October 21, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

Mark-Paul Gosselaar on ‘Saved by the Bell’s’ popularity

By Greg Hernandez

HollywoodNews.com: You often hear about former child stars who feel like their early work on a TV show typecast them for life and thwarted their career.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who we first got to know as Zack Morris on ‘Saved by the Bell,’ is not one of them.

He played Zack for seven years (starting with 1988′s ‘Good Morning, Miss Bliss’ – as the show was originally called – right through ‘Saved by the Bell: The College Years’ in 1994. He was the central character of a show that also launched future stars Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley.

Once it left the air, Mark-Paul kept busy doing TV movies (‘The Princess and the Marine’), a feature film (‘Dead Man on Campus’) and starred in two short-lived TV series (‘Hyperion Bay’ and ‘D.C’.)

Then in 2001 came the breakthrough role of Det. John Clark on ABC’s ‘NYPD Blue.’ For four seasons, Mark-Paul played Dennis Franz’s young partner and has not stopped working since including roles on two follow-up series ‘Commander In Chief’ and ‘Raising the Bar.’

I got the chance to chat with Mark-Paul last month at the TV Critics Association Press Tour where he was promoting his latest series ‘Franklin & Bash.’ I wasn’t sure how open he’d be to talking about ‘Saved by the Bell’ but I wanted to ask him if he was surprised by its enduring popularity with reruns on several times a day.

“Yeah I am surprised because the show didn’t get legs until we were finished shooting and it wasn’t until we were in syndication that it started taking off,” he explained. “We always thought we were going to be canceled after every season. It always seems to generate a new generation of viewers and it hasn’t stopped. I don’t know when it’s gonna stop. We still have 12 year olds now that are just finding it.”

It was refreshing to hear how much regard he still has for the show and at 36, he makes no attempt to distance himself from work he did as a teen.

“I’ve been lucky,” he said. “Because we started so young I’ve had a lot of time, I want to be in this industry for a long time whether it’s as an actor or a producer or a director. I like this industry and I’ve worked very hard to stay relevant in it. I’ve been fortunate.”

Breckin Meyer, who co-stars with Mark-Paul in the upcoming TBS series ‘Franklin & Bash,’ joined our conversation at this point and observed: “One of the reasons you can poke fun at him about [‘Saved by the Bell’] – and I do poke fun at him all the time about it – is because he’s worked so much other than that. It’s not like that’s all he’s done.”

To read more from this article go to Greg In Hollywood.

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About Greg Hernandez

Greg Hernandez has written about the entertainment world for more than a decade. He is a veteran of covering many Academy Awards shows (plus Emmys, Grammys and Golden Globes) as well as film festivals, movie premieres and philanthropic events. Hernandez founded the popular Out In Hollywood blog while a writer and columnist for the "Los Angeles Daily News." He’s also a former staff writer at the "Los Angeles Times" and "The Hollywood Reporter" and has been a contributing writer to "The Advocate." Greg is the founder and editor of Greginhollywood.com

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