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NBC Casts Transgender Teen as Lead for Reboot of Classic TV Comedy 'Saved by the Bell'

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Josie Totah, an 18-year-old transgender female actor, has been cast as the star of the new “Saved by the Bell” reboot, which will premiere this year on NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service called Peacock.

The Hollywood Reporter announced on Jan. 6 that Totah will play a cheerleader named Lexi, the most popular girl at Bayside High. Totah will also be a producer of the show.

“Thank you @THR,” Totah said in a tweet linking to The Hollywood Reporter’s article. “This is truly a dream come true!!!”

Totah, originally named Joseph Jacob “J.J.” Totah, announced that he identified as a female in August of 2018 via an essay in TIME magazine.

“My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie,” Totah wrote. “When my friends and family call me Josie, it feels like I’m being seen.”

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“It’s something everyone wants, to feel understood. And, as a semi-religious person who went to Catholic school, I have come to believe that God made me transgender,” Totah continued. “I don’t feel like I was put in the wrong body. I don’t feel like there was a mistake made.”

Do you think transgenderism is a mental disorder?

“I believe that I am transgender to help people understand differences.”

According to IMDb, this will be the second female role Totah has played, after first performing the role of Lisa Haddad on the 2019 Netflix show “No Good Nick.” The show was released in two parts before it was canceled after only one season, according to TVLine.

Totah has been the lead in an NBC show before, starring as Michael Patel in the 2018 comedy series “Champions.” The show was cancelled after one season, according to TVLine.

When he was known as J.J., Totah performed roles such as Seymour in Marvel’s  “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and Stuart Wooten in the Disney Channel series “Jessie.”

The announcement that Totah had landed the lead role in the “Saved by the Bell” sequel elicited mixed reactions on Twitter.

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The announcement that “Saved by the Bell” is being rebooted was also met with mixed reactions.

The “Saved by the Bell” TV sequel follows a group of high school students from California that are sent to one of the highest-performing schools in the state, Bayside High, after the governor of California, Zach Morris, closes down too many low-income schools.

Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley, who starred in the original “Saved by the Bell” comedy series, will be playing their characters of A.C. Slater and Jessie Spano once again. Lopez and Berkley will also be producing the show alongside Totah.

The show, filmed as a half-hour single-camera comedy, was written by Emmy award winner Tracey Wigfield. Wigfield is best know for creating and acting in the 2017 television series “Great News,” along with writing and acting for “30 Rock.”

Both shows were produced by NBCUniversal, with which she recently signed a new multi-year overall deal.

Wigfield will also be showrunning for the new “Saved by the Bell,” as well as serving as executive producer alongside the executive producer of the original series, Peter Engel, and producer Franco Bario.

“Saved by the Bell” is one of many original series’ set to release on Peacock during the summer of 2020. Other originals include a “Battlestar Galactica” reboot from the creator of “Mr. Robot,” Sam Esmail, and another “Psych” spin-off movie, according to techcrunch.com.

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Skye Malmberg started out as an editorial intern for The Western Journal in 2019 and has since become a Staff Writer. Ever since she was 10 years old, she has had a passion for writing stories and reporting local news. Skye is currently completing her bachelors degree in Communications.
Skye Malmberg started out as an editorial intern for The Western Journal in 2019 and has since become a Staff Writer. Ever since she was 10 years old, she has had a passion for writing stories and reporting local news. Skye is currently completing her bachelors degree in Communications.




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