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“We knew we needed the show,” Ostroff (currently president of Condé Nast Entertainment) said. You have to really hit something that’s in the zeitgeist, or really going to matter to people in a way that becomes an emotional connection.
And it was even more difficult for us, because we were going after a younger, more finicky audience.”It was a perfect storm: a buzzy property, a hot creative team, and a new network.
magazine featured the (scantily clad) cast of the show on its cover toward the end of the first season, proclaiming in its cover headline (only semi-tongue in cheek), “BEST. EVER.”At its core, though, while the fashion and music and Lively-ness of it all no doubt drew a large swath of viewers, the central, relatable dilemmas faced by the main characters—Blair and Serena, as well as Brooklyn “lonely boy” and eventual Serena boyfriend Dan Humphrey, ostentatious bad boy and Blair soul-mate Chuck Bass, and pinup prepster Nate Archibald—were what kept people tuning in.
The notion of a group of people being callously gossiped about online by an anonymous troll certainly has resonance in our current climate, in which celebrities (as well as politicians and public figures) are often blogged about with a blithe and biting disregard.Eighteen years old at the time, she had just appeared in a small independent film and come to a crushing conclusion: “I realized that [acting] was a business as much as a craft,” she told me more than a decade after the fact, while on the West Coast, where her husband, Ryan Reynolds, was about to start shooting a prime-time soap opera about beautiful, articulate, sun-kissed teenagers living in Orange County, was wrapping up its four-year run.The show had arrived on the scene with a tidal wave of buzz, its actors almost immediately splashed on magazine covers and pushed out onto red carpets; but after burning through plot at a rapid pace (its leading lady, Mischa Barton, saw her character get killed off somewhat unceremoniously in the third season), the show sputtered to a close, ending with a truncated final season.As Kristen Bell, who voiced “Gossip Girl” for the show, said to me, “[Schwartz and Savage] were spearheading: The show also debuted at the very end of the period during which people regularly watched shows live when they aired (as opposed to on their DVRs or laptops or phones).As Ostroff put it, “It holds such a place in pop culture and in society where people just really say, ‘I remember everything around that show.
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I remember where I was [when watching it] and what I was doing in my life.’”Viewers wanted to dress like the characters; they wanted their haircuts and jewelry and ringtones; they wanted to talk like them and listen to the music they listened to.