When Gossip Girl returns to the air on Sept. 1st, new episodes will also be available on the CW’s web site for ad-supported streaming. It’s a reversal we’d been hoping for ever since the new TV network — which is having trouble quantifying the show as a hit despite receiving widespread buzz for it — took Gossip Girl off its site in an effort to boost television viewership.
The move, however, failed to have the desired effect: Gossip Girl continues to be popular on iTunes and unpopular on TV — where it’s getting fewer than 2 million viewers per episode. In fact the CW’s president of entertainment, Dawn Ostroff, told television critics last weekend that the network is looking to a new survey by Optimedia that includes “television, downloads, iTunes, mobile” in its rankings. “‘Every viewer must be counted, and no viewer should be left behind,’ Ostroff declared,” according to one account.
Optimedia’s survey ranks Gossip Girl as the 15th most popular show on television, as opposed to the below-100th place it takes in Nielsen’s ratings. But notably, Optimedia also measures “PR mentions and word-of-mouth ‘buzz’,” according to a press release — the intangibles that seem to be Gossip Girl‘s biggest and most perplexing asset.
One way or another, we’re breathing a sigh of relief. Had Gossip Girl numbers gone up, networks might have started pulling down streaming episodes all over the place.