Right now, Josh Schwartz is one of the busiest guys in television. The creator of "The OC" has two must-watch shows on the air this fall, "Gossip Girl" on the CW and "Chuck" on NBC. At the TCA press tour this summer, he took some time to talk with me about teen shows, James Bond and the wonders of Rachel Bilson.
So, big year for you.
Yeah, it's been a big year. The end of "The OC" and two new shows ? it's been a pretty exciting and emotional year.
Let's take "Gossip Girl" first. How did the idea come about to grab those books and work with them?
Those books were at the CW. And then from the CW, I got a call about them, and I read the first one, and I said, "You know, this could be something really great." And I called Stephanie [Savage, his co-creator and former "OC" writer/producer] and I said ? I was already developing "Chuck" at the time ? and I said, "If you'll do this with me, I'm all in." And so she was down. So I read the books. They have this crazy following, and it seemed like a great opportunity. And I also liked the idea of doing a show like this at the CW, at a time where there weren't a lot of these kind of shows out there. It reminded me of the glory days of the WB when I was in college.
Is there a heritage that you see for where "Gossip Girl" came from?
Definitely ? those early years of "Dawson's," "Felicity," "Buffy," that whole period of stuff. "The OC" was definitely a part of that tradition as well.
Where did "Chuck" come from?
Chris Fedak, whom I co-created the show with, we went to film school together at USC. He pitched me the concept, the idea of an average guy getting secrets downloaded into his brain. I thought it was a really cool idea, and I thought it could also be really funny. And I had been wanting to do something that had some genre elements to it after "The OC." The first stories I ever wrote as a kid were, like, James Bond stories in my journals in summer camp, so I've always loved that world. I also really wanted to write about people in their 20s and what they're going through, but it's really hard to do a show about people in their 20s. It becomes a lot of navel-gazing, people complaining about their lives. But if a guy in his 20s is complaining about his life because he was almost killed by a ninja the night before, now you've got something.
Lots more from Schwartz, so