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The CW to bring back 'Gossip Girl' streams

After removing free, ad-supported episodes of the teen drama from its Web site to boost ratings, the network confirms that they'll be returning in time for the show's second season.

You know you love it: The CW Television Network has decided to start streaming its teen show Gossip Girl online again.

According to The New York Times, free ad-supported episodes of the program will soon reappear on The CW's Web site. They'd been taken down in April as an "experiment" to see how it affected viewership ratings.

The CW

Here's what happened: The melodrama about upper-crust high schoolers in Manhattan, based on a best-selling young-adult book series, had been blessed with the greatest of hype--the star power of creator Josh Schwartz, better known as the guy who brought us The O.C.; regular mentions in Gawker and New York magazine; scandalous sightings of its young cast partying all over the city; and racy ad campaigns featuring taglines like "OMFG" and "Every Parent's Nightmare."

But its ratings had been downright subpar, even as the show's subject matter grew more and more guilty-pleasure-fantastic with sex, drugs, gambling, murder, and the exploits of rakish antihero Chuck Bass.

The CW had said all along that because of Gossip Girl's young, tech-savvy audience--the title character is an anonymous blogger, after all--that traditional television ratings simply didn't apply. Nielsen ratings, the longstanding measure of broadcast popularity, don't measure episodes recorded on DVRs or watched on the Web, after all. But under pressure, the network pulled the show from its Web site to see if TV ratings would improve.

Any gain in ratings was negligible, the Times report said. That said, Gossip Girl episodes had been available for purchase in the iTunes Store throughout the "streaming ban," and it was certainly still possible to record them on set-top boxes.

But with the second season of Gossip Girl premiering September 1, this means that you'll once again be able to get your Upper East Side baby billionaire fix from the comfort of your procrastination-friendly office cubicle.

Chuck Bass would so approve.

Disclosure: The CW is a joint venture between Warner Bros. and CBS, parent company of CNET News.