Lifetime’s new original movie, “The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story,” premiered on Monday, Sept. 1. The TV movie explained the behind-the-scenes story of the six young stars cast in ‘90s sitcom “Saved by the Bell,” and was told from the viewpoint of Dustin Diamond aka Screech. Based off of Diamond’s 2009 tell-all book, “Behind the Bell,” the Lifetime flick informed viewers of some little-known facts about the show … and some alleged juicy drama that went down between Diamond, Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris), Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater), Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski), Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Sapano) and Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle). Check out 21 things that viewers learned about “Saved by the Bell”:
1. In 1988 the show was initially supposed to be all about the teachers at a school in Indiana.
2. The character of Lisa Turtle was supposed to be a “Jewish American princess” until Lark Voorhies read the part.
3. “Saved by the Bell” was called “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” and was picked up by NBC. The network decided to cancel the show, however the Disney Channel picked it up. The show didn’t last long on the Disney Channel though. Five months later the network cancelled “Good Morning, Miss Bliss.”
4. Not ready to give up on the show, the producers decided to rebrand the series and focus on the students – not the teachers. They decided to introduce the new sitcom as part of the Saturday morning lineup – the first live action comedy featuring just kids on Saturday mornings.
5. Jennie Garth was one of the finalists for the role of Kelly. It came down to Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley, and the producers decided to create a whole new role for Berkley.
6. The focus on the students wasn’t the only big change. The setting of the show was moved from Indiana to California.
7. Producers were looking for a “John Travolta Italian-type” to play A.C. Slater. They fell in love with Mario Lopez though, and decided to go with him for the role.
8. After “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” was cancelled for the second time, executive producer Peter Engel pitched the new name: “When The Bell Rings.”
9. Dustin Diamond and Mario Lopez were not good friends … at all. The Lifetime movie depicted Lopez as a bully, making fun of Diamond when the teen was trying to fit in with the rest of the group.
10. Diamond became discouraged playing the geek. The actor asked if they could make his character cooler, but the “Saved by the Bell” execs refused.
11. “Saved by the Bell” was cancelled four months after its reboot in 1990. However the show was picked back up when viewership randomly started taking off. The movie explained that it was like “every teenager in America suddenly discovered the show.”
12. It was Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley and Lark Voorhies who pitched that “Saved by the Bell” start tackling “serious” subjects. The idea came after fans told them that the show helped them with their daily problems.
13. In “The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story” Mario Lopez used his fame to take girls back to the “Saved by the Bell” set and hook up with them.
14. Lark Voorhies is a Jehovah’s Witness.
15. Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen practiced kissing before Zack and Kelly had their first on-screen kiss. Things became awkward on set because he was somewhat dating Lark Voorhies – however the pair kept their relationship a secret because of their parents and the network.
16. Dustin Diamond had his first kiss on-screen with his “Saved by the Bell” girlfriend, Violet – aka Tori Spelling.
17. Jessie’s pill-addiction breakdown is one of the most talked about scenes in the history of the show.
18. Diamond turned to drinking to deal with the stress of the show and his unhappiness over portraying Screech.
19. “Saved by the Bell” was supposed to end after four years, but the network wasn’t ready to give up the show. The network wanted to give the cast incentives to stay onboard the series – they flew Gosselaar and Thiessen to Paris, Lopez to Miami, Voorhies and Berkley to New York City and Diamond to a small town in South Carolina.
20. Berkley and Thiessen decided to quit the show in order to pursue other opportunities.
21. Diamond’s friend, Eric, tried to blackmail him into getting him a role on the show by threatening to release a tape of him smoking weed.
What did you think of "The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story"? Tweet your thoughts to @AmandaTVScoop.