Ratings debate: Will ‘Gossip Girl’ spill the beans on a season 6?

One more year ... please?

For our Monday edition of ratings debates, we are looking for a show that is not only one of the youngest on TV, but also has one of the most devoted audiences.

However, there is a major problem with “Gossip Girl” that makes it worth discussion in the context of whether or not we will see it back — there may not be enough people who are devoted.

Who it should go – From a business standpoint, it’s important for a network to keep around naturally the shows with the best numbers — and “Gossip Girl” is not that show.

While it’s never been the crown jewel of the network, there have been multiple times this season that the show has ventured under a million total viewers — the only drama series with a full 22-episode order to see that happen. Most importantly, the show has been clinging to dear life at a 0.5 rating in the all-important 18-49 demographic for the past few episodes. If this was airing on a Friday, this rating may be acceptable — however, “Nikita” (which is airing on a Friday) and “Ringer” (which are both likely to be canceled in our book) are the only two regular series to draw lower numbers here as of late. (We’re not counting “The L.A. Complex — note the word “regular” above.)

You also have to wonder whether or not “GG” also hurts its following show in “Hart of Dixie,” which has floundered in the ratings this spring after getting off to an okay start.

Why it should stay – At this point, there’s little question that The CW programming head Mark Pedowitz is a major fan of the series. He has saved it in the past despite poor ratings, and it is one of the first series on the network since UPN and The WB merged. Being on of the Originals (no, we’re not talking about “The Vampire Diaries”) has its advantages.

While it may not be pulling in great demo numbers, The CW also probably recognizes that the median age for “GG” is among the lowest of any on TV, and this is probably attractive to advertisers to at least partially make up for the numbers. These are young fans that have seen the show through since the beginning, and this is a sort of situation where you are this far along that you may as well see the product through.

What will happen – Go ahead and write this one down as close to a sure thing. “Gossip Girl” will be back for a sixth season. However, you can also probably mark it down that season 6 will be the show’s last — most of the principal cast members want to go on to make movies, and they are only under contract until next season. There’s no way that with the ratings the show has, it can afford big raises to keep Blake Lively and Ed Westwick.

We expect the same thing to happen here that we’ve seen with “Chuck,” “One Tree Hill,” and now “Fringe” — for the sake of fan loyalty, the network will give the series 13 episodes to wrap things up and bill it as a final season. It’s a win-win, and there’s an opportunity here to try out a new series along with “GG” in the same season.

Photo: The CW

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