‘GCB’ producers make their jabs in good faith

PASADENA, Calif. - Television writer-producers Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg know that setting part of their new show, “GCB,’’ in a church - as well as using an abbreviated version of the title of the book on which it is based “Good Christian Bitches’’ - is going to offend some people before they even see the show.

But the pair, who have been writing together since the ’90s on the original “Beverly Hills 90210’’ and also worked on “Pushing Daisies’’ with “GCB’’ star Kristin Chenoweth, are hopeful that viewers of all denominations will give the dramedy a chance.

“There’s a lot to answer to,’’ Berg said during an interview at an event held here last month by ABC to celebrate the network’s new shows. “This isn’t something people take lightly if you get it kind of right. It’s a very personal thing.’’


And the duo wants to get it right, since it is personal for them as well - especially Harberts, whose dad is a minister.

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“Gretchen’s a Presybterian. I’m a Presbyterian and so is [“GCB’’ creator] Bobby [Harling]. Though the show is not based in any particular denomination, collectively we’re proud of the way we handled religion. We don’t treat it like some precious thing that can’t spur comedy,’’ says Harberts, who says he and Berg - who took over as show runners after the pilot - tried to nail the specificity of the setting and those “judge-y women who are there to see and be seen.’’

“The thing that’s really fun about churches is they have to take you, and because they have to take you it’s all wild cards in there,’’ says Harberts, who considers his father one of the funniest people he knows. “At the end of the day, it’s a workplace show, and they all work together on Sundays. I’m really hoping to get the word out there that believers are going to see themselves and see people they know portrayed in a positive, yet really fun light.’’

Sarah Rodman can be reached at