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‘Gossip Girl’: Joshua Safran Revised Episodes Based on Social Media Updates

With blogs left behind, the "Gossip Girl" reboot asked what social media was capable of and how can that be used to tell a story.

'Gossip Girl' Reboot Opportunity to Expand On Race and Technology

The new take on Gossip Girl is one meant to captivate audiences, whether they watched The CW original when it aired or not. The reboot/continuation, airing on HBO Max, follows a fresh group of Constance Billiard students and what happens when the mysterious, unknown personage known as Gossip Girl returns to spill their secrets.

For the showrunner Joshua Safran, as well as original series creators Christina Savage and Josh Schwartz, they’ve seen how much the first show influenced subsequent generations. Safran, who also worked on the initial iteration, said while visiting his brother in Hawaii, he saw the show’s impact first-hand.

“I was sitting [in a tide pool] and all of these kids, teenagers, were talking about ‘Gossip Girl,'” he said during the series’ recent press event. Because of the series being available on Netflix, it allowed new waves of fans to discover it. “To me, it’s never died,” Safran said. That meant he didn’t feel compelled to court a newer audience.

For Schwartz and Savage, the pair weren’t interested in doing a reboot purely for the sake of it. “It really had to feel like the right take; that it would be relevant,” Schwartz said. After dabbling with every form of bringing the series back, including a feature film, they ended up taking Safran to breakfast and his pitch won out.

Said pitch emphasized a world that was not only racially diverse, but included a landscape different from the original series, technologically speaking. “Most of our plots [in the original series] were driven by, ‘What can your phone do?'” said Safran. “Verizon would come and bring us prototypes of upcoming phones and we would base our plots around, ‘What are the unique capabilities of this new phone?'”

This time around, the writers were asking, “What are the capabilities of social media and how can that be used to tell a story?” Because of technology’s constant updates, episodes had to follow suit. “Facetime recently updated,” Safran said. “So we have to update FaceTime on the show to make that right with what the world is.”

Watch the full interviews below. “Gossip Girl” is now streaming on HBO Max

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