Question: Will GOSSIP GIRL Ever Be a Hit?


I’m going to be Away From My Desk™ for a couple weeks, but I’ll continue to post here when I get the chance. I want to take the opportunity to encourage a little more audience participation (aka letting commenters do the work I’m supposed to be doing), so here’s a question: do you think Gossip Girl will ever be a hit? Even by the standards of the CW network?

I’m not talking about a hit online, or a hit among critics and buzz-makers, or a hit in New York, or a hit on DVD (the first season is out this week and I’m guessing it will do well), I mean a hit in the only way that really counts, at least for now: attracting a large number of viewers to the broadcasts. Gossip Girl, as I’m sure you know, does not have good ratings; that’s almost become part of its legend, that it is a hit in every possible way except a way that would actually help the network, and that ABC Family and Brenda Hampton’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager — whose moralistic, teach-y attitude is the exact opposite of GG’s — actually has more viewers. (As the linked article notes, Hampton has a long relationship with the WB/CW because of Seventh Heaven, and the CW could probably have had Secret Life if they’d wanted. They’d probably be getting better ratings with it, too.)

But does all the buzz, and the genuine popularity online, translate into something that the CW can build on to gain more actual viewers, the way Fox eventually turned Family Guy‘s fan following into actual ratings? Or is Gossip Girl so specialized in its appeal that it’s destined to be one of those shows that has all the characteristics of a hit except, you know, having people watch it on TV?

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Question: Will GOSSIP GIRL Ever Be a Hit?

  1. This isn’t actually an answer to your question (because my answer is – I dunno, I kinda hope not), but it seems screwy that networks still haven’t found a way to translate online audiences into advertising revenue.

  2. I think CW shot themselves in the foot with this one. It had the perfect time slot and chased their ideal demographic (some combination of the teenage and 18-29 audience), but they advertised it as something much too naughty for TV. It’s really not, but I think that parents, in general, are not letting their younger (or maybe even older) teens watch this show. Dawson’s Creek faced similar problems at the start, but its audience didn’t HAVE another way to watch it, so I suspect there was a lot of situations where families watched it together (and if you look at the sexual content from even the pilot to the second episode, it drops off quite a bit). Gossip Girl has flaunted its “dirtiness” (again, it’s really not) for whatever reason, and when parents are uncomfortable about the show, their kids have a million other ways to check it out. Whereas most parents don’t have a problem with The Secret Life … which is a pretty weirdly wholesome show.

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