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Television

The ‘Saved by the Bell’ revival’s Zack Morris problem

Actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Mark-Paul Gosselaar isn’t sure whether he’ll be part of the upcoming “Saved by the Bell” reboot.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

A Bayside High with no Zack Morris? In the sage words of Principal Belding: Hey, hey, hey, what is going on here?!

“Saved by the Bell” alum Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who starred as Morris, the preppy ringleader in the beloved NBC sitcom, says he was never approached to reprise his role in the revival for NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock. Instead, the upcoming sequel will feature his costars Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley back in the hallowed halls of the affluent California high school.

In fact, Gosselaar told Variety that he read the news of Peacock’s plans for the revival in Hollywood trade publications this week much like everybody else.

“Honestly, I was never approached. I woke up to the news this morning with a kind of ‘huh?’ response,” the “Franklin & Bash” star said at the Monday red-carpet premiere for his new show, ABC’s “Mixed-ish.”

NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock, is planning another “Saved by the Bell” sequel, and its Zack Morris-inspired premise has us scratching our heads.
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Gosselaar, 45, said he would definitely consider playing his career-making character again and has “always been interested,” but doesn’t understand why NBC’s Peacock didn’t reach out to him. The oversight is notable because the logline for the sequel, penned by “30 Rock’s” Tracey Wigfield, hinges on the effects of his grown-up character’s actions. (Zack is California’s controversial new governor, and one of his education policies sets up the premise for the new series.)

A rep for the actor did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment Thursday, and NBC again declined to comment on ongoing deals for the project.

According to TMZ, the production is trying to secure Gosselaar for the series, which will feature Lopez and Berkley as grown-up versions of their characters. Lopez, who played the sensitive jock A.C. Slater on the ’90s hit, reportedly will play a coach on the revival, and Berkley, who played overachiever Jessie Spano, reportedly will play a guidance counselor.

NBCUniversal plans to heavily promote its streaming service Peacock alongside NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

TMZ said the fledgling series’ shooting schedule likely would overlap with that of ABC’s “black-ish” spinoff, and that’s likely why NBC knew it couldn’t score the already-busy Gosselaar for the “Saved by the Bell” sequel. Before plans for the reboot came to fruition, Gosselaar was starring on Fox’s short-lived drama “The Passage” too. (That sci-fi series was canceled in May after one season.)

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The site also reported that now the plan is to get Gosselaar to make as many guest appearances on the revival as his “Mixed-ish” shooting schedule will allow.

Gosselaar told TMZ on Wednesday that he, Tiffani Thiessen (his on-screen sweetheart) and the rest of the cast, which includes Dustin Diamond and Lark Voorhies, still have not been approached for the revival.

“We’re gonna watch it like the rest of the fans and wish them nothing but the best. I’m a huge fan of Tracey Wigfield,” he said, adding that the idea of a Gov. Zack Morris “sounds amazing.”


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