On the surface, “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Saved By the Bell” are completely different. They only way most people would think to connect them would be that they were both incredibly popular when they aired. They weren’t even on the same network. So, what do the two have in common?
As you probably guessed, the connection lies behind the scenes. “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Saved by the Bell” share a writer. Before the students at Bayside High were ever born Sam Bobrick was writing scripts for the citizens of Mayberry. In fact, Bobrick co-wrote 19 episodes of the classic sitcom.
Sam Bobrick discussed writing for “The Andy Griffith Show,” in an interview with The Archive of American Television. In the interview, he recalled that he wasn’t just writing for one show. He was actually writing for Sheldon Leonard. Leonard had several shows running at the same time including “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Writers would get together and come up with ideas for stories. They would pitch them to Leonard and he would shop them to the different shows. Once they had a story and a show to write it for, they would get to work.
He went on to say that the work was fun. It was a relaxed atmosphere where writers were able to work creatively together. At the same time, he said the work went fast. Their teams of two writers would knock out a script in less than two weeks most of the time.
His first episode of “The Andy Griffith Show,” titled “The Shoplifters” won a Writers Guild Award. According to Bobrick, the best thing about getting that award is that his name got published in Variety. It made him more visible to a wider range of showrunners which elevated his potential of picking up more work.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Writer Creates a ’90s Sitcom Hit
Decades later, Bobrick wrote the pilot for a Disney Channel show called “Good Morning Miss Bliss.” That show focused on an eighth-grade teacher in a mid-western junior high school. It ran for one season before the network canceled it.
According to Showbiz CheatSheet, NBC president Brandon Tartikoff was upset about the show’s cancelation. So, he picked up the show to air on his network as part of their morning lineup. Before its first season on NBC, the show changed some. The school relocated to California from Indiana. It also changed from John F. Kennedy Junior High to Bayside High School. The name changed to “Saved By the Bell.” Later, “Good Morning Miss Bliss,” was rebranded as “Saved By the Bell: The Junior High Years.”