Mario Lopez has quite an impressive eclectic television resume. The actor and host is most synonymous with his role on the NBC Saturday Morning youth sitcom Saved by the Bell and spinoffs as the popular jock and dancer A.C. Slater. Since the series, Lopez has been front and center with hosting gigs on the entertainment news circuit with his stints on shows like Extra, Access Hollywood, The Talk, and Access Daily. He's also kept himself relevant landing co-starring roles and occasional recurring guest spots on TV. It's no secret Lopez's health and physique served him well over the years at the tender age of 47? Now the actor's returning to the role that made him a household name on Saturday mornings on the Saved By the Bell revival at NBC Universal streamer Peacock. Lopez spoke to John Roa on his iHeart podcast to discuss the new series, family, faith, and fame. One of the biggest differences between the sitcom's original run on NBC and the Peacock series is the lack of studio audience.
Forget Laugh Tracks, Audience Responses and the Woo's
"It's shot on film this time," Lopez said. "And Tracey Wigfield, who's the showrunner who did 30 Rock. She won a few Emmys there and the Mindy Kaling Show. She's there this time around and it's a little edgier." The actor explained the edginess is reflected more in a contemporary setting than content-related. "Yeah, not dirty by any means, but just a little edgier and hipper, and a lot of fun. Some of the old cast is back and it's pretty clever the way they've sort of set the characters to where they are now. But it's coming out on the new NBC streaming service Peacock later this fall."
How Pandemic Affected Saved by the Bell Production
Lopez explained how filming was affected by COVID. "We had to stop when the pandemic hit," he continued. "So we're about three episodes out and then we're supposed to resume in a few weeks. But then hopefully by fall, it's be up and running." Elizabeth Berkley Lauren reprises her role as Jessica Spano with Lopez in co-starring and producing roles. Also returning in more limited capacity are Mark-Paul Gosselaar (also serving as an executive producer) and Tiffani Thiessen as Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski, respectively. The original series centered on Zack and his exploits to find the shortest path to success with his sociopathic conman ways.
The new series follows Slater and Jessie now as parents to students at their old alma mater Bayside High. The students and faculty deal with a wave of transient students who come from closed schools due to budget cuts from the California governor Morris. Saved by the Bell also stars Josie Totah, Belmont Cameli, Dexter Darden, Mitchell Hoog, Alycia Pascual-Pena, Kaskiri Velazquez, and John Michael Higgins. The series is set to premiere in fall 2020 on Peacock. You can check the podcast below.