Hollywood really must be running out of original ideas, because we are officially in the age of the reboot — from Disney’s various live-action remakes (see: Beyoncé’s turn in The Lion King and the already controversial Mulan) to nostalgic early aughts series like That’s So Raven and Lizzie McGuire. Of course, one of the most iconic sitcoms of the early ’90s was not going to slide through 2019 without getting its own new spin-off — but why?
It’s unclear exactly how the as-of-yet-untitled Saved by the Bell reboot is going to play out. In our grim reality, there’s absolutely no way Kelly Kapwoski and Zack Morris are still married, and Jessie Spano has probably graduated to an antidepressant prescription like many stressed out Millennials across the country. Either way, it’s happening, and much like Mario Lopez’s biceps, which could have been carved by Michelangelo himself, we probably won’t be able to stop watching it. But the weirdest thing is the fact that the Saved by the Bell reboot is one of the few revivals that doesn’t seem like a cash grab.
Most of the Saved by the Bell stars have managed to amass a small fortune from their endeavors outside of the show. They certainly don’t need a reboot, but they seem to want one. Here’s how much the cast is worth today.
Screech went bankrupt after Saved by the Bell
Dustin Diamond went from playing Bayside High’s lovable Screech to casting himself in his very own crime drama. According to the Mirror, the actor claimed to have made around $2 million in his Saved by the Bell role, but less than a decade after the series ended in 1992, he was flat-out broke. Diamond filed for bankruptcy in 2000, alleging his parents stole his earnings, but never managed to financially recover despite appearances on Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Big Brother, and Celebrity Championship Wrestling. He’s been in and out of jail — first for allegedly stabbing someone outside of a bar in 2014, then for breaking probation by taking Oxycodone — and sued over failing to pay taxes and his mortgage.
Diamond also went through some desperate measures to stay afloat. In 2006, he released a sex tape called Screeched: Saved by the Smell to save his home from repossession, according to the Independent. It turned out to be fabricated by using a body double. Next came his controversial 2009 memoir, Behind The Bell. The cash grab might have been a believable retelling of the salacious behind-the-scenes happenings on the series if its resident dweeb didn’t claim to have slept with 2,000 women — that and the fact that his co-stars totally disputed it, according to the Mirror. He ended up denouncing the memoir in 2013.
Today, Diamond is reportedly worth just $50,000 and sustains himself through film cameos and stand-up comedy.
Mr. Belding is making bank at the bar
Dennis Haskins had a long career before becoming the principal of Bayside High. The star already played Mr. Richard Belding in the short-lived 1988 TV series Good Morning, Miss Bliss, and also had cameos in popular TV shows like The Dukes of Hazzard, The Twilight Zone, and Magnum, P.I. Though he’s reportedly only worth a paltry $300,000, which isn’t anything to scoff at for those of us who aren’t celebrities, the actor managed to parlay his Saved by the Bell role into a lasting career.
Fox News reports that Haskins has been « making bank » with public appearances at bars around the country. Not surprisingly, he’s frequented Las Vegas and even hosted a « Naughty School Girl » contest at a nightclub, which only ruins our childhood just a little bit. After Screech went rogue, we pretty much always expect the worst. « The markets I play the best in are the ones with people 20-35. Mr. Belding is universal, » Haskins explained. « Personal appearances are a way many actors from older shows supplement their income, and it is a blessing. »
According to Elizabeth Wittels, who brought in Haskins for a « Back to School with Mr. Belding » night at her now-defunct NYC bar, Turtle Bay, celeb appearances usually garner $2,500 to $25,000. Haskins typically only hangs out and signs autographs for two hours, which makes his hourly wage pretty astronomical when you break it down.
What happened to Saved by the Bell’s Lisa Turtle?
You’d think Lisa Turtle would have accumulated more than a $500,000 net worth after Saved by the Bell, but that’s somehow not the case. Actress Lark Voorhies had a lengthy soap career and starred as Wendy Reardon in Days of Our Lives, later taking on the role of Jasmine Malone in The Bold and the Beautiful. She even had a recurring role in LL Cool J’s TV comedy, In the House. So, what happened?
In recent years, things have seemed tumultuous for Voorhies. In 2012, People ran a profile titled, « A Saved by the Bell Star’s Sad Spiral, » where her mother claimed the actress had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. According to Radar Online, Voorhies raised additional concerns with a bizarre, barely intelligible Entertainment Tonight interview, where she refuted her alleged diagnosis and claimed People had tricked her. « It is a small … opinionata that is getting blown currently out of proportions, » she said. « I have no stating reasons why anyone should worry about me. Clearly, I am a very strong, top-of-the line, always riding to it personage. »
Since the shocking interview, Voorhies eloped in Las Vegas with alleged former gang member Jimmy Green, filed for divorce six months later, and slammed her ex in a lengthy, since-deleted Instagram rant (though she later claimed her account was hacked). We’re just speculating, but Voorhies’ struggles might have contributed to the fact that she’s had minimal on-screen credits since 2002.
Kelly Kapowski’s living large in 90210
Tiffani Thiessen’s reported $10 million fortune probably didn’t have much to do with her Saved by the Bell role. Though she starred as Kelly Kapowski all the way through to Saved by the Bell: The College Years and Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas, the actress joined Beverly Hills 90210 in 1994 as Valerie Malone shortly after Shannen Doherty left the series. That’s likely where she made a huge chunk of her change.
Thiessen’s 90210 co-star, Jenny Garth, admitted in her memoir, Deep Thoughts from a Hollywood Blonde, that the cast made some pretty serious cash. « It is really good money — money on a level that I just didn’t understand when I was just a teenager, » she wrote. « But I did understand that it took a ton of financial pressure off of my family, and this felt good. All of a sudden I was able to buy things for the people I loved … I was able to support myself and become financially independent at a young age. »
It’s safe to say Thiessen probably did pretty well even if she historically feuded with Garth and Tori Spelling (who, as of 2017, were still throwing her shade during a guest appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race). Though Thiessen ditched out on the 90210 revival, she has been steadily landing major TV roles, including in USA’s White Collar and the Netflix series Alexa & Katie.
Showgirls almost ran Elizabeth Berkley out of showbiz
It’s kind of astounding that Elizabeth Berkely has managed to maintain a multi-million net worth. The actress, who played Jessie Spano, left Bayside High behind her in 1992 (she didn’t continue through The College Years). While she briefly reprised her role in 1994’s Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas, her transition to feature films wasn’t very smooth.
The year after Berkely put her Saved by the Bell character to rest, she starred in the critically panned, NC-17 drama Showgirls. Yeah, it helped her shed her image as a teen sitcom star, but it almost cost her her career. According to the Los Angeles Times, she was only given $100,000 to play the part of Nomi Malone, despite the flick’s $40 million budget. Director Paul Verhoeven even admitted that he accepted half of his usual $4 million fee because they « had no more money. » Showgirls was such a flop (steadily maintaining a 22 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes more than two decades after its release) that Berkely was dropped by her agent.
Thankfully, the actress managed to bounce back and performed the following year alongside Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton in The First Wives Club (no big deal). She’s been steadily acting ever since and is gearing up for the untitled Saved by the Bell reboot. Today, she’s worth an estimated $6 million.
Leah Remini became the queen of Queens
If you weren’t a die-hard Saved by the Bell fan, you might have missed Leah Remini’s guest-starring role. The actress played Zack Morris’ summer fling, Stacey Carosi, for six episodes during Season 3. Despite her small part — and the undeniable fact that she was notably less famous than her co-stars — the actress managed to become one of the richest former Saved by the Bell castmates.
In 1991, the young star was just establishing herself as a TV actress, but none of her projects seemed to last more than a season. Though she was cast in a few larger roles in the mid-1990s following her Saved by the Bell appearance, it was her 1998 debut in The King of Queens that transformed her into one of TV’s biggest stars. According to Variety, Remini was believed to be raking in about $400,000 per episode by Season 8, which made her one of the network’s highest paid actors.
Though The King of Queens aired its final episode in 2008, it’s still syndicated on TV today. We can’t even imagine the size of Remini’s residual checks. The actress also picked up a role alongside former co-star Kevin James in his sitcom, Kevin Can Wait, which was canceled in 2018. In recent years, she’s spent most of her efforts on her controversial, Emmy-winning docuseries Scientology and the Aftermath, which wrapped in 2019. Remini has an estimated net worth of $20 million.
Ed Alonzo’s acting career magically disappeared after Saved by the Bell
Bayside High’s prime after school hangout spot, The Max, got a real-life reboot in 2016 with pop-up diners in Chicago and Los Angeles. Though the restaurants were a hit — with the Chicago eatery serving more than 20,000 Bayside burgers — it certainly wasn’t because Ed Alonzo was manning the kitchen. In fact, he only attended the June 2016 opening. So, if Alonzo wasn’t running the real-life Max like his on-screen character, how has he been making his cash since Saved by the Bell?
The actor has a net worth that’s about as mysterious as his career. Depending on the source, he’s worth as little as $1 million and as much as $16 million. Despite the huge range, one thing is clear: This star makes most of his money through magic. Alonzo’s a magician first and an actor second — from his segment with BFF Neil Patrick Harris during a 1990 MDA Telethon to his work on Britney Spears’ 2009 tour, The Circus Starring Britney Spears. According to his website, he even « created magical elements » for Michael Jackson’s comeback tour (which was unfortunately canceled when the star passed away in 2009).
These days, Alonzo has pretty much put his acting career to rest. While he appeared in select episodes of Masters of Illusion as recently as 2018, it seems like he’s been mostly doing consulting work behind the scenes.
Leanna Creel made her living behind the scenes
It might seem like Leanna Creel, who played tomboy Tori Scott, disappeared when Saved by the Bell ended in 1992. Her only acting credits beyond the hit sitcom are an unnamed role in the 1996 comedy Freeway, two minor TV cameos, and a spot in the Jennifer Lopez thriller The Cell. It’s pretty clear that Creel didn’t amass her estimated $2 million net worth through acting. Instead, she decided to jump behind the scenes.
In an interview with ABC News, Creel admitted that Saved by the Bell wasn’t « necessarily something [she’d] want to be remembered for. » Instead, she wanted to make her mark in the world of producing. The actress-turned-producer went back to school and got her MFA at UCLA, then launched her own production studio with an investment banker. « It was baptism by fire, » she continued. « I worked with Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller and Kate Hudson and learned a lot about film-making. But then I decided, ‘I think I want to be behind the camera.' »
After Creel sold her company to Lionsgate, she launched a photography business, but soon found herself producing once again. Ultimately, she decided that her business — Creel Studio — should be an amalgamation of both her passions.
Zach Morris didn’t make much from Saved by the Bell
Who didn’t expect teenage heartthrob Zach Morris to ultimately become a massively successful TV actor? The Saved by the Bell star was always a fan favorite, if only for the scene where Jessie Spano has a meltdown over caffeine pills (which Funny or Die alleges is totally Morris’ fault to begin with). That’s some real, Emmy-worthy stuff right there. Needless to say, Mark-Paul Gosselaar did pretty well for himself since graduating from Bayside High and enduring The College Years (he didn’t even suffer from the freshman 15). The actor almost has too many successful gigs to count — from long-running stints with NYPD Blue and Franklin & Bash to reprising the role of himself in the meta comedy Nobodies.
Gosselaar has managed to rack up a reported $9 million net worth, but it’s not from his work on Saved by the Bell. In an episode of Watch What Happens Live, the actor admitted that the sitcom’s biggest stars weren’t making very much on residuals. « We made really bad deals, » he told Andy Cohen. « Poor deals, back then … It is what it is. And you know, you move on, you learn. Great experience. »
He probably won’t be cashing in on the Saved by the Bell reboot, either. Strangely enough, Gosselaar told Access Hollywood that he wasn’t approached for the gig. Perhaps the producers don’t have cable TV and really did believe his Internet death hoax (but probably, Gosselaar’s just busy).
Soleil Moon Frye had some serious Punky power
Soleil Moon Frye was the absolute perfect Saved by the Bell guest star. By the time she appeared as Robin in the Season 4 episode, « Screech’s Spaghetti Sauce, » she was already one of the most recognizable sitcom stars of the ’80s. While we don’t exactly know how much of her massive net worth is from Punky Brewster, a 1986 lawsuit gave us the tip that she probably made a killing from the show.
Roughly halfway through Punky Brewster‘s four-year run, Columbia Pictures Television took over production from NBC, who granted them a 20-year syndication license for the already-existing 44 episodes. According to the Associated Press, they wanted to make at least 40 more. This resulted in an $80 million lawsuit that the production company filed against a 10-year-old Frye, who failed to show up to work. That figure alone is how we know Frye was, at the very least, making a lot of people a lot of money. Though her lawyer claimed her contract was strictly with NBC — meaning she didn’t have to perform for Columbia — most of us know that she ultimately stayed with the series until it ended in 1988.
In the last two decades, Frye’s career has significantly slanted towards voice acting, but she did have a major role in Melissa Joan Hart’s iconic Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. With an estimated $9 million net worth, Frye’s gearing up for a Punky Brewster sequel.
A.C. Slater is the richest Saved by the Bell star
Mario Lopez is the only Saved by the Bell star to reportedly amass an eight-figure fortune (barring Leah Remini, who only guest-starred for six episodes). Though we expected Zach Morris’ right-hand-man to do pretty well for himself, it was hard to predict the sheer magnitude of Lopez’s career.
Following his tenure with the crime drama Pacific Blue, Lopez put his shirt back on over his washboard abs and dove into the world of soaps. He played Dr. Christian Ramírez on The Bold and the Beautiful for 46 episodes, but really ended up finding his footing just playing himself. Lopez is now a prolific TV host — from his long-running work with Extra to stints on America’s Best Dance Crew, Live! With Kelly, Celebrity Name Game, Entertainment Tonight, The Talk, and so many others we’d probably need some of Jessie Spano’s caffeine pills just to make it through the entire list. At one point, he even had his own reality show.
It seems like 2019 will be Lopez’s biggest year yet. According to Deadline, he signed a lucrative « development and producing deal » with NBCUniversal that lets him make original programming for Universal Television, in addition to becoming the face of Access Hollywood and its daytime sister series, Access Daily. He’s also producing and starring in Saved by the Bell‘s untitled reboot, which is likely part of the deal. Lopez is worth an estimated $20 million.