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HBO Max Casts Emily Alyn Lind in ‘Gossip Girl’ Reboot, Signs Mo Willems to Major Deal

Fern Siegel

HBO Max has added more shows to its lineup, prepping for a May debut.

The latest news, Emily Alyn Lind (“Revenge,” “Code Black”) will star in the 10-episode “Gossip Girl” sequel on the streamer, set eight years after the original series. Kristen Bell, who starred in the original, returns as the narrator.

The show, about privileged Upper East Side teens, was one of the first originals for The CW; it aired between 2007 and 2012. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, who developed the series, are returning as executive producers, along with Joshua Safran (“Smash,” “Soundtrack”), who will write the script.

The new “Gossip Girl” will comment on how social media — and New York — has changed.

HBO Max is also upping its commitment to family programing, signing acclaimed children’s author Mo Willems to an exclusive multiyear deal as its first artist in residence. He will write, illustrate and produce. Willems, who has written 50-plus books for kids, is known for his “Pigeon” and “Elephant and Piggie” series.

The WarnerMedia platform will air Willems’ live-action special ‘Don’t Let The Pigeon Do Storytime!” His first animated show is “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed.”

In addition, the streamer and executive producer Ellen DeGeneres are bringing the British reality hit “First Dates” to the U.S. The show, which has been running in Britain since 2013, follows couples having dinner in a restaurant — in which all the customers are on a first date. (DeGeneres also produced “First Dates,” which ran on NBC for a season in 2017.)

Couples chosen for the American version will be sent to Italy on a blind date. The pairs will be picked by the show, based on their likes and dislikes.

Earlier, the streamer announced “The Big Shot With Bethenny,” the working title of a competition series staring reality TV vet-businesswoman Bethenny Frankel. Mark Burnett (“The Apprentice”) is one of the show’s executive producers.

HBO Max is set at $14.99 a month. HBO Now subscribers get upgraded to Max free.

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