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Maybe they should change its name to The GG.
It seemed as if every moment of The CW's morning at the Summer 2008 Television Critics Association tour throbbed with the influence of the two-year-old network's first true signature show, Gossip Girl. From the sessions for 90210 and Privilege, two new scripted dramas with canvases largely populated by wealthy and attractive young people, to the presentation of a new reality series about young people competing for a job at a fashion magazine that caters to the wealthy and the attractive, to a press conference with CW Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff, The CW's day at TCA felt as if it were all Gossip Girl all the time.
In her opening remarks to TCA members, it took Ostroff less than one minute to make her first reference to GG, which she described as one of the network's "building blocks" for the future. Certainly, it has been instrumental in identifying The CW as a destination for the very young. Thanks to fancy freshman GG and veteran workhorses America's Next Top Model and One Tree Hill, the median age of the female-skewed CW is now 34, a full decade younger than nearest competitor Fox, Ostroff happily noted.
Critics enjoy picking on Gossip Girl because its television ratings are very small, even though its demographics are young and desirable. Some of them have been joking that there are more people staying here at the Beverly Hilton Hotel than there are watching the show every week. That said, traditional ratings appear to be deceiving, in a negative sense. Consider the growing issue of GG's much-discussed laptop viewer base, which would seem to indicate that the show is mightier than it appears under standard scrutiny.
"Gossip Girl is one of the big mysteries of the television universe," Ostroff asserted. "We have a show that everybody is talking about. We do research all over the country. We can't go anywhere without having women talk about Gossip Girl. The press is writing about all of [its] actors. Last week on the cover of The New York Times there was an article about Gossip Girl and the effect [it] has on the retail market. Bloomingdales in the article is quoted as saying that when something appears on Gossip Girl it sells out in [that store]." Ostroff also referred to a recent story on NPR that quoted an influential advertising executive as saying that 'Nielsen does not have enough people in [its] sample to accurately measure the viewing habits of this country. People are viewing content in many different ways.'
"Every viewer must be counted, and no viewer should be left behind," Ostroff declared.
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