WARNING: On advice courtesy of the fine folks from E!Online, this TV Addict wanted to warn readers that this recap may contain some GOSSIP GIRL spoilers. You’ve officially been warned!
7:07PM: Obligatory introduction by the Paley Center’s Barbara Dixon,who reminds the audience that tonight’s panel being streamed online is a Paley Center first. In other words audience members, put your cell phones away. There’s no need to post bootleg clips on YouTube.
7:09PM: Entertainment Weekly [also known as the TV Addict's bible] writer Tim Stack is moderating tonight’s panel. He opens up by stating that he’s got the television taste of a sixteen year old girl. Umm… Tim, don’t feel bad, we get the same thing. And it’s a fourteen year old girl, not sixteen!
7:11PM: Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage introduce a clip package highlighting the season thus far. Which will give us GOSSIP veterans some time to well, gossip. Any guesses if ‘S’ and ‘B’ will be sitting next to eachother on the panel? Who’s your pick for the Gossip Guy Ausiello teases will be coming out of the closet when the show returns on April 21. For the record, the TV Addict’s very own behind-the-scenes gossip assures us it’s Eric.
7:28PM: Tim Stack introduces the panel. What the FRAK is Vanessa [actress Jessica Szhor, who looks so much better in person by the way] doing on the panel? Can Dan and Serena not catch a break? At least she left her creepy video camera at home! Also in attendance are Ed Westwick, Matthew Settle, Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, Kelly Rutherford, Taylor Momsen, Leighton Meester, Blake Lively, Bob Levy, Amy Kaufman, Chace Crawford, Penn Badgley, Cecily von Ziegesar and Stephanie Savage.
7:35PM: Moderator Tim Stack is oddly obsessed with Blake’s hair. Cat-fight breaks out between ‘S’ and ‘B’… so kidding!
7:36PM: Original GOSSIP GIRL author Cecily von Ziegesar talks about how the books got published. How do we say this diplomatically… this is the Paley Festival for Media. Not Book Fest. More Josh Schwartz Please.
7:38PM: The cast is taking turns answering the obligatory Paley Panel question, “How did you get the role.” Interesting tidbits, Leighton had to dye her hair. Blake was really apprehensive after watching her sister end up in a cage [see: SAVANNAH]. Penn did three other WB series and was like, “Oh God, now it’s the CW, can I go back there?” [Anyone remember him on the short-lived WB sudser THE MOUNTAIN?]. Matthew Settle’s wife was a huge WB fan, loved GILMORE GIRLS.
7:48PM: Executive Producer Bob Levy reveals that GOSSIP GIRL was originally going to be a movie and also almost ended up on FOX.
7:56PM: Tim tells Jessica Szhor that he’s not a fan of Vanessa! Stephanie Savage reveals that in the future Vanessa is going to start to find her own niché outside of playing the third wheel to Serena and Dan.
8:03PM: Best line of the night thus far. Leighton says, “I’d like to say it’s a challenge playing bitchy…”
8:06PM: GOSSIP GIRL GOSSIP: Blake reveals that perhaps sleeping with Nate wasn’t the REAL reason she left New York! [How's that for scoop Ausiello?] Josh promises that fans will start to see a bit more of ‘Bad’ Serena when the show returns.
8:11PM: Author Cecily von Ziegesar is thrilled with how her books were translated to the small screen. Her expectations were really low to begin with. Never having seen THE OC, she assumed Serena would be a lifeguard and Blair would be a teen mother by day, stripper by night [For the record, we're cool with that]. Yet after meeting Stephanie and seeing the pilot she’s fallen in love with the show. Would love to see Vanessa shave her head and Chuck get a monkey. Josh jokes, the monkey turns Chuck gay [We really have to start reading those books!]
8:12PM: Most awkward Paley Fest Moment EVER! Cecily starts talking about Jenny’s boobs in the books and looks to Taylor and says, “I mean you haven’t gone through puberty yet…” No really, seriously awkward…
8:13PM: Tim Stack asks, “where are the gays? It’s New York!” Josh Schwartz very quickly changes the subject. See Ausiello’s spoiler.
8:14PM: More GOSSIP Scoopage: Serena and Eric’s biological father is coming soon!
8:15PM: Blake is obsessed with GUITAR HERO and made Josh re-write the episode earlier in the season so Serena beat Vanessa. Apparently Blake goes to real life tournaments in Brooklyn. Photos please… anyone?
8:17PM: Rufus will be singing and playing guitar on an upcoming episode.
8:20PM: Stephanie Savage says that the season will end off exactly as planned before the strike. They pretty much condensed nine episodes into five, so fans can expect all ‘A’ stories.
8:22PM: Josh Schwartz teases the final five episodes of the season [suck it Ausiello!], “Blair and Jenny are going to war. Serena and Chuck are siblings with all the fun that comes with that. Michelle Trachtenberg is coming on as Georgina Sparks and Georgina is someone from Serena’s past. Blair fears Georgina. Says Josh Schwartz, “Things are going to get cccrrrraaaaazzzzzyyyyyy.” [Note, 'crazy' stretched out for dramatic affect!"]
8:24PM: Kristen Bell actually reached out to play the voice of GOSSIP GIRL. Says Stephanie Savage, “She loved the script!” We love Kristen.
8:25PM: Josh teases that Nate and Vanessa will start to hang out more. Which in the world of GOSSIP GIRL means they are totally hooking up.
8:32PM: Ed Westwick’s band is playing next Saturday night in New York. So if you’re anywhere near ‘The Annex’ feel free to YouTube a few clips.
8:38PM: Another awkward look between Blake and Leighton after Blake jokes that blondes have more fun. Could those PageSix rumors be true? We’re starting to think so.
8:38PM: Lame fan question of the night. To everyone on the panel, any advice for aspiring actresses. Clearly someone didn’t read the TV Addict’s Question Not to Ask. Second best line of the night from executive producer Bob Levy, who had this tip to make it in Hollywood, “It doesn’t hurt to be attractive.” Amen brother!
9:41PM: Another awkward fan question, “Who are you all dating in real life? Any country singers perhaps?” The panel quickly moves on.
11:43PM: The final question of the night is surprisingly intelligent. When asked what their plans are when the kids graduate high school, Josh says that it isn’t such an issue since school plays such a minimal role in the show. Remarks Stephanie, “We don’t even have a single classroom set.”
And with that, the evening is over as the audience rushes to the stage to know doubt grab a lock of Chace Crawford’s hair. Kudos to moderator Tim Stack who really did a great job of moving the panel along and not talking about himself. As well as the Paley Center for Media for giving fans this unique opportunity to experience the Paley Festival without having to shell out the big bucks to fly to Los Angeles.