The defining show of the naughty-aughts, Gossip Girl was a flagship series on the CW, showcasing bad behaviour and amazing outfits. Read on for 43 facts about your favourite primetime soap. You know you love it, xoxo.
43. A Prophecy?
In an interview with Vanity Fair about the show, voice of “Gossip Girl” Kristen Bell described the creators as prophets. Says Bell: “[Creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage] were spearheading: ‘What if the Internet is just a place to judge people? What if that’s what it turns into?’ And they turned out to be Nostradamus.”
42. Parental Guidance
The show was considered scandalous trash by the Parent Television Council, who called it “every parent’s nightmare” and “mind-blowingly inappropriate.” The show’s response? They used the quotes on their promotional posters.
It worked! Gossip Girl was one of the first programs whose DVR and iTunes viewer numbers were higher than broadcast ones.
40. Gossip and the City
The show has catapulted into New York City Television history! You can take a bus tour (created by the same people who created the Sex and The City Tour) of the sites featured in the NYC show.
39. Fashion Fans
Eric Daman, the costume designer for Gossip Girl, was also the costume designer for Sex and the City. He even won an Emmy for his work on that show.
38. Location, Location, Location
But the show almost didn’t film in NYC. For cost purposes, producers wanted the show to film on the other side of the border, in Toronto. Creators refused, citing the city’s real setting as integral to the feel and look of the show. They even called it the real star of the series!
Metropolitan Museum of Art
37. It’ll Cost Ya
That star didn’t come cheap. It cost producers between $10,000 and &60,000 a day to rent locations in authentic NYC.
36. Too Real for the Reality Index
NYMag created an online reality index for each episode, tallying how realistic or unrealistic the show was. The producers read the recaps religiously, and responded or made changes based on the column.
35. Give The Girls Some Air!
One of the most influential terms of the NYMag column was the “Cleavage Rhombus,” which they used to describe the asset-revealing clothing worn by main character Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively). As an assistant costume designer with the show said, “Cleavage Rhombus was all of a sudden a term we used with frequency.”
After the Reality Index pointed out that Dan Humphrey first lived in Dumbo and then Williamsburg, the show responded by changing the area where the Humphreys lived to the more general Brooklyn.
33. Same Fish, different pond
Throughout the show, the Humphreys are considered less wealthy than their Upper East Side counterparts; they live wrong side of the bridge. However, the average price for real estate is the same between Dumbo and the Upper East Side: around $1,400 a square foot!
Upper East Side
32. Not in Brooklyn Anymore
Despite all the real estate hub-bub, the actual address of the Humphreys’ loft is given as 455 Water St. In reality, this is the location of a park that is actually in lower Manhattan.
31. A Real Palace
Chuck and Serena’s address, however, was accurate. In the beginning of the show, both live at 455 Madison Ave, better known as The Palace Hotel.
30. Meaner Girls?
Originally, the adaptation of the book series Gossip Girl was pitched as a movie that was supposed to star Lindsay Lohan as Blair.
29. Rumour has it …
When the film became a TV show, the network was hoping to cast Ashley Olsen as Blair and famous progeny Rumer Willis as Serena. In fact, even Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for the role of Serena.
28. Nick of Time
Blake Lively was about to quit acting before being cast in Gossip Girl. After starring in a few films, notably The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Lively had had enough. She told Vanity Fair “I realized that [acting] was a business as much as a craft… People will go see your movie based on your standing and all of that, and it didn’t make sense to me because I was 18 and being an artist.” Having already took her gap year, she planned to leave Hollywood and enroll in college.
27. Badge of Honour
Penn Badgley was also on the verge of quitting acting when he was offered the role of Dan on the show. He wanted to turn it down, but was persuaded to stay by Savage.
26. The Penn is Mightier than the Gossip Girl
However, Badgley doesn’t necessarily love the choice he made. He has spoken publicly since the series finale about how he didn’t love all aspects of the show.
25. Best Friends
Reticence to acting wasn’t the only thing Badgley and Lively had in common: They were actually home-schooled together when they were kids.
24. Big in China
An executive on show said that when she met with Chinese executives they told her that the country’s most illegally streamed show was not CSI or Lost but, you guessed it, Gossip Girl.
23. American Psycho
Ed Westwick originally auditioned to play Nate Archibald rather than bad-boy Chuck Bass. However, producers didn’t want him for either role because to them he “looked more like a serial killer than a romantic lead.” His real favourite movie? American Psycho.
22. Oh Brother!
In real life, Lively has a brother named Eric, the same name as her fictional brother on Gossip Girl.
21. Shout out!
Producer and writer Jessica Queller got a character named after her: Headmistress Queller.
Creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage had plans to connect their two most famous worlds, Gossip Girl and The O.C. The spinoff of Gossip Girl would follow Brittany Snow as a younger Lily (Serena’s mom), and would have had younger versions of The O.C.’s characters.
19. Summer Who?
Nonetheless, the worlds are still linked off-screen: Leighton Meester (Blair Waldorf) is married to Adam Brody, aka Seth Cohen!
18. Girls just want to have fun
Penn Badgley is married to Girls star Jemima Kirke’s sister Domino.
17. Over the Top
The name of Rufus Humphrey’s band is Lincoln Hawk, the very same name of Sylvester Stallone’s character in Over the Top–a cult classic mentioned repeatedly in The O.C.
16. Close for Comfort…
Matthew Settle used to date Kelly Rutherford. On the show they were on-again/off-again couple Rufus Humphrey and Lily van der Woodsen.
15. Strangers on a Show
William Baldwin, who played Serena’s father, didn’t want to meet Lively before filming so that they could easily portray a strained relationship.
14. So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way
The hairstylist from Gossip Girl said that Lively’s hair was quickly iconic. As she told Vanity Fair, “A lot of magazines would call and want to do interviews on how you get the ‘Serena look.’ . . . It was like ‘the Rachel look [from Friends].'”
13. Talk About Lively!
Lively’s whole life took a star turn after the show: she dated Leonardo Dicaprio, was on the cover of Rolling Stone, and hosted SNL. Costume designer Daman noted “It really felt like life imitating art.”
12. Blondes Have More Fun?
Meester dyed her hair to get the part as Blair. Said Schwartz, “She came in and she was really funny, and really smart and played vulnerable. But there was one problem: she was blonde. … So, [Meester] went to the sink and dyed her hair. She wanted it.’”
11. As You Wish
Wallace Shawn played Blair’s stepdad, and when Blair is engaged to Prince Louis, his character refers to Blair as “The Princess Bride,” a reference to the cult movie Shawn was in.
10. Gossip Guy?
Dan was almost revealed to be Gossip Girl in the pilot. Test audiences assumed it was him because the voice over played while he was typing, so producers edited the scene before it went to air.
8. For Whom the Bell Tolls
Kristen Bell voiced the iconic Gossip Girl throughout the entire series, and wanted to be revealed as the real villain in the season finale–she wanted to play “some vicious part and actually come out as Gossip Girl.”
According to some rumors, Taylor Momsen was going to star in a spin-off about Jenny Humphrey at boarding school. Instead, she left the show to pursue her music career. No hard feelings though: Her band Pretty Reckless went on to have their music featured in the series.
6. Fan’s Lucky Day
An overzealous fan of the show once snuck onto set, which was shooting on location at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel at the time. The sneak was mistaken for an extra!
5. Are you an Audrey or a Kate?
Costume designers modeled Blair’s look on the classic style of Audrey Hepburn. For Serena? Style bad girls Kate Moss and Sienna Miller.
Lively was fitted for Serena’s wedding dress the day after her real wedding to heartthrob Ryan Reynolds.
3. Newly Famous
When Gossip Girl premiered it was a huge hit. According to a stylist on the show, the audience treated the cast like the Beatles. Hairstylist Jennifer Johnson said, “I had a little S.U.V. at the time and I had it parked out front of our location at the school. There were just so many fans everywhere, and when we wrapped at the end of the day, there were handprints all over my car.”
2. Still Got it!
Because of streaming, the cast still has fans all over the world. Star Chace Crawford (Nate) said, “It’s so weird how the same demographic has been frozen in time. Fourteen-to-20-year-olds still come up to me freaking out and it’s because they binge [the show] on Netflix.”
If you think the amount of onscreen hookups was prolific, wait ’til you hear about what happened behind the scenes. Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr had a brief relationship, and Leighton Meester dated onscreen love interest Sebastian Stan. Blake Lively and Penn Badgley were dating while the show was in production, but they kept their relationship incredibly private and didn’t even tell the rest of the cast when they broke up, keep it a secret from the crew. As one producer said, “I don’t even know how they did it.”