Mayor Bloomberg Hangs with 'Gossip Girl' Cast to Tout NYC-Based Productions

By Jill Colvin on January 26, 2012 1:15pm 

QUEENS — As if smooching Lady Gaga wasn’t enough.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent the Thursday afternoon hobnobbing with stars of the hit show "Gossip Girl," including stunners Blake Lively and Kaylee DeFer, Ed Westwick and Kelly Rutherford, to celebrate a record year in TV production and the show’s 100th episode.

“I don't get to do this every day,” said the beaming mayor on the show's set at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, where he announced that 2011 broke all records for TV production in the city, and issued a proclamation declaring it "Gossip Girl Day."

The show, which is shot on location at hot spots across New York, is one of 23 series that has filmed, or is scheduled to film, through the 2011-12 season — up from just nine prime-time series a decade ago, he said.

Movie production is also up, with 188 films and 140 TV programs, including news shows and reality programs, shot in the Big Apple last year.

"Gossip Girl" executive producer Stephanie Savage said that when she first had the idea for the show, she was told it would be impossible to shoot in New York.

“We were quickly told it would be too expensive, too complicated," she said.

But when she was shown a sliver of space on a sound studio in California and told that would be the show's Central Park, her mind was made.

“It became our mission: New York, or bust,” she said, descibing the city as one of the central characters on the show. “We are honored to shoot in this city. There is no Gigi without NYC."

While the mayor admitted he's not a die-hard fan of the teen sensation, he had the cast laughing as he read a well-rehearsed proclamation, stating his interest "in finding out who the real Gossip Girl is. Serena’s cousin, maybe?"

"And I just don’t see how Blair could marry Prince Louis when she’s clearly in love with Chuck," he continued, "though she and Dan became pretty close when they interned together at that fashion magazine."

"And I wish Nate and Vanessa had been able to work things out, but I guess Nate was preoccupied with everything that was going on with his father, and Jenny would’ve ended up making their relationship impossible anyway," he joked. "But again, I’m just a casual fan."

Lively, whose signature blonde locks were in perfect form, smiled politely through the mayor's remarks, and later posed with the rest of the cast, wearing a black sheath dress, blue beaded necklace and long plaid coat.

Co-stars DeFer and Kelly Rutherford stood on the sidelines, dressed to the nines, with Rutherford clad in black sequins and DeFer in a gold and black tafferta dress, with rhinestone-encrusted shoes.

After the cast departed to go back to work, Bloomberg, whose New Years' Eve kiss with another home-grown talent, Lady Gaga, has garnered numerous headlines, said that meeting celebs is still a highlight of the job.

“Everybody’s always enamored with television and film and stars. It’s bigger than life. I always think, when I’m going around meeting people, they seem be impressed with me, the mayor. I can’t imagine why," he said. "I’m impressed with meeting people who are on television and in films."

But just like the Lady Gage kiss, he said he doesn't plan on gabbing about his fun to live-in girlfiend Diana Taylor.

“I sort of pinch myself and I’ll go home and say, you know, this morning I was with the 'Gossip Girl' cast. [But] Diana and I can’t talk about it. It’s a business thing,” he joked.

Officials say the film and TV industry contributes approximately $5 billion to the city’s economy each year, employing 100,000 New Yorkers, who work in front of the camera, in post-production or behind the scenes.

The state currently offers a 30 percent tax credit to films shot in the city, which is set to expire in four years. The city had also offerered an additional 5 percent cut, but that was discontinued back in December due to budget cuts.

Gossip Girl's 100th episode is set to air Monday.

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