NYC’s messiest Instagram account is typing its “XOXOs” for the last time. “Gossip Girl,” the HBO Max series and sequel to the CW hit of the same name, has been canceled, the streamer announced Thursday. The news comes in the middle of the show’s Season 2 run, which began on December 1 and will conclude January 26.
In a tweet Thursday, showrunner and executive producer Joshua Safran stated he intends to shop “Gossip Girl” to other outlets.
“We are currently looking for another home, but in this climate, that might prove an uphill battle, and so if this is the end, at least we went out on the highest of highs,” Safran wrote in his tweet.
The series, which premiered in July 2021 to considerable hype, is a continuation of the original 2007 series of the same name created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. Based on the young adult series by Cecily von Ziegesar, the original series focused on a group of privileged Upper East Side teenagers (played by the likes of Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and Penn Badgley) attending the fictional Constance Billard and St. Jude schools who are terrorized by the anonymous blog “Gossip Girl,” which publishes the dirtiest secrets of the city’s rich and glamorous.
The new series, which comes after the original concluded in 2012 after six seasons, focuses on a new generation of teens at the schools and their harried teachers, who revive the Gossip Girl brand as an Instagram account in a dubiously ethical attempt to keep their students in line.
“We are very grateful to showrunner/executive producer Joshua Safran, and executive producers Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz for bringing us back to the Upper East Side and all the scandals at Constance Billard,” HBO Max said in a statement. “Although we are not moving forward with a third season of Gossip Girl, we thank them for the enticing love triangles, calculated backstabbing and impeccable fashion this series brought to a new audience.”
Initially, the “Gossip Girl” series was a success, with HBO Max reporting that the first episode broke the record for the streamer’s most-watched show over its debut weekend. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the series’ ratings declined over its first and second season, and the decision to cancel was based on the show’s underperformance rather than as a cost-cutting measure, which has become common at Warner Bros. Discovery
Reviews of Season 1 were negative, criticizing the show for its writing, pacing, and lack of the messy drama that made the original series compelling. IndieWire TV critic Ben Travers gave the series a “C-” rating in its first season, calling it “a series built on absence” that “feels as glossy, buttoned up, and boring as its influencer’s Instagram page.” Season 2 of the series was relatively better received than the first, scoring a 68 on Metacritic compared to the first season’s 51 (albeit based on a much smaller sample size of reviews).
“Gossip Girl” 2.0 starred Jordan Alexander and Whitney Peak as half-sisters Julien and Zoya, while Eli Brown, Thomas Doherty, Emily Alyn Lind, Evan Mock, Zión Moreno, and Savannah Lee Smith play the other teens in their social circle. Tavi Gevinson (a former fashion blogger, in a slightly meta casting for the series) plays the English teacher who runs the Gossip Girl account. The series’ other regular and recurring cast members include Johnathan Fernandez, Adam Chanler-Berat, Todd Almond, Laura Benanti, Grace Duah, and Megan Ferguson. None of the main cast members from the original series returned, but Season 2 featured Michelle Trachtenberg reprising her role as manipulative socialite Georgina Sparks.
Safran executive produced “Gossip Girl” for Random Acts, with Schwartz and Savage executive producing for Fake Empire and Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo executive producing for Alloy Entertainment. Lis Rowinski co-executive produced for Fake Empire. Warner Bros. Television and CBS Studios produced the series for HBO Max.