1993: Saved By The Bell: The College Years debuts to thunderous acclaim after the original Saved By The Bell‘s Saturday morning run ends. The College Years leads its timeslot for the entire first season, and NBC commits to seasons two through four early on, locking up the actors at lower pay rates while they still can.
1993: Saved By The Bell: The New Class debuts on Saturday mornings, replacing the original Saved By The Bell’s slot in NBC’s Saturday morning lineup. Like its predecessor, it has tremendous success.
1994: After one season, NBC moves The New Class to Tuesday nights, creating the infamous “Bell block,” which becomes a ratings juggernaut.
1994: Tori Spelling leaves Beverly Hills, 90210 and rejoins the Bell cast in her role of Violet Anne Bickerstaff, Screech’s longrunning love interest. In order to make room for Spelling in the cast, NBC fires Kiersten Warren, who plays the nerdy-yet-cute Alex Tabor.
1994: Release of Saved By The Bell Rocks!, an album of teenpop “inspired” by the series.
1995: NBC debuts Saved By The Bell: Classless, a one-hour comedy-drama featuring Lark Voorhies and Elizabeth Berkeley (the two Bell principal cast members who did not sign on with The College Years) as their old characters Lisa Tuttle and Jessie Spano, who are now college dropouts trying to get by as Chicago waitresses/improv comedians. The show does not equal the ratings success of the Bell block, but performs respectably and lasts for three seasons before being cancelled.
1995: As the third season of The College Years comes to a close, NBC shocks the world by announcing that the fourth season of The College Years will be its last, citing ramping production costs as the reason. Industry insiders comment differently, claiming that hardball contract negotiation tactics on NBC’s part caused the rift. The fact that New Class will remain at NBC through 1997 causes many onlookers to wonder about the future of the Bell universe.
1996: Moments after the final episode of College Years airs, ABC announces that their fall lineup for the next year will include Saved By The Bell: AfterClass, a new one-hour dramedy featuring Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen as Zack and Kelly Morris, “entering the biggest Bell adventure of them all: parenthood.” Notably, AfterClass features no other Bell alums, although execs state that Dustin Diamond has been invited to “visit” the show for a potential guest appearance as Screech.
1996: NBC announces that Diamond’s contract obligations to NBC through The New Class will prevent him from appearing on AfterClass. Diamond threatens to sue NBC for damages to his career, and the New Class cast stands with him in solidarity.
1996: Kiersten Warren releases her tell-all book, Head Left Ringing, which luridly details the fast lives of the extended Bell cast. Warren claims that her firing was due in part to her refusal to partake in Bell sex orgies, because as the “new girl” it was her “duty” to service Dustin Diamond and Dennis “Mr. Belding” Haskins, who according to Warren had a penchant for double-penetrative sex. Warren also claims that the infamous “Jessie gets hooked on speed” episode was based on an actual cocaine addiction within the cast, although Elizabeth Berkeley was not the addict in question. The book tops the New York Times bestseller list for sixteen weeks.
1996: NBC fires Dennis Haskins and Dustin Diamond without explanation, replacing them on The New Class with Mario Lopez, recurring his A.C. Slater role as Bayside High’s new principal. Diamond goes on a rage-filled bender in Las Vegas and is arrested for dangerous driving and possession of a drug known as “llama cocaine.” Haskins announces in a press conference that he is selling all his possessions and moving to Tibet to study inner peace.
1997: After one year on The New Class, Mario Lopez leaves the show, saying that he only ever intended to put in a year to “stabilize” the troubled series, whose cast have been swapped and replaced constantly. He is replaced by Bob Golic, who played the student advisor on The College Years.
1997: Dustin Diamond is acquitted of all charges due to police misconduct in his arrest, and promptly gives a profanity-laden interview to media waiting outside the courthouse, repeatedly referring to NBC management as “cocksuckers” and calling out Mark-Paul Gosselaar for “never coming through” on promises of a recurring guest appearance on AfterClass. He announces he will go on tour with a lounge act in the next year.
1997: Comedian/magician Ed Alonzo, AKA “The Max,” is found dead in a back alley in Columbus, Ohio. Authorities suspect foul play as his death was “presumably due to bludgeoning.”
1997: ABC announces the debut of Saved By The Alarm Bell, a one-hour action/procedural series about private security forces, starring Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkeley and Leanna Creel (reprising her “Tori Scott” character from the final season of the original Saved By The Bell). Almost immediately, rumours emerge from shooting about a feud between Berkeley and Creel, with Berkeley claiming Creel to be a “wannabe” and Creel saying Berkeley is a “druggie princess.” Similarly, Lopez is rumoured to be having sex with both of his costars.
1998: Dustin Diamond’s lounge act fails to cover its operating expenses for the third tour date in a row and his road crew and band quit. Three weeks later, Diamond declares bankruptcy. Three weeks after that, he accepts a job on QVC, vowing to turn the Dustin Diamond Sales Hour into “the hottest hour of must-see TV on QVC.”
1998: Lark Voorhies is arrested for the murder of Ed Alonzo. Voorhies pleads not guilty by reason of self-defense, claiming that during her time on the original Bell, Alonso fathered her love-child, and that he had grown obsessive and violent in his wishes to see their daughter, to the point of stalking and attacking her outside of the “Beller” convention in Columbus in 1997.
1998: Saved By The Alarm Bell is cancelled after only one season. The cancellation is met with loud and public derision from many former The New Class actors, all of whom consider the original Bell cast to be living off luck and timing.
1999: Lark Voorhies is sentenced to fifteen years in jail for manslaughter. Her appeal is personally funded by Mark-Paul Gosselaar. It fails.
1999: QVC fires Dustin Diamond. Diamond vows to “set the standup world on fire,” and relocates to New York City, hitting comedy clubs non-stop. New York’s comedy culture swiftly ostracizes him, and he soon has no option but to play third-tier clubs in New Jersey.
2000: Citing personal reasons among cast members, ABC brings to an end the popular AfterClass, with Kelly and Zack giving birth to twins in the final episode. Mark-Paul Gosselaar uses his now-vast personal fortune to start up several dot-com B2B enterprises, all of which prove moderately successful and all of which make him richer. He grows more secluded over time.
2000: Tiffani-Amber Thiessen converts to Scientology.
2001: ABC reveals that as part of its fall lineup, it will air a seven-episode miniseries entitled Saved By The Bell: Class Struggle, wherein every single Bell alumnus will come together in an epic story about the future of Bayside High, now potentially the site for a new shopping center. At press conferences, development executives admit that getting Lark Voorhies temporarily released for work orders has been “difficult.” They also admit that Dustin Diamond has been holding out for more money.
2002: Mark-Paul Gosselaar drops out of the much-delayed and deeply troubled Class Struggle, claiming that the cast are “covered in filthy, filthy germs.” A fistfight breaks out on set between Dustin Diamond and three New Class actors when the former calls them “posers.” The miniseries’ development and production costs will eventually top well over $100 million, much of that due to the climactic “Bayside Inferno” scene, which in addition to costing $20 million claims the lives of Dennis Haskins and Hayley Mills.
2003: Class Struggle finally airs, having become the most expensive television production of all time thanks to lawsuits from the Haskins and Mills estates. It receives a critical and popular drubbing, scoring abysmal Neilsen ratings and mockery from all quarters. Tom Shales writes “I have seen more hubris in this production than in a thousand viewings of Ishtar. What was once great has become mundane thanks to the constant injection of Hollywood dollars into a story that was once pristine and true – a simple story of a blonde boy who spoke to the camera has become a pretentious nightmare.”
2005: Dustin Diamond is sentenced to twelve years in prison for trafficking in llama cocaine.
2008: Lark Voorhies is released from prison on an early parole for good behaviour.
2009: The CW announces that in 2010 it will air a series entitled Bell, starring “the next generation of Bayside students.” Tiffani-Amber Theissen and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (now both emerging from extensive post-traumatic therapy) star in supporting roles as parents of Cynthia Morris, the wisecracking, conniving daughter of Zack and Kelly. Lark Voorhies signs to a recurring guest role as Lisa Tuttle. The CW officially demands that the word “Screech” never be uttered on set.