Fall TV Preview

Gossip Girl Boss Previews Blair and Her Men, Serena's New Life, and Exploiting the UES

A scandalous book, a mysterious new outsider, and one complicated love triangle — or is it a square?

The fifth season of The CW’s Gossip Girl, premiering Set. 26, has enough drama to keep its titular blogger glued to her keyboard for weeks. Wedding bells will be ringing for one Upper East Sider with a bevy of men in her life, while another finds her destiny far away from Manhattan.

Below, executive producer Josh Safran previews a new season that he says will be lighter, poppier, and a lot more fun.

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FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLL | Sorry, Chair and Dair fans, Blair’s nuptials to Louis are still very much on, and Safran’s excited about all the story potential that comes with such a royal affair. “There’s the shower. There’s the dress. There’s photographs,” he says. “There’s seating charts. There’s cake tasting.” But what about a hiccup or two? “Planning a wedding, even a non-royal one, can be a pain,” he teases. “[Blair and Louis] are definitely feeling those pains, and also the joys, that come both as a couple and independently.”

LITERARY SUPERSTAR | Vanessa’s unwelcome goodbye present – publishing Dan’s book without his knowledge – will be a big font of storylines. The season-long arc will propel Dan into a new world for which he may not be ready. “His maturation process is going to be sped up, because this is not a decision that he made for himself,” explains Safran. “When that happens…it is very much like a bullet from a gun that somebody else fired.” As the season opens, the young author will find himself “playing catch up and [wondering], ‘Where am I? Where am I?’” As for what the tell-all means for Dan and Blair’s friendship, Safran remains cryptic: “It affects things very much.”

DAIR TO CHAIR | After a fateful kiss, the show returned from a brief hiatus to have the Dan-Blair romance recede into the background. So what gives? Safran says the writers knew from early Season 1 – Episode 4, to be precise – that the two “were going to have a connection that was surprising to both of them, and was based on a shared emotional life.” Safran maintains “that storyline” — the impact of that connection on both Dan and Blair’s lives – “in whatever form, is continuing.” He singles out the final scene between Dan and Blair in the Season 4 finale, in which it appeared that Dan wasn’t quite over Blair, as “a very conscious and consciously placed piece.” Meanwhile, Chuck is in Los Angeles when the season kicks off, but Safran assures that he and Blair are always going to have stories together. “We have not abandoned Chuck and Blair by any stretch of the imagination,” he adds. “But that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be Chair or Dair or Lair or whatever nickname people want to give that.”

A NEW SERENA | Brace yourself for a shock. “Serena is lost no more,” reveals Safran. The flighty blonde will find her purpose in Los Angeles, which provides the backdrop for her new life in the season’s first two episodes. “She has taken the job that was offered to her at the end of last season, and we see just exactly how that has panned out for her,” teases Safran, adding that “Serena’s goals come very clearly into focus.”

GOSSIP GIRL, MEET PAYNE | The introduction of Elizabeth Hurley’s strong, savvy businesswoman Diana Payne will mean big things for Gossip Girl herself. But an unmasking of the all-knowing blogger is not in the cards. Rather, the show will be exploring “the role that Gossip Girl plays in our world,” says Safran. Diana, who’s also taking a look at the site, “sees the potential in an untapped market of these young twentysomethings that she believes could be exploited better,” explains Safran. So how does one take advantage of that demo? Lure them over to your side, of course! “She really takes it upon herself to avail herself of our cast and get them to come work for her.”

Which of Safran’s plans for Season 5 of Gossip Girl excites you most? Sound off in the comments!