September 17, 2015
        "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September                Will Smith crusades for Best Actor in the "Concussion" Trailer        

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

By Greg Hernandez 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

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