The secrets behind the scenes of ‘Saved by the Bell’ are just as entertaining as the show — and as Peter Engle’s life. The executive producer stopped in to our HollywoodLife podcast to share stories and scoop!
Here are some highlights of our interview, which is available in full on iTunes.
The kids dating, how things happened:
They had to send it to me a few days early. I was the most boring character I’ve ever seen! Everyone dated, everyone, as Tiffani said a couple years ago. I was concerned. But when Zach and Kelly were together, they weren’t dating. When Mario and Tiffani were dating, they were dating on the show. So that was good because I had a show when a couple broke up in the morning in life and fell in love in the episode that night. But they enver did that — they were the Yankees when the Yankees were the Yankees.
On Dustin Diamond being younger:
I misread his birthday. The second show, I said to Mark-Paul, ‘What’s with Dustin? He’s such a kid! He goes, ‘Well, he’s only 11! I never would have hired him!’ I called my casting director, she said, ‘Do you want me to dire him?’ I said, ‘No he’s Screech!’ But it was difficult for him on the show. As he got older he didn’t date anyone on the show… but every extra in site he hit on.
MPG told us there’s no way Zack & Kelly would have worked, because Zack would have screwed it up. Do you agree?
Yeah! If you remember, the first year it was Zack and Slater competing for Kelly. The second year, Zack wins Kelly. Zack going steady was really boring, so we needed to break them up. The journey’s the fun! So we had to break them up; when she kisses the guy in the Max, the audience was booing and hissing! The next thing I know, they’re about to break up in the next scene and I’m in the control room. The stage manager says, ‘Mark-Paul and Tiffani want to see you.’ Offstage, they said, ‘We don’t want to break up, the audience hates Tiffani!’ I said, ‘They don’t hate Tiffani, they hate Kelly. It doesn’t matter, we have to break you up. We have five scripts ahead that Zack’s getting over heartbreak. You’re not really dating.’ I said, ‘I promise you, don’t worry, we’ll get you back together again.’ I was totally lying.
On getting the cast back together:
I could not have done it any better than [The Tonight Show] did. That was it, and anything after that would be . . . why?
Peter’s book, I Was Saved by the Bell is available online and in stores now! You can listen to more HollywoodLife podcasts on iTunes.