The show was originally a pilot for NBC, which was inspired by NBC president Brandon Tartikoff's idea for a show about an "inspiring" teacher. NBC decided not to pick up the pilot, but Disney Channel did, premiering the show on November 30, 1988, and airing it for one season. The show was later retooled as Saved by the Bell, with much of the same cast but without Mills, and with a different setting. The latter show focused on the students rather than the teacher, and had a much more successful run.
The series focuses on the life of junior high school teacher Miss Carrie Bliss (Hayley Mills) at John F. Kennedy Junior High in Indianapolis. She was often put into morally difficult situations by her work and often served as the only person her students could turn to. Her eighth grade students included:
Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), a charming, manipulative scamp; lazy and not a good student and always looking for the easy way out. However, in the episode "Parents and Teachers", Miss Bliss said that Zack had the most potential of all her students.
Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), a rich shopaholic; and best friend of Nikki. Lisa is the crush of many guys in the school and in Miss Bliss' class, especially Screech.
Samuel "Screech" Powers (Dustin Diamond), an awkward nerd with a crush on Lisa, but an excellent student and very honest.
Mikey Gonzalez (Max Battimo), Zack's best friend, who, although not generally awkward as Screech, became quite shy around girls; a good student, especially in math and history but sometimes gets into conflict with Zack.
Nikki Coleman (Heather Hopper), who was outspoken and often advocated the moral course of action when the others decided to do something mischievous.
The show also featured Mylo Williams (T.K. Carter), a maintenance supervisor, and Miss Tina Paladrino (Joan Ryan), a quirky teacher and friend of Miss Bliss, with whom she would often discuss her personal life, with Miss Paladrino acting as sounding board. Dennis Haskins played the principal of John F. Kennedy Junior High, Mr. Richard Belding.
The show was cancelled after 13 episodes, and the rights were acquired by NBC, who reformatted Good Morning, Miss Bliss into Saved by the Bell. The series was integrated into the Saved by the Bell syndicated rerun package; episodes from this series were later introduced with a cold open by Mark-Paul Gosselaar explaining that these were from an earlier time frame than the rest of the series (despite the fact that the previous series was, for all intents and purposes, a different continuity), along with a retrofitted version of the regular Saved by the Bell opening theme.
- Hayley Mills as Miss Carrie Bliss
- Dennis Haskins as Mr. Richard Belding
- Joan Ryan as Miss Tina Paladrino
- Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zachary "Zack" Morris
- Max Battimo as Mikey Gonzalez
- Dustin Diamond as Samuel "Screech" Powers
- Heather Hopper as Nicole "Nikki" Coleman
- Lark Voorhies as Lisa Turtle
- T.K. Carter as Mylo Williams
The original pilot for Good Morning, Miss Bliss aired on July 11, 1987, on NBC (in The Facts of Life's timeslot). It featured up-and-comers Brian Austin Green (who later got his big break on Beverly Hills, 90210) as Adam Montcrief, Jaleel White (who later got his big break on Family Matters) as Bobby Wilson, and Jonathan Brandis (who later got his big break on seaQuest DSV) as Michael Thompson. Brian Austin Green was, in essence, the "lead" student in the pilot, a particularly serious student, who wore business suits.
Several other characters from the series existed in the pilot but were played by different actors; Mr. Gerald Belding was played by Oliver Clark, and Miss Tina Paladrino was played by Maria O'Brien. Other characters include Gabriel Damon as Bradley; Samantha Mills as Wendy; Julie Ronnie as Lonnie Maple; Matt Shakman as Georgie Winslow; Charles Siebert as Charlie Davis; Britton Elliott as Janet Hillhurst; Josh Goddard as Steven; and Andrea Messersmith as Laurie.
After the huge success of Saved by the Bell, episodes of this series were added to the syndication package. As previously mentioned, intros by Mark-Paul Gosselaar, in character as Zack Morris, were added to the beginning of each episode, and the title sequence was remade in the style of Saved by the Bell (giving Good Morning, Miss Bliss the title Saved by the Bell: The Junior High Years). The series currently reruns on TBS, along with its spin-off. Good Morning Miss Bliss and Saved by the Bell were previously aired on The N from late 2008 to July 2009.