By Rebecca Henely
Before “Gossip Girl” fans tuned in to see if Blair Waldorf would marry Prince Louis Grimaldi of Monaco or return to her old flame, Chuck Bass, Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered an early wedding present to the cast.
Bloomberg visited Silvercup Studios, at 42-22 22nd St. in Long Island City, last Thursday to recognize the hit TV show for its 100th episode, which aired Monday. He said shows like “Gossip Girl,” as well as movies and commercials filmed in the city, contribute $5 billion to the city’s economy and employ about 100,000 people both in front of and behind the camera.
“This is a show that has captivated viewers across the country,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor declared last Thursday to be “‘Gossip Girl’ Day” and presented a proclamation to the executive producers of the show, Stephanie Savage and Josh Safran, as well as its staff and stars: Blake Lively, Penn Badgley, Ed Westwick, Kelly Rutherford, Matthew Settle and Kaylee DeFer.
Savage said it has always been a priority to shoot the show, which follows the lives of young socialites on the Upper East Side and the unknown blogger, Gossip Girl, who writes about them, in the city. New York state offers a 30 percent refundable tax credit for film productions.
“We are honored to shoot in this city,” Savage said. “There is no ‘G.G.’ without NYC.”
In return for the recognition, the cast of “Gossip Girl” presented Bloomberg with a T-shirt that had both the show’s name and the eponymous blogger’s sign-off “XOXO.” In one of the “O”s was the “Made in NY” logo, the name of the city’s program to encourage film production in New York.
“We support all kinds of productions, from commercials to feature films,” said Commissioner Katherine Oliver, of the mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
Silvercup, located beneath the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge, produces many nationally syndicated television shows such as “30 Rock,” “White Collar,” “Person of Interest,” “Unforgettable” and “A Gifted Man.”
“These are the best of times in New York,” said Alan Suna, CEO of Silvercup.
Suna said when the original 30 percent tax credit was ready to sunset around 2009, the studio was not able to solicit new pilots. The popular science-fiction TV show “Fringe” moved to Canada during this time. The state Legislature ended up renewing the credit.
“We’re grateful to the state for the 30 percent tax credit,” Oliver said.
Oliver said while the city once offered an additional 5 percent tax credit, it has not been able to afford to continue the credit.
“We ran out of money because it was so phenomenally successful,” she said.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said Bloomberg has been a great partner with the Legislature in encouraging the film industry in New York City.
“New York is actually taking film businesses from Hollywood to the East Coast,” Gianaris said.
State Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) said she had known Suna and his brother for more than 25 years and congratulated them for what they have done both in the entertainment industry and their work with area high school students, such as those who go to the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria.
“These are the jobs that young people want,” Nolan said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.