If you have been suffering withdrawal pangs since ‘Gossip Girl’ went on hiatus, there is no need to ask Little J to hook you up with a fix. The show will return Monday March 8 on The CW, with brand new episodes. After a rocky start this season, the show adjusted to the college years with more aplomb than most teen series. Executive Producer Stephanie Savage reveals that this spring will be filled with drug dealing teens, possibly back-from-the-dead mothers, and a potentially scandalous Nate and Serena sex scene.
What are the major storylines going to be for the second half of the season?
There are ten episodes coming up. If we were cable, that would be almost a whole season. So I’m very excited that we have that much of the season left. We’re running ten in a row so there’s going to be no pre-emptions. It’s driving towards the finale with a new episode every week. Serena and Nate will come together as a couple, which is really fun, very sexy. Chace [Crawford] and Blake [Lively] have great on-screen chemistry. They have a very light, fun and frothy relationship which is offset to some degree by Chuck (Ed Westwick) and Blair (Leighton Meester) who have a more intense emotional story solving of the mystery woman who is at Bart’s grave. Jenny is in her story with Damian (Kevin Zegers) who did a great job for us. It’s a story that started before our break, where she’s getting drawn further and further into Damian’s drug dealing world. Dan is dealing with the fall out of his, ‘I love you,’ to Vanessa.
Are there going to be any episodes that push the envelope and generate controversy the way the threesome episode did?
I don’t know about generating controversy. I think a lot of the controversy that was generated by our threesome episode wasn’t really warranted. But I do think that we’re definitely pushing the envelope with some of our storytelling and some of our sequences. We have a sequence that Serena and Nate do that we refer to in the script as 9 1/2 Weeks in 9 1/2 seconds. That is in the episode that Andrew McCarthy [directed.]
There were a lot of big-name guest stars in the first half of the season. Are there going to be more celebrity appearances?
For the second half of the season, we are largely focused on our core characters. Michelle Trachtenberg’s coming back as Georgina. Sebastian Stan’s coming back as Carter. Billy Baldwin is a very exciting guest. He’s playing William Van Der Woodsen, Serena’s Dad.
Is Chuck’s mother alive?
You will have to watch and see.
How did you approach moving the characters from high school to college? That’s been a difficult transition for so many teen shows.
It was hard to make such a big change but our premise for the show has always been the franchise is New York City. It wasn’t high school. We actually take pride in the fact that we never had a classroom set or any stories where you saw the kids sitting in desks or having lab partners. So I think the transition for us was a little bit easier than on some shows, but it’s always a tricky matter when you’re changing that much of a show. I think especially in the second half of the season we’ve really got a handle on how to keep everybody connected and tell those OMG stories without using high school as their meeting ground.
Is it a challenge keeping Jenny and Eric integrated into the rest of the show since they are still in high school?
It was a little bit of a challenge the first half of the season but [now we’ve got] the Jenny story that we’re telling the second half of the season and Eric has a great story connected to his father’s return. So that’s actually made it a lot easier to have them integrated into stories with the other characters because they’re not high school stories.
You mentioned Michelle Trachtenberg. Did Mercy moving from mid-season to fall and getting picked up for a full season make it logistically difficult to include Georgina in the show?
We had already worked with Michelle and her other producers before Mercy got picked up to guarantee that we had her for a certain amount of episodes, which was really generous on their part. So we knew we would be able to tell a good Georgina story at the beginning of the season. We’re grateful that they’re loaning her out to us for our finale.
Is the character of Scott, Serena and Dan’s long lost sibling, going to be back?
You will not be seeing Scott for the rest of the season, but he could always come back next year.
A lot of bloggers questioned the casting of Hilary Duff (Olivia) given that her persona is the opposite of the show’s hip and edgy image. Do you think she was a good fit for the show?
I think that, for the character she was playing, Hilary did a great job. She fit very well with our ensemble. The character very much worked in terms of her persona and her talent. We were very happy with how that arc turned out.
Are the characters going to continue to get glamorous, aspirational jobs that people wouldn’t normally be able to have until they graduated from college and got several years of experience?
Well, Serena was a publicist’s assistant. She did have to pick up James Franco’s underwear and get the coffee order. Getting that job with a high school diploma’s probably not the most realistic thing in the world, but for someone of her social standing it seemed viable. You’ll see on the second half of the season, and in season four, the kids in college. Chuck certainly has an aspirational profession in terms of owning his hotel.
Looking back on the season so far, what have been your favorite and least favorite moments?
I definitely enjoyed our last episode before we went off the air. I think the Thanksgiving episode had a lot of great moments. The dinner scene was one of my favorites. The least favorite moments I cut out in the editing room so that you never see them.