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Of all the TV revivals that NBC could have called upon to help promote its impending streaming service Peacock, Saved by the Bell probably wasn't atop everyone's list of predictable options. No matter, though, because Peacock is definitely bringing the music-filled halls of Bayside High School back to entertain a new generation. As previously revealed, some of the former stars will be reprising their former roles, but it was just announced that the Saved by the Bell update will be replacing Dennis Haskins' Mr. Belding with a new principal.
Which isn't to say that the Saved by the Bell revival will be giving Bayside students a free pass by vacating the principal position altogether. Rather, the project's producers landed one of the most versatile funnymen in Hollywood to take on the new leadership role, with Pitch Perfect vet and America Says host John Michael Higgins joining the comedy's return as Principal Toddman.
Is it too much to hope for his first name to be "Todd?" Todd Toddman is the just kind of principal name that would spawn a spiteful Zack Morris-esque entity out of thin air.
According to the character description from TVLine, Principal Toddman is forever the victim of Bayside's most established pranksters, who also happen to be quite privileged elsewhere in life. John Michael Higgins' administrator isn't free from the ire of those students' uppity and entitled parents, either.
Everything starts to take a turn for the better for Toddman, it seems, once a slew of new students join Bayside that come from more of a low-income background. The principal is given a shot to really try and make a difference in the newer students' lives, although it's kinda hard to believe that the new Saved by the Bell series will give Bayside a more empathetic and genuinely good-for-education principal.
I mean, it would admittedly take some major work to craft a character who sucked at his job more than Mr. Belding did. That is, presumably, part of why Peacock's Saved by the Bell swapped Dennis Haskins' character out for a more believable head honcho, despite the fact that Belding remained at Bayside through the New Class spinoff and beyond.
The new take on Saved by the Bell is being spearheaded by 30 Rock and The Mindy Project vet Tracey Wigfield. She undoubtedly had a role to play in John Michael Higgins getting the Principal Toddman role, as his most recent front-runner television role was on the Wigfield-created office comedy Great News, which wrapped its two-season run in 2018.
While we can't exactly expect to see Mr. Belding when Saved by the Bell arrives on Peacock – though I wouldn't be surprised if he made a cameo or ten – longtime fans will see Elizabeth "Jessie Spano" Berkley and Mario "A.C. Slater" Lopez making their returns. She'll be a guidance counselor, while he'll be a gym coach.
Though mixed-ish star Mark-Paul Gosselaar hasn't been approached, at least not in a way that has gone public, his Zack Morris is actually California's governor within the new Saved by the Bell. Zack is responsible for Bayside's student influx, after he'd faced criticism for closing so many lower-income schools. Zack is never going to change, will he? No word yet on any other familiar faces who might be showing up.
John Michael Higgins should be a prize addition to Saved by the Bell, as he's arguably the most naturally gifted comedy actor to be involved with this franchise. Which isn't to speak ill of Dennis Haskins, Tiffany Thiessen or anyone else in the cast. But Higgins is one of the recurring greats in many of Christopher Guest's faux documentaries, such as Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, and has lent his vocal talents to excellent shows such as Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law, The Legend of Korra, Bob's Burgers and more. Most recently, beyond his Emmy-nominated work on America Says, Higgins appeared in NBC's Sunnyside and Disney Channel's Just Roll with It.
Peacock is said to enter the crowded streaming service market in April, though there's no time window set just yet for when Saved by the Bell might return. Stay current with all the other big shows debuting and returning in the winter and spring while waiting to hear more.