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Living Biblically Won't Follow Everything From the Bible

The sitcom will be skipping some of the more reactionary biblical rules

Liam Mathews

Living Biblically (formerly known as By the Book), a new comedy executive-produced byThe Big Bang Theory's Johnny Galecki, is not trying to offend anyone.

Stars Jay R. Ferguson, Camryn Manheim, Lindsey Kraft, David Krumholtz, Ian Gomez and Tony Rock and executive producers Galecki and Patrick Walsh previewed the sitcom, which premieres Feb. 26, during CBS' portion of the Television Critics Association winter press tour. The series stars The Real O'Neals' Ferguson as Chip Curry, a film critic and lapsed Catholic who decides to start living in complete accordance with the Bible after his friend dies.

His friend's own mother thinks he went to Hell for not living right, and that scary proposition -- combined with Jay's wife Leslie (Kraft) getting pregnant -- is enough to get him to start following the word of the Lord as a way to get his life back on track. And it's really by the book, starting with not mixing fabrics (Leviticus 19:19).

But there are certain Levitical rules that the show will not follow literally. Asked if the show would address the homophobia of some passages of the Bible, creator Patrick Walsh said it won't yet. "That is very much in discussion," he said. "As far as homosexuality, that is ideally a Season 2 episode. It was discussed and discussed and we couldn't break it. As far as the misogyny in the Bible, that is episode eight. We do tackle these issues head-on. We're not pretending that they don't exist. While he is a modern man living by the Bible, there are certain things that he will not be doing. He will not be hateful. But I don't necessarily think that those things are Biblical. I don't think those are Biblical attitudes, and I don't think the show will reflect that, either."

Pressed by the reporter on how hate groups really do use the Bible to justify their beliefs, Walsh said, "We will not be believing that on this show."

Check out our complete TCA coverage here

They really want the show to appeal to both religious and non-religious people. Walsh worries that it's inevitable that they'll offend somebody, but they are trying to be respectful to the 84 percent of the world that is aligned with some form of religion. Walsh said that part of his pitch was that the only depictions of religion on TV were either "harshly negative" or "way too church-y," which is to say excludes people who are not so devout. Walsh is interested in reaching the enormous but underserved demographic of believers who are not highly religious. People like his father, who would take him to church every week but would leave a little early to beat the rush.

"Those people I don't think are served," said Walsh. "Religious people are not given credit for having a sense of humor, and non-believers are not given credit for being curious about religion and wanting to know more about it."

None of the cast members or producers are particularly religious, if at all. But they respect religious people and want to make a show that will appeal to them. Galecki said that people have assumed the show will make fun of religion, but it's more about starting a conversation between the skeptical and the pious.

Walsh said that he's read comments on articles about the show where religious people are worried that it's going to be another show that makes fun of them.

"It's a shame that a person of faith has to approach people in that way, and hopefully they will find this show a cool take on what a lot of people base their lives around," he said.

Living Biblically premieres Monday, Feb. 26 at 9:30/8:30c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)