Josh Schwartz

Joshua Ian Schwartz (born August 6, 1976) is an American screenwriter and television producer. Schwartz is best known for creating and executive producing the Fox teen drama series The O.C. which ran for 4 seasons. Schwartz is also known for developing The CW's series Gossip Girl based on the book of the same name and for co-creating NBC's action-comedy-spy series, Chuck.

Josh Schwartz
Schwartz at Comic Con in 2007
Schwartz at Comic Con in 2007
BornJoshua Ian Schwartz
(1976-08-06) August 6, 1976 (age 43)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
Notable worksThe O.C., Gossip Girl, Chuck, Runaways
SpouseJill Stonerock (2008–present; 2 children)

At 26, he became one of the youngest person in network history to create a series and run its day-to-day production when he ran The O.C.[1][2][3]

Early lifeEdit

Schwartz was born to a Jewish family in 1976 in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Steve and Honey Schwartz. His parents were both toy inventors at Hasbro, working on the development of toys such as Transformers and My Little Pony, until they went on to start their own company.[4][5][6] Schwartz grew up on the east side of Providence, Rhode Island with a younger brother, Danny, and a younger sister, Katie.[7][8] Schwartz always had ambitions of being a writer since early childhood.[9]

When Schwartz was seven years old, he won an essay-writing contest at sleep-away camp for a review of the recently released movie Gremlins; the opening line was "Spielberg has done it again" and stood out amongst the pile of essays from the other kids.[10] He even had a subscription to the entertainment industry newspaper Variety at age twelve.[11]

He attended Providence's private Wheeler School, a coeducational independent day school, for 11 years, graduating with the class of 1994.[7][12]


In 1995, Schwartz attended film school to study screen and television writing at the University of Southern California (USC). He became a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, as well as president of the chapter, and got to see what it's like "behind the gated communities and big mansions" of Southern California which would later provide fodder for his pilot The O.C.[13][14][15]

While at USC, Schwartz tried out stand-up comedy at a talent show in front of five hundred people but was "disabused of [the] notion very quickly."[16] In his sophomore year he wrote an autobiographical screenplay about his senior year in high school called Providence as a homework assignment for school. He entered his screenplay into a contest for the prestigious Nicholson Award in Screenwriting, the highest honor awarded to undergraduates, and won. Unfortunately, the prize was quickly revoked; to be eligible he had to be in his junior year at the time. Schwartz says "I dropped it in a box – I was a sophomore. And I got a call over the summer saying I'd won, and I'd won five thousand dollars. I was like, 'This is awesome!' Then they called back, like, the next day and said you had to be a junior to enter and not a sophomore, so they were rescinding it. I was pretty pissed."[17] Nevertheless, with help from connections through his fraternity, he generated interest in Hollywood to buy his screenplay.[18] In 1997, Sony's TriStar Pictures bought his first screenplay in a bidding war for a deal guaranteeing $550,000 and worth up to $1 million while he was still a junior in college. It was never made.[19]

Schwartz got an agent and subsequently wrote a TV pilot called Brookfield for ABC/Disney while he was still studying at USC. It was a boarding school drama about wealthy kids in New England and was his first TV pilot script; it sold only a few months after he had sold his first feature film script.[10] Brookfield was produced starring Amy Smart and Eric Balfour but never aired. Schwartz then dropped out of USC to work full-time[4][18] and wrote another pilot called Wall to Wall Records, a drama about working in a music store for Warner Bros. TV that was also produced but never aired.[20]

His writing influences include Cameron Crowe[10] and Woody Allen.[16]

The O.C. (2003–07)Edit

In 2003, Schwartz wrote a pilot called The O.C. for Warner Bros. TV and Wonderland Sound and Vision which was produced with him as creator and executive producer. At 26 he was the youngest ever creator of a TV show, which did not sit well with Fox executives who sent a series of seasoned pros armed with conventional ideas about how to steer the show and a bitterness about sharing control with someone so young. That changed when Bob DeLaurentis signed on, a TV veteran who proved to be a nurturing presence on the show.[10] Schwartz and Bob DeLaurentis collaborated on supervising and approving the editors' work on each episode in post-production.[21]

The O.C. became an instant teen favorite when it debuted on the Fox Network in August 2003. The show popularized its setting, Orange County, and led to copycats like MTV's reality show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and the Bravo documentary series The Real Housewives of Orange County.[22] The show became well known for its music, chosen by Schwartz according to his own musical tastes and designed to reflect who the characters were, bringing the general public an awareness of indie rock bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Bloc Party and Rooney.[23] He has said that he partially based The O.C. character Seth Cohen on his own Jewish upbringing.[24][25] Schwartz was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for the pilot[26] as well as a People's Choice Award. The O.C. was named "Guilty Pleasure of the Year" by VH1. In 2007, after 4 seasons The O.C. was canceled due to a significant ratings drop.[27]

Schwartz has stayed in touch with his alma maters: The Wheeler School and USC. In 2005, he endowed USC with its first television writing scholarship: The Josh Schwartz Scholarship. The scholarship is intended to be awarded annually to a student or students concentrating on writing for television and in need of financial assistance, who have completed a TV pilot script and first season synopsis.[28] Although Schwartz never graduated from USC he has since worked with many USC alumni.[13] In 2005 he gave a commencement speech to The Wheeler School.[7]

Schwartz has worked on his share of stalled projects. In 2004, he worked as a script doctor on the J. J. Abrams Superman screenplay that Warner Bros. eventually tossed.[29][30] He sold a pilot to Fox called Alphabet City, a drama about a New York tabloid but it was never produced.[31] He also worked on a drama for Fox called Athens described as an "OC" companion but it was never produced.[32][33]

Recent projects (2007–present)Edit

In 2005, Paramount signed Schwartz to adapt and direct John Green's young adult novel Looking for Alaska with producer Mark Waters.[34]

It was revealed in late August 2006 that Schwartz would develop and executive produce a drama pilot for The CW, based on the popular book series Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar.[35] Like The O.C., Gossip Girl is a satirical approach of teenagers in a wealthy upbringing. Gossip Girl has become a very popular show for The CW.

In 2007, Schwartz signed a three-year, seven-figure overall deal with Warner Bros. TV to write and exec produce with Chris Fedak an hourlong high-concept action comedy called Chuck for NBC about twenty-something spies and was described in press releases as "in the vein of Grosse Pointe Blank". The plot revolves around a normal guy who downloads the entire CIA and NSA databases into his head.[36]

In May 2008, Schwartz joined Zak Penn's X-Men: First Class project.[37] Schwartz announced that he will write the script for X-Men: First Class, a prequel to the X-Men movies that focuses on the adventures of teen Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Professor X, Beast, Iceman, and Angel.[38] However, his script was later jettisoned.[39]

In Spring 2009, Schwartz launched "Rockville CA", a web-series on that follows young 20-somethings at a fictional rock club in Los Angeles.[40] There are twenty indie band performances in the episodes, including Lykke Li, The Kooks and Kaiser Chiefs.[41]

It was also announced that Schwartz would write and direct Bright Lights, Big City for MGM, based on the iconic debut novel by Jay McInerney. Stephanie Savage was also announced as producer.

In February 2011, The CW ordered a pilot of his new project titled Hart of Dixie.[42] The show is co-produced with longtime creative partner Stephanie Savage and stars former "O.C." castmember and personal friend of Schwartz, Rachel Bilson.[43] The show was picked up in May 2011 and premiered in fall 2011. At the same time, Schwartz has also been working on a Georgetown pilot for ABC[44] However, ABC did not pick the series for its 2011 - 2012 schedule.

In September 2011, it was announced by The CW that Schwartz and Stephanie Savage had been selected to develop the television adaption of Candace Bushnell's The Carrie Diaries, a prequel to the original Sex and the City television series.[45] The series, set in the 1980s, will follow character Carrie Bradshaw during her years in high school.

In January 2012, it was announced The CW had ordered a pilot for new drama titled Cult, result of collaboration with Stephanie Savage and Len Goldstein.[46] This is Schwartz and Savage's fourth series on the network.

Personal lifeEdit

On September 20, 2008, Schwartz married Jill Stonerock in Santa Barbara, California. Actress Rachel Bilson, who portrayed Summer Roberts on Schwartz's show The O.C., was the maid of honor at the wedding. They have two daughters, of whom Bilson is the godmother.



Year Title Credited as Notes
1997 Providence Writer Unproduced film, developed for TriStar Pictures
2004 Superman: Flyby Script doctor Unproduced film, developed for Warner Bros.;
Directed by McG
2012 Fun Size Director and producer Produced by Fake Empire Productions and Nickelodeon Movies


Year Title Network Credited as Notes
2000 Brookfield Unaired Creator, writer and producer Unaired television pilot;
Produced by ABC/Disney
2001 Wall to Wall Records Unaired Creator, writer and producer Unaired television pilot;
Produced by Warner Bros. Television
2003–2007 The O.C. Fox Creator, writer, executive producer and showrunner Nominated – 2004 WGA Award for Episodic Drama (for "Premiere")
2004 Alphabet City Unproduced Creator, writer and producer Unproduced television pilot;
Sold to and developed for Fox
2004 Athens Unproduced Creator, writer and producer Unproduced television pilot;
Sold to and developed for Fox
2007–2012 Chuck NBC Co-creator, writer, executive producer and co-showrunner
2007–2012 Gossip Girl The CW Co-developer, writer, executive producer and co-showrunner Based on the Gossip Girl series of books by Cecily von Ziegesar
2009 Valley Girls The CW Co-creator, writer and executive producer Backdoor pilot: series not picked up;
Proposed spin-off to Gossip Girl
2011 Ghost Angeles[47] NBC Co-creator, writer and executive producer Series not picked up[48]
2011 Georgetown[49] ABC Co-creator, writer and executive producer Series not picked up
2011–2015 Hart of Dixie[48][50] The CW Executive producer
2013–2014 The Carrie Diaries The CW Executive producer Based on the novel The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell;
Prequel series to HBO's Sex and the City
2013 Cult The CW Executive producer
2015 The Astronaut Wives Club ABC Executive producer Based on Lily Koppel's novel[51]
2017–present Dynasty The CW Co-developer, writer and executive producer Reboot of the 1980s series of the same name
2017–2019 Runaways Hulu Co-creator for television, writer, executive producer and co-showrunner Based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name
Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)
2019–present Nancy Drew The CW Co-developer, writer and executive producer Based on the Nancy Drew book series by Carolyn Keene
2019 Looking for Alaska Hulu Creator for television, writer, executive producer, director and showrunner Miniseries
Based on the novel of the same name by John Green
2021 Gossip Girl HBO Max Co-creator, writer and executive producer Sequel series to The CW's Gossip Girl
Based on the Gossip Girl series of books by Cecily von Ziegesar


Year Title Site Credited as
2009 Rockville, CA Series creator, writer and executive producer
2009 Gossip Girl: Chasing Dorota The CW Executive producer


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  47. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-30. Retrieved 2010-09-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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Further informationEdit

  • Prigge, Steven (2005-09-30). Created by: Inside the Minds of TV's Top Show Creators. Silman-James Press. ISBN 978-1-879505-82-7.

External linksEdit