Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
TCA remained a Bitch-Free Zone during the GCB session today. And it became something of a Christian-Free Zone as well. Following up on entertainment chief Paul Lee’s comment earlier in the day that “bitch” “was really not a word you want to use in the title” — ABC also is promoting the sitcom Don’t Trust The B— In Apartment 23 on its midseason schedule — yet another “bitch” question opened the panel for GCB, which premieres March 4 at 10 PM. The letters in this case stand for Good Christian Belles, but it originally was short for Good Christian Bitches, the title of the book on which the series is based. And as GCB writer/executive producer Robert Harling said, he was never comfortable with the “Belles” part of the title given that his series is set in Texas. “That’s more Georgia or South Carolina, you know, the Deep South,” he said. The show title was changed to GCB after Harling saw the logo everywhere he turned while shooting the show in Dallas. “We all thought it was kind of cool in the era of LOL and FYI … GCB was this term that the women around us all seemed to refer to themselves as. … It just kind of stuck.”
And what of the “C” part of GCB? Harling denied today that there would be anything sacreligious in the show’s approach. “We’re treating Christianity with complete respect,” he said. “We’re doing a show where the church is at the center, and as such it is sacred.” After the panel, Harling admitted that he personally doesn’t find the Good Christian Bitches title offensive. “But that decision took place in a different part of the forest,” he said. “It was made by people much smarter than me.” One of those people presumably was Lee, whom Harling had nothing but praise for following the panel. “Paul told me to swing for the fences and go for it with this show,” he said. “He said he wanted to see a world that had never been on television before. He’s been there behind us every step of the way.”