Tony’s a tiger for ‘L’

'Sopranos' episode offers free PR to Showtime skein

For once, Showtime execs had reason to smile watching last week’s episode of HBO’s “The Sopranos,” as mob boss Tony grappled with his feelings about homosexuality during a therapy session — including the prevalence of gay characters on TV.

“The lesbian thing, with Jennifer Beals. It’s not bad,” he allowed.

That “lesbian thing,” of course, would be Showtime’s “The L Word.”

Asked about the free PR from ostensible rival HBO, Showtime Entertainment prexy Robert Greenblatt says, “It doesn’t surprise me at all that Tony Soprano would have a warm place in his heart for the girls of ‘The L Word.’ It’s nice to know that ‘bada bing’ doesn’t discriminate.”

Of course, Showtime doesn’t always receive quite so much respect from other shows. On a recent episode of NBC’s “The Office,” for example, the clueless manager played by Steve Carell appropriated — and muddled — the pay net’s familiar slogan in observing that the Dunder-Mifflin office environment was “like HBO: no limits.”

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