Saved by the Bell EPs Discuss Dustin Diamond Plans, Season 2 Tribute

Peacock decided to reboot Saved by the Bell as not only a way to introduce a new cast, but also bring back the original stars from the original NBC Saturday morning series that premiered in 1989. Upon filming the first season on the NBCU streamer, there was one glaring omission in Dustin Diamond, who played Samuel "Screech" Powers since it was initially conceived as Good Morning, Miss Bliss on the Disney Channel in 1988 before it was rebranded for NBC the following year. The actor remained on Saved by the Bell for all 86 episodes, 130 of the 143 episodes of the spinoff The New Class, the series' TV movies, and the short-lived primetime spinoff The College Years. Saved by the Bell's executive producers spoke to Variety about plans they had for Diamond to possibly include him in the second season of the Peacock series and how they crafted his tribute in its premiere instead due to his passing from cancer.

Saved by the Bell: Peacock Announces Season Two Date, Trailer, Images
Lark Voorhies, Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar in Saved by the Bell (2021). Photo by Trae Patton/Peacock

According to original EP Franco Bario, who serves in the same capacity on the Peacock series, he "filled [Diamond] in on the Screech mentions in the first season and how those may lead us to possible stories that would include him in Season 2" prior to the series premiere in 2020. Showrunner Tracey Wigfield admitted they had to do something substantial to celebrate him as an actor and Screech as a character. "I didn't know him and I hadn't met him," Wigfield said. "Just thinking about it as a fan, I knew we wanted to do more than just putting a picture of him up at the end."

Saved by the Bell: Screech Actor Dustin Diamond Passes at 44
Dustin Diamond as Samuel "Screech" Powers in Saved by the Bell (1989). Image courtesy of NBC Universal

Diamond's co-stars in Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zach Morris), Tiffani Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski), Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano), and Mario Lopez (AC Slater) physically appeared together while conferencing in Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle) remotely during the season one reunion episode "The Todd Capsule". Screech was mentioned up with his robot companion Kevin on the International Space Station. Dennis Haskins' Principal Richard Belding hasn't made any appearance. "OG cast members keen to do something," Wigfield said as the scene set up with the five reuniting at The Max reminiscing.

"At the beginning of this season, we already were coming into writing Season 2 [where] obviously Dustin was one thing, but we also were like in a pandemic and in general in the first episode, everyone was feeling the same sense of everyone understands how heavy this last year has been," Wigfield said. "It would have been wrong to not acknowledge that in a real way and to not have our OG characters mourning this character that we'll never get to see again. That, I wanted to put on the screen, but I just wanted to make sure we were being as sensitive as possible. There was a real guy who had people who loved him. You don't want to make any jokes or talk about it in any way that might hurt anyone's feelings."

The tribute clips highlight Diamond's run on the original series rather than its spinoffs. "A lot of what Screech was is known for was being the butt of a joke or being an outrageous character, and what we were hoping for was using the clips to show how important he was to the show, but also to the other characters in the show," Bario said. The second season of the Peacock series will not only continue the misadventures of the Bayside High's students but will also expand on the alumni's adult lives. The series also stars Haskiri Velazquez, Josie Totah, Dexter Darden, Mitchell Hoog, Alycia Pascual-Pena, Belmont Cameli, and John Michael Higgins. For more on season two, you can check out Variety. The second season of Saved by the Bell premieres on November 24.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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