Queens-filmed Gossip Girl celebrates 100th Episode
by Lisa A. Fraser
Feb 01, 2012 | 435 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The cast of Gossip Girl stands with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On the left: Ed Westwick, Kelly Rutherford and Blake Lively. On the right: Penn Badgley, Matthew Settle and Kaylee Defer.
The cast of Gossip Girl stands with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On the left: Ed Westwick, Kelly Rutherford and Blake Lively. On the right: Penn Badgley, Matthew Settle and Kaylee Defer.
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As fans of the CW11's hit show Gossip Girl anticipated its 100th episode, the show was giving New York City a lot of “xoxo's” in return for the part it has played in making 2011 the busiest year ever for television production in New York City.

And Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed Thursday, January 26, as Gossip Girl Day in New York City.

In a press conference held last Thursday at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, where many of the show's scenes are filmed, the mayor expressed his gratitude for the prime time show's role in New York City's up-and-coming film industry.

“While many of the shows [filmed in New York] re-create locations from around the world, Gossip Girl has made New York a central character,” he said, while noting that ten years ago, only nine prime time series were based in New York. This season that number is up to 23 – the most ever.

“The success of Gossip Girl is a testament to New York's booming film industry,” Bloomberg said.

The cast and producers of the show, along with local elected officials, and Silvercup Studios CEO Alan Suna, joined Bloomberg as he revealed that he too is interested in finding out who the real gossip girl is.

“When the opportunity to make Gossip Girl was first presented it was very exciting; it was an opportunity for storytelling and character and to create a whole world but also important was the opportunity to shoot a show in New York City,” said one of the show executive producers, Stephanie Savage.

“We were promptly told that this would be impossible; it would be too expensive, too complicated, there aren't enough stages, but it became our mission and we are honored to shoot in this city; there is no GG without NYC,” she added.

Josh Safran, the show's second executive director, said that New York has “given Gossip Girl its sparkle and shine.”

“Nowhere else but New York can you put the camera anywhere and have the most luxurious, incredible captive backdrop,” he said.

The mayor touted the economic impact of the show, which is part of the “Made in NY” program and employs nearly 200 crew members and over 6,300 actors, stating that Gossip Girl and other shows which are made in New York can be felt directly in all five boroughs.

He noted that in its fourth season, Gossip Girl hired more than 120 principal actors, 180 crew members and more than 7,000 background actors. The series also purchased supplies and rented equipment from more than 500 local vendors, office supplies from a business in Williamsburg, and stages and lumber from Le Nobel Lumber in Long Island City.

According to the mayor, last year New York City hosted more than 140 television shows and 188 films. The industry contributes an estimated $5 billion to New York City's economy every year and approximately 100,000 New Yorkers make their living working behind the scenes as makeup artists, electricians, production assistants, and carpenters.

The “Made in NY” production assistance program, established in 2006 as part of several workforce development programs with Brooklyn Workforce Innovations and the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, enabled New York City to surpass all previous records for film and television production.

More than 300 production assistants have been certified as Made in New York PA's and have gone on to work on more than 1,000 productions to earn a collective salary of $7 million in wages, Bloomberg said.

And in 2011, “Made in NY” productions received 110 Emmy nominations and won 23 awards.

“We are certainly a TV town with the success of Gossip Girl and the number of other shows that are made in this town,” said Katherine Oliver, Media and Entertainment commissioner. “we're really securing our legacy as the birthplace of modern television.”

The Office of Media and Entertainment issues permits to projects that shoot on location, and works with productions and the local communities in which they film.

In Long Island City, Silvercup Studios produces 400 commercials each year and also serves as a set for six other well-known prime time shows such as White Collar and 30 Rock.

“We are thrilled to be part of that economic development which creates thousands of well-paying jobs for all of us here at home,” said Suna.

Bloomberg said he expects New York's film and television industry to keep growing and will make investments through the Made in NY program to make sure that it continues to grow.

Gossip Girl first premiered on the CW in September 2007. The 100th episode of Gossip Girl aired Monday, January 30, at 8 p.m. on the CW.
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