Peter Engel Talks About New Saved By The Bell Tell-All Book
Every episode of the iconic 90s teen sitcom, Saved by the Bell, ended with the same four words: Executive Producer Peter Engel.
With the November 15th launch of his captivating and inspirational new memoir, I Was Saved by the Bell: Stories of Life, Love, and Dreams That Do Come True, Engel opens up for the first time about his life, from personal and professional highlights to the serious challenges that shaped him. He explains how “a small boy with a big dream” got his start in the cutthroat television industry, his work as Executive Producer on Saved by the Bell and later TV successes of California Dreams, Hang Time, City Guys, and Last Comic Standing, among others. Engel also shares some of his most fascinating encounters with icons including John Lennon, Orson Welles, Bette Davis, and John F. Kennedy, to name just a few.
CraveOnline: Tell us about your new book and work on the show Saved By The Bell.
Peter Engel: Over the years in my quest for a hit show, I met some of the most iconic people in the world. I came to California, had a variety of jobs, and I was still seeking a hit. NBC wanted me to do a live-action show for Saturday morning, and two years later, Saved By The Bell was in 85 countries and on 120 stations. I had seven more hits after that including Last Comic Standing, but Saved By The Bell was the highlight of my life. The kids made one of the biggest hits of all time and played their own ages, which was totally unusual. We invented the term “tweens” in a meeting, and we found an audience that they’d never looked at in the ratings.
Do you still see any of the cast?
I mostly see Mario [Lopez]. I saw Elizabeth [Berkley] at a surprise party, but it’s mainly Mario whom I run into.
Is there someone in the business that you wish you’d gotten to work with?
A personal favourite? (Laughs) Don’t ask me that!