September 3, 2014
'Saved By The Bell' Lifetime Movie: Viewers Largely Ignore Unauthorized Tell-All

The Saved by the Bell Lifetime movie generated a fair amount of buzz prior to its September 1 debut, but viewers clearly had other things to do that evening.

The amount of hype that preceded the film's arrival suggested that quite a few people of a certain age intended to see what all the fuss was about Monday night. After all, we've heard for years that all sorts of teenage shenanigans took place behind-the-scenes of the popular 90s sitcom. What better way to learn all the seedy details than to watch a motion picture based on star Dustin Diamond's sleazy tell-all?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the internet buzz didn't translate into strong ratings. The Saved by the Bell Lifetime movie was ultimately greeted by the sound of crickets chirping merrily in the distance. Reports indicate that only 1.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the cable network ruin their childhood. Ouch.

If 1.6 million viewers still sounds like an impressive number, then we need to consider the facts. E! Online reports that frightfully boring and utterly pointless Flowers in the Attic remake generated 6.1 million viewers, while its sequel, Petals on the Wind, pulled in around 3.4 million interested individuals. When compared to those numbers, the Saved by the Bell Lifetime movie's failure becomes much more apparent.

Does this mean viewers have finally caught on to the network's gimmick? According to The Guardian scribe Brian Moylan, Lifetime's latest ratings grab is essentially the equivalent of clickbait journalism. When folks tune in to watch these slipshod productions, they quickly discover the films lack any sort of artistic substance whatsoever.

"You certainly know this feeling if you've watched Lifetime's original programming over the past several years. Just like any clickbait on the web, Lifetime has figured out a formula to get people to tune in to craven, superficial content. They promise a little bit of nostalgia, a little emotional exploitation, and a promise that viewers will see something they've never seen before. The result is things like Saved by the Bell movie, the all-black version of Steel Magnolias, the remake of Flowers in the Attic, or the Donatella Versace biopic House of Versace."

Unfortunately, the Saved by the Bell Lifetime movie may do more harm than good. If people are becoming aware of what the network is doing to generate ratings, they may decide to skip the upcoming Brittany Murphy, Aaliyah, and Whitney Houston biopics. Once you burn a viewer, it's incredibly hard to get them back.

[Lead image via Lifetime Network]