Wednesday, August 26

Pre-Saved by the Bell: Good Morning Miss Bliss

Many "Saved By the Bell" fans know that the show started out as "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" with Hayley Mills. But the majority of the public doesn't know this. What "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" fans didn't know about the pilot that starred Brian Austin Green, Jael White, and Jonathan Brandis. The original idea for the series "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" was apparently inspired by NBC President Brandon Tartifoff's strong desire to do a positive show about an "inspiring" school teacher, like the teacher (apparently, the real "Miss Bliss") he'd had as a boy. Tartikoff commissioned Peter Engel to do such a show. (This is according to the E! True Hollywood Story about Saved by the Bell.)

The pilot episode of "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" did not have the same cast as in the rest of the "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" series, except for Hayley Mills as Miss Bliss and Maria O' Brien as her best friend Tina Paladrino (but blonde and with more an accent). In the pilot, there were different characters. Actors who later became famous were Brian Austin Green ("Beverly Hills, 90210"), who played a student who always wore business suits. Another student character was played by Jaleel White ("Family Matters") and Jonathan Brandis (Neverending Story 2 and "SeaQuest DSV")--who girls swoon over. Richard Belding was Gerald Belding and played by Oliver Clark (Joe in Ernest Saves Christmas). Ms. Bliss even had an abrupt husband, who she married suddenly before the pilot---but dropped from the pilot.

The pilot of "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" aired only once (pilots were commonly aired on TV in that time) on NBC on Saturday, July 11th, 1987 (during "The Facts of Life" timeslot) at 8:00PM. However NBC didn't buy it, instead the The Disney Channel, licensed it under NBC. After 13 episodes aired (They originally had a different opening sequence), The Disney Channel opted to drop it, and returned it to Peter Engel. Engel retooled it, taking in Zack, Lisa, Screech and Belding and transplanted them to California with new characters and retitling it "Saved by the Bell." This then allowed him to successfully sell the show to NBC. The 13 "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" episodes were aired under the "Saved by the Bell" title during the summer after the first season, with "Saved by the Bell" styled-opening and music cues and Zack introducing the beginning.

For people who don't know about "Good Morning, Miss Bliss," Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins), Zack, Lisa and Samuel "Screech" (yes he was called that even then).