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Gossip Girl revival creator says show is almost certainly too expensive to find a new home

Josh Safran apparently had to chop some last-minute cliffhangers out of his HBO Max series after it was abruptly canceled

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Whitney Peak and Jordan Alexander in Gossip Girl
Whitney Peak and Jordan Alexander in Gossip Girl
Photo: Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max

Say what you like about HBO Max’s (now former) revival of Gossip Girl: It didn’t flinch away from putting its budget up on the screen. From the opulent homes of its young Manhattan socialites, to their opulent fashions, to their opulent lifestyles, the show was dedicated to embodying a high-society world that was, in a word…expensive.

Which has now become a fairly serious problem, as the show—recently canceled at the cancel-happy streaming service—was reportedly looking around for a new network that might be willing to foot the bill for its pricey tastes. This is per a post-mortem interview with series creation Josh Safran, who talked with Vanity Fair this week about the apparent impossibilites facing a possible revival of the revival.

It takes a lot of money to look this good,” Safran notes in the interview, pointing out that the only way for the show to really break even would be if it was pulling in event TV numbers like House Of The Dragon, or recent hit premiere The Last Of Us. (Although he also remarks, “Who even knows what anyone’s numbers are?” which is one of those abiding giant question marks of the streaming era.)

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As to actually finding a new home, Safran’s not optimistic:

I don’t think we will end up anywhere. We are, again, so expensive. I am so grateful for having been given that. We were able to throw events with many extras in the biggest locations in New York that I feel none of us who work on the show—actors, crew—can believe we were even allowed to do. And that costs a lot of money. But, it’s all on the screen—I think this show is as gorgeous as any show on television. I just don’t believe that we will end up somewhere else because everybody is cost cutting.

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Safran says his hope had been to get the show to a fourth season, with each covering a single semester of life at Constance Billard. (And notes that he and his writers had already done a mini-writers’ room to sketch out more specific plans for the third season.) He also says HBO Max actually asked him to include extra cliffhangers to the end of the show’s second, and now final, season, before they switched directions and canceled the series; that being said, the streamer was gracious enough to allow him to “go back in and amend some of the stuff in the finale at the end. It doesn’t all get tied up, but the story engine for season three was launched at the end of season two, and I removed that.”