Time Out! Lifetime's 'Unauthorized Saved by the Bell' Fizzles in the Ratings

The two-hour TV movie premiered Labor Day
Lifetime
"Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story"

Zack Morris won't be celebrating any time soon.

Lifetime's The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story failed to capture an audience on Labor Day, premiering to just 1.6 million total viewers during the 9 p.m. telecast. For comparison's sake, that's less than half the audience tuning in to Flowers in the Attic sequel Petals on the Wind, which earned 3.4 million in May, and Lindsay Lohan's critically panned Liz & Dick, which drew 3.5 million. Unauthorized skewed young, averaging 1.1 million among the 18-49 and 25-54 demos.

The two-hour telepic, which had a strong social media presence Monday, was based on castmember Dustin Diamond's Behind the Bell, a 2009 tell-all that charted the behind-the-scenes activities of the six young stars of the NBC teen comedy.

Unauthorized explored the Saved by the Bell cast's challenges of growing up under public scrutiny while trying to maintain a squeaky clean image of their characters on and offscreen, and was told from Diamond's point of view. It ended with Saved by the Bell's high school graduation episode, right before the college years.

The movie starred Dylan Everett (Degrassi: The Next Generation) as Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Sam Kindseth (Shameless) as Dustin Diamond, Julian Works (Paranormal Activity) as Mario Lopez, Alyssa Lynch as Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Tiera Skovbye (Supernatural) as Elizabeth Berkley and Taylor Russell McKenzie (Blink) as Lark Voorhies. Saved by the Bell's original casting director Robin Lippin put the new ensemble together.

Front Street Pictures and Ringaling Productions produced Unauthorized, which is executive produced by Harvey Kahn (Flowers in the Attic) and Stephen Bulka (Dear Mom, Love Cher). Jason Pepeyre directed from a teleplay by Ron McGee (The Nine Lives of Chloe King).

Lifetime next has biopics centered on Brittany Murphy (premiering Sept. 6); Whitney Houston (directed by Angela Bassett) and Aaliyah.

Email: Philiana.Ng@THR.com
Twitter: @insidethetube

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