Safran couldn’t let go of that idea.
“To me, that’s the only reason to do another version, to come up with something you hadn’t seen before,” he says. “Josh and Stephanie were immediately on board, and so were Warner Bros and HBO Max, and that was that.”
The focus on the teachers almost came as a separate idea, inspired by Safran’s own time in an Upper East Side private school and his friends who have worked in Upper East Side private schools over the years. He had always envisioned a show about being “a teacher in those spaces, where your job is to try to teach children who don’t really care, because they have all the privilege in the world.” At some point, that show and the new Gossip Girl became one and the same.
“On the first show, we only saw one teacher, and we never went into the classroom because that was a rule that Stephanie had, since there were enough high school shows,” Safran explains. “So I was like, okay, this time around, let’s look at the teachers.”