Josh Schwartz

Josh Schwartz Headshot

Writer • Producer

Birth Date: August 6, 1976

Age: 47 years old

Birth Place: Providence, Rhode Island

Often inspired by his own personal experiences of teen angst, Josh Schwartz made developing and creating character-driven programs geared toward a younger audiences look easy. Schwartz first gained attention when he created the hit series "The O.C." (Fox, 2003-07), an intelligent teen drama about young adults who live in a posh California seaside community. The show's multidimensional characters set the tone for the talented writer-producer's follow-up projects, most notably "Gossip Girl" (The CW, 2007-2012), a glossy teen melodrama where Schwartz delved into the lives of a group of beautiful and privileged young Manhattan socialites. While he was deft at developing dramas that stayed true to the world of wealthy and the elite, Schwartz also succeeded in crafting heartfelt stories from characters that live in small towns, as he did on "Hart of Dixie" (The CW, 2011-15). Throughout his career, Schwartz never wavered in creating universal stories and characters that audiences of any age could either relate to or aspire to, consistently proving that he was undeniably one of the industry's most refreshing and original voices.

Joshua Ian Schwartz was born on Aug. 6, 1976 in Providence, RI to Steve and Honey Schwartz, who both worked as toy designers at Hasbro. It was apparent from an early age that Schwartz had a way with words. At age seven, while he was away at camp, he won an essay-writing contest by reviewing the film "Gremlins" (1984), opening his essay with the line, "Spielberg has done it again." He graduated from the Wheeler School in Providence in 1994, and went on to attend University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television, graduating in 1999. While still a junior at USC, Schwartz sold his first feature script, "Providence" based on his senior year in high school, for $500,000. A few months later, he sold his first TV pilot titled "Brookfield," a drama about wealthy kids living in New England. The pilot was produced, but never made it on air.

Schwartz' big break was creating the pilot for the Fox series "The O.C.," a teen sudser about a group of teenagers and their families living in the wealthy seaside community of Newport Beach in Orange County, CA. Schwartz, who was only 26, became, at the time, the youngest and one of the industry's most promising television creators. Steering clear of the sappy earnestness that often typified teen soaps and creating multidimensional characters who were not afraid to poke fun at themselves, Schwartz helped make "The O.C." a bona fide hit, which, in turn, made cast, including Mischa Barton and Rachel Bilson, into television stars. He also reinvented how pop music was used for television, choosing songs that reflected his own musical tastes and showcasing indie rock bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Block Party, and Rooney. After "The O.C." wrapped, Schwartz continued to make inroads on television by working as executive producer and writer for shows like "Chuck" (NBC, 2007-2012), an action-comedy spy series.

In 2007, Schwartz knocked it out of the park again by creating The CW hit series "Gossip Girl," a teen drama based on the popular young adult novels by Cecily Von Ziegesar that revolved around the lives and loves of young adults growing up on New York's Upper East Side. Unlike his beach-going, laid-back "O.C." cast, Schwartz created his "GG" socialite characters Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf (Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, respectively) to be more sophisticated, self-absorbed, and hypersexual. Throughout its entire run, the series attracted millions of viewers and was consistently one of the highest-rated shows on the network. Schwartz' follow-up project was "Hart of Dixie," about a New York doctor who relocates to a small Alabama town to start her medical practice. Schwartz cast his former "O.C." actress Bilson to portray the fast-talking and highly ambitious doctor who struggles adjust to her decidedly more rural environment. The series received mixed reviews, with some describing the show as "superficial and predictable" and panned Schwartz's leading lady choice for her unconvincing performance as a heart surgeon, while others called the series "surprisingly touching." In 2013, Schwartz co-produced the series "The Carrie Diaries" (The CW, 2013-14), a prequel to the original "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004) phenomenon, which followed the beloved Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) during her high school years.

By Candy Cuenco

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