"GCB" brings together a Texas church, a klatch of stiletto-clad socialites and a secretly gay husband. Forget stirring controversy -- this show could whip it up into a froth.
Long before its Sunday night premiere on ABC, the series, originally titled "Good Christian Bitches," rustled the feathers of critics and groups like the Parents Television Council and the Women's Media Center. Kristin Chenoweth, the star of the show and a vocal Christian herself, isn't about to smooth them all down.
"The Bible tells us that we're not supposed to judge, and people shouldn't judge before seeing the show," she told ABCNews.com. "I'm a Christian, I think that's pretty well known, and I would never do anything that I think crossed the line."
Chenoweth likened the soapy series to "chocolate cake and dessert." She plays the plastic surgery-perfected Carlene, the kind of woman who wears diamond hoops half the size of her head to daily services. "GCB" revolves around Carlene's crew of similarly well heeled girlfriends, one of which is knowingly married to a gay man whose sexuality is kept secret from the church-going community. What does Chenoweth say to those critical of that plot point?
"I'd say go to church and take a look around the room and see if you see any women who might be married to a man who might be gay," she said. "I'd say be very careful of judging someone who's in marriage who is gay because they don't want to be told they're going to hell. I think that happens and I think it's horrible."
The actress and singer has long been a supporter of gay rights. That's alienated her Christian supporters at times, and vice-versa -- in 2005, when Chenoweth appeared on "The 700 Club" to promote her album of contemporary Christian hymns, she "horrified" some of her gay fans, as she told NPR's "Fresh Air" in 2009.
Asked if "GCB" will rile up her fans in a similar fashion, she said, "I'm sure it already has." But she's keeping in mind a maxim that her grandmother taught her.
"Even as a young child, I thought, 'Why is being gay bad?,'" she said. "I didn't understand it. So I asked my grandma, who is the best Christian I ever knew. I'd say, 'What about my friend Denny, he's gay, is he going to hell?' She told me, 'I read the Bible like I eat fish. I take the meat that serves me well but I don't choke on the bone.'"