In news that should have children of the '90s feeling both so excited and so scared, Lifetime is planning a TV movie about the drama behind the scenes of the teen sitcom "Saved by the Bell" to air this fall.
"The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story," to premiere Sept. 1, will look at the inside story of the beloved series, which aired on NBC on Saturday mornings from 1989 to 1993.
"Saved by the Bell" followed the adventures of Zack Morris (played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar), a popular student at Bayside High School in California, and his clique of friends, which included love interest Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiesen), fashion-obsessed Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), geeky best friend Samuel "Screech" Powers (Dustin Diamond), brainy good girl Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) and lady-killer athlete A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez).
The perpetually scheming Zack frequently clashed with Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins), Bayside's clueless principal. A short-lived version of the series began on the Disney Channel with the title "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" and starring Hayley Mills before it was retooled for NBC.
The Lifetime movie will delve "into the experiences of six unknown young actors placed into the Hollywood spotlight, exposing the challenges of growing up under public scrutiny while trying to maintain the squeaky clean image of their popular characters both on and off-screen," according to the network.
Diamond published a dishy memoir in 2009 that included semi-sordid tales of drug use and sexual shenanigans. However "The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story" is reportedly based on hours of new interviews with people connected to the original series, and will no doubt include lots of dirt about hair-spray addiction, enormous cellphones and acid-washed jeans.
Apparently committed to the most rigorous standards of accuracy, producers have even enlisted the original series' casting director, Robin Lippin, to cast the film. Buzzfeed has a handy breakdown of the cast, which includes Dylan Everett ("Degrassi: The Next Generation) as Gosselaar, Sam Kindseth ("Shameless") as Diamond and Alyssa Lynch ("The High Jumping Witch") as Thiessen.
Despite its relatively short run, "Saved by the Bell" holds a special place in the hearts of those who came of age in the late '80s and early '90s. A prime-time spinoff, "Saved by the Bell: The College Years," lasted just one season on NBC, but "Saved by the Bell: The New Class," another incarnation set at Bayside with characters eerily similar to the original cast, lasted from 1993 to 2000.
Could this mean "Friends: The Ugly Truth" is just around the corner?