Josh Schwartz Spills Secrets on the Gossip Girl Spinoff

I was full of questions after hearing that Gossip Girl's long-rumored spinoff was going to be focused on young Lily - so it was a pleasant surprise to see the gossip guy himself, executive producer Josh Schwartz, turn up at NBC's TCA party on Thursday night. Read on to find out what I learned:

* Pay attention to the next-to-last episode of Gossip Girl this season. That's when the spinoff characters will be introduced, Schwartz said. "It'll be flashbacks that will sort of illustrate a crisis. It will resonate thematically with something that will be happening inside that episode.

* They're seeking the actress to play young Lily. "We're starting now," he said. "We have a couple months."

* They didn't necessarily want to do a spinoff at all - until they hit on this idea. "We talked about The It Girl, the book series that is a spinoff, but for me and Stephanie [Savage, also an executive producer], to do another teen drama . . . we needed something that was going to inspire us. We started talking like, 'What if we did this?' and that got us really excited."

* Yes, versions of Lily and other characters could be in both shows at once. "We can introduce characters on the spinoff and then they can show up in the present, and vice versa, and the two things can kind of inform each other," Schwartz said.

To hear about the fashion, the music, and why Lily's a character worth exploring, just read more.

* Lily was compelling because it was his way into writing about the '80s. "She was my DeLorean," he said. "She was my phone booth."

* Wipe those visions of bad '80s fashion out of your head. "Stephanie is the fashion guru, and the stuff that she and [costume designer] Eric Daman have done for Gossip Girl I think is really influential and impactful. . . Eric is going to do the new show as well, so you know the clothes are going to be great.

* And the music is going to rock. "Our goal is going to be to dig up under a couple of rocks maybe some songs you haven't heard in other '80s kinds of things and find some forgotten gems as well as stuff that you love," Schwartz said. "Some songs are still great no matter how many times you hear them, and we definitely don't want to shy away from those, but we all are also interested in finding music that maybe you forgot about or never even heard. And there's a whole generation of viewers, Gossip Girl viewers, who I think this music - this whole world, this decade - will be largely new to."

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