Wherever you fall on the ethics of Saved By The Bell’s Zack Morris—Well-meaning doofus? Total scumbag? Malevolent time traveler?—it’s hard to deny that he’s a central part of the show’s structure. As played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Zack was the smugly smiling face of Bayside High, having presumably murdered the once-eponymous Miss Bliss at the end of the show’s first season, then installed himself in its neon-pastel throne. As such, it might seem kind of strange that Gosselaar wasn’t invited to be part of the show’s just-announced revival on NBC’s Peacock streaming service—a sentiment shared by Mark-Paul Gosselaar himself.
Per Variety, the actor (whose other recent credits include The Passage, Mixed-ish, and the eternal Franklin & Bash revival project running in our minds) learned about Tracey Wigfield’s SBTB reprisal the way the rest of us did, by reading about it in the news. That’s especially weird in that Zack himself is a central part of the show’s mythology; as governor of California (shudder), he’s the one who kicks off the revival’s fish-out-of-water plot by issuing an order for disadvantaged kids to be moved into swanky high schools like his alma mater.
“I read it in the trades just like everybody else this morning,” Gosselaar told Variety this week. “Honestly, I was never approached. I woke up to the news this morning with a kind of ‘Huh’ response.” Gosselaar also noted that it might be as simple as a little network rivalry; Mixed-ish is an ABC/Disney project, and NBC might not want to give one of its stars air time on their new streaming contribution. The show isn’t anti-returnees in general, certainly, with Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkeley both on hand to both produce reprise their roles.