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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).

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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.

“Phones get updated, but the inner life of teenagers, and the things that they struggle with, are pretty timeless, regardless of what device they’re on,” Schwartz said.

But ’s creators and show-runners, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, already had the beaches of Newport in their rearview mirror, with their sights on a next project.