Schwartz Creates 'Gossip' on CW Pilot

CW is teaming with "The O.C." creator-executive producer Josh Schwartz for "Gossip Girl," a drama based on Alloy Entertainment's popular book series.

The network has given a put pilot commitment to the project, from Alloy and Warner Bros. TV, which Schwartz and "O.C." executive producer Stephanie Savage are in negotiations to write and executive produce.

Also exec producing the show are Alloy's Leslie Morgenstein and Bob Levy.

"Gossip Girl" marks the first major move in the scripted area for CW's development team under entertainment president Dawn Ostroff.

It also will be the first major commitment for Alloy -- the television/feature/book division of Alloy Marketing + Media -- under the company's new deal with WBTV. Alloy is in the process of reupping its pact with the studio for a third year.

"Gossip Girl" is set in the world of privileged teenagers attending elite private schools in New York City.

Since the first book in the series was published in 2002, the "Gossip Girl" novels have consistently ranked high on New York Times' best-seller list. The most recent book, No. 9 in the series, was released in May.

Two and a half years ago, "Gossip Girl" was set up as a feature at Warner Bros. Pictures with "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino on board to write the script and Lindsay Lohan attached to star.

When the rights reverted to Alloy, the company's executives decided to develop the books for television.

"The books are a soap opera, and TV makes a lot of sense," Morgenstein said. "When we made the list of writers who would be the best to adapt 'Gossip Girl' for television, Josh was at the top of the list."

Morgenstein and Levy said they had been eager to work with Schwartz since the two first met the young writer years ago, before he created Fox's teen soap "O.C."

"He has such a great young voice that is perfect for our material," Levy said.

As for setting "Gossip Girl" at CW, "(the project) appeals to both teens and adults and seems to harmonize perfectly with the demographic CW is looking for," Morgenstein said.

Under Alloy's deal at WBTV, the company has one more project in development at CW, "Pretty Little Things," which is co-produced by WBTV-based the Tannenbaum Co. The project, about four teen girls haunted by messages connected to the disappearance of their friend, was originally set up at the WB this past development season and is now being redeveloped.

Alloy is also reworking "Midnighters," a drama about teens who have access to a 25th hour of the day. The project was also originally developed for the WB last season.

WBTV-based Schwartz received a WGA nomination for writing the pilot for "O.C.," which is returning for a fourth season in November.

Savage previously served as a writer-executive producer on the WB's drama series "The Mountain."

On the feature side, Alloy is working on "The A-List," which is set up at Universal and "The Key to the Golden Firebird," set up at Fox 2000.

Schwartz, Savage and Alloy are repped by Endeavor.

Nellie Andreeva writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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