Why Kristen Bell's Signature 'Gossip Girl' Voiceover Was Almost Cut From the Show

The show's creators revealed who exactly wasn't enthralled hearing Bell's voice on the iconic CW show.

The one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite almost never came to be, as in Kristen Bell almost got the ax as the voiceover for Gossip Girl because -- get this -- the audience for the test pilot didn't love her!

The stunning revelation came to light in the premiere episode of XOXO, the Gossip Girl podcast hosted by Jessica Szohr. The show's creators, Jason Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, were the first guests and they opened up about how the signature voiceover initially was not well received by the test audience for the pilot episode.

The instructions to the test audience was simple -- turn up the dial when their interest peaked and turn down the dial when they were losing interest. It turns out, the dials got turned down a lot every time Bell's voice chimed in.

"Interestingly, every time the Gossip Girl voiceover would kick in, it would drop," Schwartz told Szohr. "People were into it, and then like, 'Who's this voice that's coming in and distracting me?' Do you lose the voice-over?" The answer, it turns out, came rather easily.

"We can't," Schwartz added. "That's part of the show and we just have to ride with it."

Bell lent her voice for all six seasons of the teen drama that aired on the CW from 2007 to 2012. While Bell's the only one who actually recorded for the part, the creators revealed that Christina Ricci and Selma Blair were also in the mix to potentially be Gossip Girl. In the end, there was no denying the part belonged to Bell.

"When she recorded it, she created an entirely different character with just her voice than how she read Veronica Mars," Savage added.

And, therein lied another hurdle the creators had to finagle their way out of. Bell, at the time, was also starring on Veronica Mars, and it also aired on the CW.

"We had some reluctance of, did we feel comfortable having two shows on the same network with the same voiceover?" said Savage of the dilemma. That challenge came and went after the CW canceled Veronica Mars in 2007, paving the way for Bell.

Schwartz and Savage told ET last summer that Bell was easy to convince when it came to joining the reboot, since all parties involved wanted it. Showrunner Joshua Safran also told ET that Bell's involvement was not only a want, but a must have, for the reboot to even happen.

"It wasn't really a conversation, Josh and Stephanie were like, if she doesn't want to do it, let's all walk away," he shared. "We went up to her and she was like, 'Of course I want to do it.' And then, yeah, there's no Gossip Girl without Kristen. I mean, it's not just the voice, it's her whole being. Her soul comes through her voice and you just feel like you're in the show. Without her, whenever there's like, a temp, it doesn't feel like the show, and then when you hear her voice, then you're like, 'There it is.'"

Back in November 2019, Bell talked to ET about reprising her narrator role in the Gossip Girl reboot. She shared that the voice of the narrator is really "the catty version" of her own voice, to complement the nature of the show, and that she couldn't wait to get back into it.

The new reboot, which got renewed for season 2, takes place nine years after Penn Badgley's Dan Humphrey revealed himself to be Gossip Girl, as a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl.

Jordan Alexander, Eli Brown, Thomas Doherty, Tavi Gevinson, Emily Alyn Lind, Evan Mock, Zion Moreno, Whitney Peak and Savannah Lee Smith lead the ensemble, alongside Todd Almond, Adam Chanler-Berat, Johnathan Fernandez and Jason Gotay.