Fall TV Preview

Gossip Girl Preview: Dan's Blair Crush, Nate's Control Issues and Chuck's Dangerous Detour

When Gossip Girl opens its fifth season Monday, our favorite Upper East Siders will be all over the map — literally and figuratively. Serena’s working hard in Hollywood, while a broken-hearted Chuck is channeling his inner daredevil. Back in New York, Dan’s Hamptons reverie is interrupted by the publication of a certain book, while Blair is busy planning her royal wedding. Oh, and yes, someone is definitely preggers.

TVLine got a sneak peek at the Season 5 premiere earlier this week and then pumped executive producer Josh Safran for insight into the action-packed opener and what lies ahead.

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OF BOOKS AND BLAIR | Dan and Blair haven’t been in touch over the summer, but that doesn’t mean what happened last season has been forgotten. A meaningful scene between the two in the loft makes it perfectly clear that “he definitely has feelings for Blair,” notes Safran. “I don’t know if it’s really romantic with Dan and Blair… The triangle, in our minds, is Chuck, Louie and Blair.” That’s not to say Dan doesn’t figure into things. “Dan’s role in it is surprising,” continues Safran. “He will both add to the Chair shippers and detract for the Chair shippers, alternately.” While his “pining is an undercurrent,” the big storyline for Dan will be the release of his book, a Blair-centric chapter of which is set to be published in Vanity Fair in the premiere. “Everyone does have a reaction, and it’s not necessarily the reaction that Dan expects them to have,” teases Safran. “But it’s also not the reaction that they expect to have.” Could one relationship suffer in the aftermath of the book’s release? After all, according to the EP, Dan and Nate’s “friendship is going to have some complications thrown into it very soon.”

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THE RETURN OF GOSSIP GIRL | The show’s titular blogger is front and center in the new season. “Gossip Girl is very much a regular this year, almost as much as she was in Season 1,” says Safran, who wouldn’t say if the character’s increased role will lead to her unmasking. One thing is certain: She will face some stiff new competition. “Maybe there’s someone else who’s going to use technology in a way that will threaten her,” teases Safran. Hmm, sounds like some Payne is in store — Diana Payne (a.k.a. the sharp businesswoman played by Elizabeth Hurley.) Speaking of which…

MASTER PLAN | Hurley’s character will quickly set her sights on Nate and weave him – and by extension, everyone else – into her nefarious plan. But unlike the mysterious Juliet, Diana’s agenda is clear. “She’s very honest about it,” explains Safran. “Even though she may move the chess pieces around to get what she wants, she says up-top, ‘This is what I want.’ So if people don’t comply, she’ll just move them and get what she wants.”

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JUST SAY YES | Chuck’s new thrill-seeker lifestyle will actually open “the door to a new avenue for him,” teases Safran. So what can we expect from the man who’s seen everything and done everyone? “It is the only possible next step in the evolution of Chuck,” is all Safran would reveal.

JUST FRIENDS | Sorry, Nate and Serena shippers, but the exes will remain “very good friends” in the near term. “We don’t have plans to revisit that [relationship] right now,” says Safran. Instead, the two will have plenty going on in their lives outside of romance. Serena finds a mentor in a female producer (guest star Michael Michele) and starts “taking stock of what her skills are and how to use them.” Nate, meanwhile, realizes he’s lost and doesn’t know who he is. “He’s got almost the biggest story of the bunch,” reveals Safran. “His journey really relates the most to growing up and taking control of his life.”

THE BIG 100 | Safran offers this vague but tantalizing hint about the show’s “awesome” 100th episode later this season: “We’ve been watching the pilot a lot.”