Love Saved By The Bell? 30 Show Secrets Uncovered.
90s high school TV shows and films have a special charm – especially Saved By the Bell. From 1989-1993, the series ran on NBC, and was a launching pad for the careers of future stars Mario Lopez, Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and others. Here are 30 secrets about this beloved sitcom that will blow your mind away.
1) Cast member Dustin Diamond, who played Screech, was apparently disliked by everyone else in the cast. This is still true today. His 2010 book many say, is filled with made-up stories and exaggerations … drama!
2) During the show’s run, actor Mario Lopez was accused of date rape – a potential career extinguisher. NBC ended up paying the alleged victim $50,000 to drop charges.
3) Almost the entire cast dated off screen. Engel said it made things difficult when they broke up because they still had to act in love on the show.
4) Actors Lark Voorhies and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played platonic friends Lisa and Zack on the show, dated off-screen for three years.
5) The character of Lisa Turtle, played by Lark Voorhies, was originally written as a spoiled Jewish teen from Long Island. However, producers loved Lark Voorhies too much and decided to rewrite Lisa for Voorhies to play her.
6) Gosselaar also met his wife on the show: Catriona McGinn was a SBTB extra. They married, divorced, and are now remarried with a son.
7) Having originally auditioned for the role of Kelly Kapowski, Elizabeth Berkley was passed over for Tiffani Thiessen. However, producers couldn’t get over how much they liked Berkeley, so the part of Jessie Spano was written just for her.
8) Slater and Zack were intended to fight over Kelly, Reggie and Archie style, but Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Mario Lopez had a budding bromance off-set, and producers couldn’t bear to not let their characters be best friends, too.
9) Tiffani Amber Thiessen was above her years long before starring in the show. At age 14, she had a 19 year old boyfriend. Also, she moved out of her parents’ house at age 17.
10) Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s physique bulked up considerably between Saved By The Bell and its spin-off, Saved By The Bell: The College Years, leading to public suspicion of his use of steroids. Although people, that could have just been some majorly delayed puberty.
11) Every classroom in Bayside High School was actually the very same classroom set. It got rearranged for the different class and class subject scenes.
12) In the series’ final season, NBC decided to double the number of episodes ordered, but Tiffani Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkeley didn’t extend their contracts. Instead, a new female character was written into the show, played by Leanna Creel.
13) Dustin Diamond’s differences with the rest of the cast may have been due to his age difference. When Engel cast Diamond, he didn’t realize Diamond was only 11 … three years younger than everyone else.
14) Tiffani Thiessen drank alcohol for the first time on a press tour in Paris. She was with Gosselaar, go figure.
15) Saved By The Bell, The Musical? Peter Engel actually wrote a musical, hoping to bring a version of the show to Broadway, but it didn’t happen. Instead, the cast filmed a rockumentary fantasy episode, where the characters formed a band called Zack Attack.
16) The beach club where the characters worked the summer in Santa Monica is the same set used in Beverley Hills 90210.
17) Lark Voorhies was too busy filming the show to attend her own high school graduation and prom. Talk about dedication.
18) The spin off of SBTB, called Saved By The Bell: The College Years, only ran for 18 episodes, but its viewership made it the second highest-rated NBC comedy at the time, with an average of 7.2 million viewers every week.
19) After SBTB had been on TV for only four weeks, NBC did some research, and discovered that 15% of teen girls at the time regularly watched the show.
20) Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played the blond Zack, is naturally a brunette. He had to dye his hair every two weeks while filming Saved By The Bell.
21) Does that school set look familiar? The set used for SBTB has also been used for Disney’s show That’s So Raven, as well as Nickelodeon’s iCarly.
22) The show’s first incarnation, Good Morning Miss Bliss, on the Disney Channel, showed some of the original characters in middle school – in Indianapolis. When the show moved to NBC, and the characters moved to high school, they were suddenly living in Pacific Palisades, CA.
23) Look closely at the degrees hanging at the back of Mr. Belding’s office: one of them is a Kung Fu degree???
24) Which are the only two characters to appear in every single SBTB episode, from beginning to end? Zack and Screech.
25) The character Tori was named after producer Aaron Spelling’s daughter, Tori Spelling.
26) Dustin Diamond had his first onscreen kiss with Tori Spelling – also her first onscreen kiss.
27) Saved By The Bell had more teen viewers on Saturday mornings than The Cosby Show did, which was the number one show at the time.
28) A few future big stars had cameo roles on the show, including Denise Richards, Scott Wolf, and Tori Spelling (the producer’s daughter.)
29) Archetypal “nerd” characters had (somewhat insensitively?!) last names with the word “nerd” in them, or a synonym of “nerd.” Examples: Poindexter, Nerdstrom, Geekman …
30) As much as people think Saved By The Bell: The New Class was a dud, it ran for three seasons longer than the original show did.