the cast might be too old to reprise their former roles.“They’ll probably just reboot it and cast all new young kids,” he added. “How are we going to do it? … At 35, I’m still at the high school there, wearing my uniform?”
Then in July, Crawford mused a limited series could be a possibility…and he’d definitely be down to appear in it.
On whether they’d reboot Gossip Girl with the original cast, Crawford told Digital Spy that “I don’t know what it would look like with us being in our 30s now, but I always say, because it was such a big part of my life, I’m open to anything. It would have to be really right, and really specific, and with TV and the golden age of the TV streaming service, maybe an eight-episode season…”
Crawford said it wouldn’t be easy to assemble all the original stars either. “It would be very tough to get everybody on board I think because of their schedules, Penn, Leighton, Ed… They’re all doing really good TV shows. It would be hard I think [to get them all together]. The reboot might come in the form of new characters. I would absolutely cameo. I’d have to!”
Penn Badgley isn’t super interested, but won’t rule out the possibility completely.
Badgley suspects that a reboot won’t happen at least for another decade, and doesn’t seem to express much excitement in playing Dan Humphrey again. “I don’t think that could happen for maybe another 10 years because if you look at the shows that are being rebooted, they’re much older,” he told Marie Claire in September. “I don’t think any of us are interested in that, the creators or the cast.”
Badgley also took a “never say never” approach towards a Gossip Girl revival. “I suppose you should never say never,” he told Variety ahead of the premiere of his new pscho-thriller series, You. “I suppose there are conditions where I would. Do I think those conditions will ever exist? No. But they might.”
Despite his ambivalence, he talks about the parallels between Dan Humphrey and his new character, Joe Goldberg in Netflix’s You, pretty regularly these days.
Ed Westwick is not really a fan of the idea.
When Westwick sat down for an interview with Radio Times in May 2017, he said that he feels like the idea of a Gossip Girl reboot is impossible, and that his character, Chuck Bass, is “played out.” “Nah, that’s not gonna happen,” he told the interviewer. “I know there’s a bunch of them coming back – I hear they’re doing Will and Grace, they’ve done Gilmore Girls… But it’s such a strange thing to think about. It feels like we only just finished! And I haven’t done enough in between yet to feel like I could comfortably revisit it. And I did so much with that character – it’s played out, man. It’s done.” In spite of his harsh words, Westwick said he would take up the opportunity to play Chuck again—but only if he was offered millions of dollars.
Taylor Momsen has since quit acting, so it’s highly unlikely she’d return.
Momsen experienced growing pains when filming Gossip Girl. While on set, she focused her attention on music and eventually began touring with her rock band, The Pretty Reckless. “I’m very lucky that the producers were nice enough to write me out, allow me to tour, and pursue my passion, because they very easily could have told me to go f–k myself and keep me on the show,” she told The Daily Beast in 2014. And as far as returning to play Jenny Humphrey? “I’m not looking to go back to it,” she told Riverfront Times in 2014. “Gossip Girl was a great experience, and it helped in one way and hurt in another, but it feels like forever ago.”