Tuesday 19 January 2016


From October 1993: a US ad for the inevitably ill-fated attempt to expand the SAVED BY THE BELL kid-vid franchise from Saturday mornings to (early) primetime.

The strategy was simple: SBTB, after an inauspicious start on the Disney Channel, had settled down to be a reliable ratings grabber for the pre-teen crowd on Saturday mornings. So much so that it spawned a succession of equally on-the-nose wannabes and helped sign the death warrant for traditional animation on the networks (cable, first-run syndication and FOX had been collectively chipping away at that USP for a decade). The best way to judge the true success of a show is my the quantity, not quality, of its imitators. 

So NBC saw a chance to move the show into primetime, hold the aging cast together a bit longer (and try to explain away why they also looked like they were pushing thirty) and make the most of a slick (and cheap) creative machine. Most importantly: NBC also owned the show and had a new (younger. Cheaper) cast standing by to take over the Saturday morning gig. 

Unfortunately, the finite appeal of the Bayside gang didn't extend to peaktime and the new version was canned after one season. One member of the class went on to anchor a truly legendary movie. Another just went to jail. 

There is an ace behind-the-scenes drama doc about the rise and fall of the original Baysiders.   

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...