'Friends' co-creator admits bias in show

Some of TV's top executives from the past four decades may have gotten more than they bargained for when they agreed to be interviewed for a politically charged book that was released Tuesday, because video of their controversial remarks will soon be hitting the Internet.

The book makes the case that TV industry executives, writers and producers use their clout to advance a liberal political agenda. The author bases his thesis on, among other things, 39 taped interviews that he'll roll out piecemeal during the next three weeks.

The Hollywood Reporter obtained several of the not-yet-released clips. Each contains a snippet of an interview, usually some historical footage of the TV shows the interviewee was responsible for and, naturally, a plea to purchase the book, "Primetime Propaganda" by Ben Shapiro and published by Broad Side, an imprint of HarperCollins.

In one video, "Friends" co-creator Marta Kauffman says that when she cast Candace Gingrich-Jones, half-sister of Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as the minister of a lesbian wedding, "There was a bit of [a middle finger] in it to the right wing."

Kauffman also acknowledges she "put together a staff of mostly liberal people," which is another major point of Shapiro's book: that conservatives aren't welcome in Hollywood.

[Related: Jane Lynch Skewers Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Glee at News Corp. Event]

Maybe that's because they're "idiots" and have "medieval minds." At least that's what "Soap" and "Golden Girls" creator Susan Harris thinks of TV's conservative critics.

However, the ranks of dumb right-wingers has dwindled, according to Harris, whose video has her saying: "At least, you know, we put Obama in office, and so people, I think, are getting — have gotten — a little bit smarter."

Some of the videos have executives making rather obvious revelations, like when Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds talk about pacifist messages in "M*A*S*H" or when "MacGyver" producer Vin Di Bona says anti-gun messages were a recurring theme in that show.

But an additional video has Di Bona, who also created "America's Funniest Home Videos," becoming remarkably blunt about his approval of a lack of political diversity in Hollywood. When Shapiro asks what he thinks of conservative critics who say everyone in Hollywood is liberal, Di Bona responds: "I think it's probably accurate, and I'm happy about it."

Another video has Leonard Goldberg — who executive produces "Blue Bloods" for CBS and a few decades ago exec produced such hits as "Fantasy Island," "Charlie's Angels" and "Starsky and Hutch" — saying that liberalism in the TV industry is "100 percent dominant, and anyone who denies it is kidding, or not telling the truth."

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