Gossip Girl Boss Joins Smash as Showrunner

Spotted: Gossip Girl executive producer Josh Safran walking towards Broadway en route to his new gig on Smash.

The current boss of The CW soap has been tapped to take over showrunner duties on the sophomore season of NBC’s musical drama. He will succeed Smash creator Theresa Rebeck, who exited the series in late March.

Season Finale Spoilers: Scoop on 52 Big Finishes!

Safran has been with Gossip Girl since its debut in 2007, serving first as writer/consulting producer and then co-exec producer before receiving a bump to EP last season. There’s no word who’ll replace him at GG, which is expected to return for a sixth and final season.

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57 Comments
  1. Sabrina says:

    I hope this means that GG is dead.

  2. roXie says:

    YAY!! Maybe Gossip Girl is not doomed to fail after all. Let’s hope josh schwartz take over! The final season of Chuck was pretty brilliant!

  3. Chris says:

    Partying in my house ya all are invited !! Bring Josh Schwartz back. He and Stephanie S started Gossip girl and they have to finish it together !! The mom and dad of this show!

  4. Oh, thank God. I love Smash, so I apologise in advance for how Safran is going to lay waste to its current greatness. But I couldn’t be happier that the dancing fool is gone.

    No longer will we have to endure his repetitive use of the word ‘fun’, the definition of which he clearly has no grasp of. No more will we have to put up with his sub-par storylines and lack of knowledge about Blair’s true character.

    I have been praying for this day since season 3. I prematurely regained hope at the start of S4, but returned to my senses this season after B lost all self respect and starting relying on others around her to handle her problems.

    Now, I’m just waiting on Schwartz and Savage to return. Mum and Dad have been gone too long and the kids have run wild in their absence.

  5. TheLonelyPlace says:

    Smash is DOOMED! This is one of the seven signs of the apocalypse

  6. Mark says:

    Safran has been cancer for Gossip Girl. Glad someone else, hopefully actually competent, will get to close the series out.

  7. Spike says:

    bye bye SMASH, Gossip Girl is bad enough

  8. Time for Josh Schwartz to come back and finish GG like he started,full circle.We are waiting for you!!

  9. maytheSCHWARTZbewithyou says:

    Please please please bring back JOSH SCHWARTZ and STEPHANIE SAVAGE for the final season of GG! I still watch the show b/c I keep hoping that I will feel the same way I used to about it. It used to be so fresh and witty. Now it’s just lazy and redic. and I’m putting a lot of the blame on you Safran! The characters deserve a decent send off with some “high brow” writing :)

  10. Leena says:

    My deepest sympathies for the Smash fans who will now have to put up with him destroying their show. But I can’t wipe the smile off my face.
    Maybe GG isn’t as doomed as it has become under his leadership. Maybe someone can come in and repair the damage he has caused, fingers crossed for Schwartz and or Savage coming back and saving this show from complete destruction of all that was once good about it.

  11. Cort says:

    Well I’m definitely done with Smash and hoping all the “delicious” damage he’s wrought during his tenure can be undone to give a satisfying 6th and final season. I’m going to hang in there a whole longer and keep the faith. I miss Schwartz and Savage honestly.

  12. Smarie says:

    YES YES YES!! Cancer is a great way to describe the effect Safran has on the show. Not only has he retconned EVERYTHING lately, he has no idea who is characters are! He said it would be ‘vintage blair’ last episode…I couldn’t even watch her scenes she was so pathetic. He has ruined every single core relationship on this show, which is disgraceful but the worst thing he has done has been to destroy the Blair/Serena friendship. They were the foundation of the show and for the past 5 years have been the most constantly strong bond on the show. They are sacred, you don’t mess with them! Blair would never steal the love of her best friends life when she KNEW serena still loved him. Not a chance in hell would a boy, HUMPHREY, come between them. He is an ass, good luck smash lol

  13. elena says:

    I feel so sorry for the Smash fans! I am so happy that Safran leaves. This season of GG was disastrous. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage please come back to fix this mess!!!

  14. Jenny says:

    I do not like they live, i hope his replacement is good

  15. deleighted says:

    I’ve always secretly pray for this to happen for a long time and still when Safran leaves, I think it’s too good to be true. I don’t put all the blame on Safran only for wrecking GG and turning it into a big retcon with unrecognizable characters but it’s also unarguable that he has played a huge part in destroying it. Now that he is replaced, hopefully by Schwartz and Savage -the ones who understand the characters for who they really are, the final season of GG may end on a good note after all.

  16. astrid says:

    … but that doesn’t mean that the same crap Gossip Girl is about (a couple of rich and beautiful idiots interchanging sex-partners as if this was normal behaviour towards your friends, your ex and yourself) to infect Smash???
    Please don’t do this!

  17. Liz says:

    This this may be good for Gossip Girl, but it is bad for Smash. Safran has destroyed GG since he took it over and I am terrified he will do the same thing to Smash. He should not be allowed to run any show. I might go back to watching GG next season, but it looks like Smash won’t be lasting much longer.

  18. Ti says:

    I’m sincerely sorry for Smash. But I can hope, as other original GG fans, that Josh Schwartz c

    • Ti says:

      Comes back and maybe get us to seasons 1-2 glory. Even season 3, before the whole Jenny-Chuck debacle. They could make the last two seasons be a dream in Jenny’s head or a pot induced trip for Nate. Something that salvages this show that went from being good to being unbearable.

  19. Jeannette says:

    I really hope schwartz and savage come back for a final 13 episodes to fix the mess Safran made. Pretty please?

  20. *Gossip Girls fans rejoice*
    *Smash fans weep*

    Honestly, Safran is a pretty good writer, he’s written some great GG episodes in the past. He just should’ve stuck to writing and left the producing/showrunning to someone more qualified, because he’s run this show straight into the ground. So… bad news for Smash, I guess…

  21. True, Safran may suck as an EP but is a good writer !

  22. LOL people really don’t have a clue. IT’S SAVAGE WHO IS RUNNING GOSSIP GIRL WITH JOSH SAFRAN, where the hell do you live? On Mars? And if anything, the good storylines Gossip Girl had this season (Dan and Blair above all) are his own merit. LOL forever at all the bitter people. This is great news for Smash, he’s an experienced producer AND he needed something different it’s not like he’s gonna do Gossip Girl on Smash.. it’s a totally different show with a totally different approach. I’m thrilled he’s going to be on Smash, seen as it’s my favourite show. I’m glad he gets rid of the crazy Gossip Girl fans (and the above is proof of it). All the better, Smash is for adults, not for kids, so he’s finally free from the shipper wars and the death threats over fictional characters.

  23. Fabricio says:

    This is that I think could happen if Safran is the showrunner of Smash. Derek would leave Ivy and will start to date Karen, but Ivy will become more bitchy and ambitious and send gossip to a internet blogger. Sorry “K” but there are only “M” in Bombshell and she is “I”

    Michael will return.

    Julia wil have a nervous breakdown after her divorce and she will try to get back Michael and Tom will become like Will or Jack characters from Will & Grace.

    Dev, Frank and Ellis must be fired from the show. Sorry guys. Smash needs lonely boys or prince hedonist charmings like Nate or Chuck

  24. Carla says:

    Oh no. You have got to be kidding me, that’s terrible! He has run GG into the ground about 2.5 seasons ago. Why does he have to move on to my fav show- I stopped watching GG a while ago, and now he’s gunning for Smash? Booooo :( I’m afraid that’ll mean even more drama and even less musical. Great.

  25. James says:

    Oh dear, I guess we can rule out a third season renewal for Smash then…

  26. LadyB says:

    My condolences to “Smash.” Any hope this show had of regaining its momentum is gone. Isn’t Safran tired after laying waste to “Gossip Girl”? Maybe he should take a sabbatical…

  27. jimmy says:

    You guys speak for yourselves. I am LOVING this season of GG.

  28. Huh says:

    This seemed like wierd news at first, but I think Safran is oddly perfect for the job. The past two seasons of GG have made a lot of creative missteps while he has helmed it (Dan/Blair is NOT one of them, guys, rme) so maybe it’s better for GG too? Smash has been such a mess, though. IDK that I think it can be salvaged. At least GG has great characters and cast to get you through the dry spells, like the royal wedding story line or End of the Affair stupidity.

  29. Nira says:

    We will miss you Safran. Thank you for giving us Dair

  30. Emily says:

    He made Dan and Blair possible, I love him so much for the. The perfect couple.

  31. Limayn says:

    You will be missed so much JS. You are the Dair godfather, thanks a lifetime for them

  32. Limayn says:

    Josh Safran <33333 Please dont go :'( …We love Dan and Blair so much

  33. wendy says:

    I am afraid for the future of Blair and Dan now, hope they endup together

  34. @Fabricio Michael IS back, this season and within one episode. That was planned from the start. He’s back for the final 2 episodes. Nothing to do with Safran, and everything to do with the fact that was the plan from the start. Julia is in love with him, and not with Frank. That’s been the story since the beginning of the season.
    Josh Safran can only do Smash good. He’s a great writer and he sure knows how to develop a compelling love story (see Dan/Blair). Smash needs someone with TV experience, that the previous showrunner didn’t have, and in any case a showrunner runs the DAY TO DAY and oversees operations, it’s like a CEO. Not like the CEO builds the parts of a company, he just oversees the whole work. And Theresa Rebeck is STILL going to be on the show as Executive Producer and she is STILL the creator of the show. So this is going to be a ideal mix, because we will have both the original concept AND someone who can bring in TV experience.
    And once again for those who don’t get it, the overall direction of Gossip Girl is not on Josh Safran’s shoulders only, that’s on Stephanie Savage just as much. But it sure is him who needs to be given credit for Dan and Blair. Which, may I remind you, is possibly the ONLY story on Gossip Girl that gained critical praise everywhere. The fact some bitter shippers don’t like it doesn’t change a thing. From the writing point of view, it was great.

  35. fernanda says:

    LOL at the comment of Safran being able to develope a compelling love story. That’s why the ratings for gg are so awful (and just keep getting worse), the buzz for the show is pretty much dead and people are all hating on gg on twitter and facebook, right? And Dan and Blair gaining critical praise everywhere? Where do you live? Reviewers are pretty much bored with the show and don’t care anymore, there is no buzz and even Cecily, the creator of GG, makes fun of Dan/Blair. GG got praise and buzz back in season 1 and season 2, where the core of the show were Serena/Blair and Chuck/Blair’s relationships. But ever since Safran became an executive producer in s3, everything is being a mess. He ruined everything to make his precious Dair happen. He threw Chuck and Serena under the bus to make DB get closer. He destroyed CB, DS, and completly ignored SB (that was supposed to be the main relationship) to prop DB. Blair is so far away of being the Blair of s1 and s2. They had to make her weak and boring so Dan could be the one who “saved” her and DB “could find theirselves”. Vomit. Blair is isolated now with Dan. She can’t have scenes with her friends anymore. It’s no wonder casual viewers are so annoyed and bored with Blair now. The writing is awful, it feels like an AU universe where everything is a prop for Dan/Blair. So glad Safran is leaving. I feel bad for the fans of the other show though. E

    • Huh says:

      You must have missed the social ratings that came out the other day. GG’s buzz is way up from last year, not down. Like it or not the Dair and Chair fans are both vocal about loving or hating Dair and it has created the most buzz GG has had since S2.

  36. Jamey says:

    I am happy for him. I live the journey that he has taken me on with gg for the past few years and the journey that led to dair.

  37. @fernanda actually, the MAIN reason why GG got good critics this season was Dan and Blair. That’s written and there for everyone to see. It is a FACT. There were plenty of good critics about them and the writing for them. And that’s definitely on Josh Safran for building this up since last season and for putting together, with the writing team, a compelling love story about them. And don’t even try with the ratings. All of the CW shows are doing terrible this season across the board, the whole network is doing terrible, and this is a show in its 5th season so, no matter what they did, the ratings weren’t going to be sensational. The fact you’re clearly one of those angry Chuck/Blair fans doesn’t change the reality of critics and writing. Chuck and Blair NEVER got as much critical praise as the writing for Dan and Blair did. Also, may I remind you that Josh Safran was on Gossip Girl since DAY ONE? So ALL the stuff you loved about Gossip Girl? He wrote and decided about THAT, TOO. The three people running Gossip Girl were Schwartz, Savage and Safran from the start. That is another fact. The fact YOU dislike this season doesn’t make it badly written.That’s merely your taste. It’s the problem with shippers. If they don’t get what they want, nothing matters.They have the whole film in their heads and when it doesn’t happen “OMG you’re ruining the show!”. Good writing is objective for critics, and it’s not about you getting what you want for your ship. At all. I find Blair a MUCH better character now than she was when she was around Chuck. I find her MUCH more compelling and much more sensible and much more well-rounded. That’s my taste obviously. But the fact this has been well-written is not taste, that’s what everyone who knows a thing or two about writing has said. I don’t honestly care who Blair ends up with. Not one bit. But I can for sure say that Dan and Blair got a LOT of critical praise from critics who matter, because that’s
    I don’t even understand why people who have nothing to do with Smash are commenting on this. Smash thankfully is VERY detached from the horrible Gossip Girl fandom. It’s a show for adults, about adult stuff and Broadway that’s got NOTHING to do with GG. Couldn’t be more different, so anything dealing with Gossip Girl has got nothing to do with it.

    As a major Smash fan, I am thrilled that Josh Safran is going to be the showrunner. He can certainly bring in the TV experience that the show needs to improve.

    • fernanda says:

      GG is not getting good critics, it’s A FACT. All I am seeing everywhere are reviewers bored with it to the point of looking like they don’t care anymore about gg. LOL, even NYMAG that used to be a big supporter of the show is unhappy with this season and they are cleary confused and angry at the way Blair is being written. And you know it’s bad when even the creator of the character (Cecily) makes fun of her. And Chuck and Blair never got as much critical praise as the writing for Dan and Blair did? REALLY? REALLY? Season 2 was the season gg had the best ratings and the most buzz. And the buzz was all for CB.That’s a FACT. People don’t like dair and neither does the media. The buzz for the show is dead, that is a FACT. People are unhappy on twitter and facebook, that’s a FACT. Casul viewers don’t like the new Blair, that’s a FACT. It’s not a compelling love story when you can’t keep people interested. People are unhappy with gg, that’s a FACT. The ratings just keep getting worse since the “let’s destroy everything to make DB happen” show started. That’s a FACT. Seriously, it’s not only ME who thinks the show is awful and DB is ruining it. That’s a FACT. And the FACT is, who knows a thing or two about writing knows the show is a joke now and it’s not well-written.

  38. fernanda says:

    When you have to ruin the characters and all other relationships to make a couple happen, you know it’s bad. And I am not talking as a “shipper”. I would be ok with DB if the writers had respected the other characters and relationships. But no, they had to destroy everything else so Dan and Blair could happen. It’s not good writing.

    • Huh says:

      Social ratings for GG in May 2011 (CB drama): 6,203/10,544
      Social ratings for GG in May 2012 (DB shenans): 11,107/19,281

      That’s almost double, fernanda. GG has has more online buzz than ever with it’s first real shipper war. A lot of the bigger critics that like DB such as Dan F., the AV club, Tierney, Carina, and Ausiello unfortunately don’t write recaps of GG, and the person who does the NYM reviews is a Chair fan. When someone else wrote the 516 review they praised DB and NYM wrote an article about how the show sold them on Dair last season, so.

      • Huh says:

        May 2012 should be April 2012 obviously. I don’t have a time machine. ;)

        • is says:

          Oh, social media. Interesting. Go check on twitter and facebook. like, 80% of the comments about Dair are negative. Oh, people love them (sarcasm)

          • Huh says:

            That’s not true, though. And regardless, the idea that Dan/Blair is killing the show’s “buzz” is clearly false.

  39. fernanda says:

    But the good thing is, almost no one is buying it. I think Safran thought he could make DB the new “it couple”, but it didn’t happen. People are just unhappy with DB and Blair now. I love all the hating they are getting. And no, it’s not only shippers who dislike DB. It’s pretty clear the casual viewers are bored with them too and the critics don’t like them or simply don’t care about them. Good job Safran, ruining the show for a couple that failed for the audience in general.

  40. You can roll in all your shipper hate as much as you want. You’re refusing to accept FACTS and making up fake ones. Anyone can go open the critics pages and see that the Dan and Blair storyline got praise left and right. Again, FACT, whether you like it or not. The fact you keep stating the opposite doesn’t change reality. The positive critics are there for everyone to see.

  41. fernanda says:

    The one refusing to accept FACTS it’s you. Go read the reviews for gossip girl. The reviewrs (the ones that are still making gg recaps, because it’s a fact a lot stopped recapping gg) are pretty much bored. Also, go search for season 2. you’ll see a lot of buzz for CB. Now THAT was gg getting praise and lots of buzz. The fact that you keep stating DB is a success or that Safran developed a succesuful love story doesn’t change reality. People are bored, the buzz is dead and the ratings are awful is just keep getting worse. I mean, less that’s 1 million viewers? It’s embarassing.

  42. I think you are confusing the pages you read in forums with the Chuck Blair fans posting with actual TV critics. It’s not the same thing. I’m well aware of reality, you don’t seem to be able to distinguish between fans and critics. And that closes a discussion that should never have started, I know better than to even start discussing with shippers.

    Also, this article isn’t about Gossip Girl storylines in the slightest. It’s about Josh Safran joining Smash. The fact Chuck Blair fans are so pathetic and bitter as to go spew hate on something that has NOTHING to do with Gossip Girl speaks volumes. This is about Josh Safran joining SMASH. It is another show, on an actual network as opposed to a teen network, with adult actors and adult storylines. Nothing to do with Gossip Girl or any of what happened on Gossip Girl.

    Again, seen as Smash is my favorite show currently, I am thrilled that Josh Safran is joining it because of his expertise and talent. And that’s it. Bye.

  43. fernanda says:

    I am not confusing anything. I am talking about reviewrs, like NYMAG. And no, just because I am unhappy with Gossip Girl it doesn’t make me a “bitter” and “pathetic” Chuck and Blair’s fan. I am a viewer, just like you. I have the right to my opinion, no? I think the writing is awful. It has nothing to do with whom I ship or not. You are the one making it a shipper war. And the article has a lot to do about Gossip Girl since it’s also about Joshua Safran leaving it. And since a lot of people are unhappy with the way he is directing the show it’s not a surprise people are happy with Safran no longer being the executive producer. Funny how you try to bring down the CB fans calling them “pathetic and bitter” but in the end you just come out 100 times worse than a “bitter shipper”.

  44. charissa29 says:

    so now that Safran has destroyed GG he is being given the chance to destroy Smash?! Damn it! I LIKE Smash. Talk about failing up! Is he sleeping with someone at the network?

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