New CW series to take place in 1980s L.A.
Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are going back in time for their upcoming “Gossip Girl” spinoff.The new CW project will focus on a younger version of “Gossip Girl’s” Lily van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford). Spinoff centers on the character as a wild teenager in 1980s Los Angeles, when she was known by her maiden name, Lily Rhodes. Spinoff will be produced as a backdoor pilot, as expected, and air May 11 as an episode of “Gossip Girl.” In the new project, which is based on an original idea by Schwartz and Savage, Lily moves in with her sister, the black sheep of the family, after a falling out with her parents. In the process, she must adjust to living in the San Fernando Valley (during the height of the Valley Girl craze) and going to public school, having previously attended a wealthy Montecito boarding school. The spinoff will center much of its action on the Sunset Strip (which was in the midst of its own heavy metal, hairband era) and Hollywood, where Lily discovers a world of wealth and excess. “There has been a lot of speculation about a ‘Gossip Girl’ spinoff, but we were adamant that it had to be the right time and the right idea,” the producers said in a statement. The duo said they didn’t want to diminish “Gossip Girl” or upset the show’s chemistry by spinning off a character; they also said they didn’t want to dilute the metropolitan feel of the New York-set original — hence the decision to set the spinoff in 1980s L.A. “Gossip Girl” is based on the original series of books from Alloy Entertainment. Schwartz and Savage will exec produce with Alloy’s Bob Levy and Leslie Morgenstein. Mark Piznarski, who helmed the “Gossip Girl” pilot, is onboard to direct. Warner Bros. TV and CBS Paramount TV are behind the show. Separately, NBC and Warner Bros. TV have changed the name of their upcoming John Wells police drama yet again. Once known as “LAPD,” and then “Police,” the show has now been titled “Southland.”