In Depth

Women in Television: Stephanie Savage

Who: Stephanie Savage, producer and co-creator, The CW’s “Gossip Girl”

Women in TV

Why: According to the show’s co-creator, Josh Schwartz, “Stephanie has grown from being one of the best producers out there, period, to a terrific writer. Her taste—in fashion, music and style—is unparalleled, but for me the greatest pleasure is watching how invested and inspired she has become as a writer, and how connected she has grown to these characters. No one writes the show like she does.”

What: A funny thing happened to the University of Iowa student while in Los Angeles working on her Ph.D. dissertation: She went to work for Drew Barrymore’s production company as a writer.

After meeting director McG on “Charlie’s Angels,” she partnered with him to form Wonderland Sound and Vision, which lead to her finding a collaborator in Mr. Schwartz. His brainchild for a TV show about California teenagers became “The OC.” In 2006, they teamed again to adapt the teen novel series “Gossip Girl,” tapping into the zeitgeist of today’s youth. Ms. Savage understands how to capture that super-rich Manhattan fantasy world in which the “Gossip Girl” characters live in a way that’s specific and universal at the same time. “You have to be able to find characters that, as a writer, you can just really dig into and live with and put a part of yourself in, and try to update them, too. I think Cecily [von Ziegesar, on whose books the show is based] went to school in the ‘80s, and the books were written in the early 2000s,” she told Entertainment Weekly in 2007.