Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Screechgate: Strange Coincidence in L.A. Times and Wall Street Journal Items

Great Screech minds think alike? Or is there something else going on here? My colleague Jon Weisman first noticed the strange similarity between these two blog posts from very different sources: The L.A. Times and the Wall Street Journal. (Jon says its a coincidence that he saw both of these -- I'll pretend he doesn't have a Google News alert for anything tagged "Dustin Diamond.")

Here's the L.A. Times' "Dish Rag" item from Elizabeth Snead:



and here's the Wall Street Journal "Speakeasy" item from Michelle Kung:



And here's what got Jon interested. Read the two posts back-to-back. They're virtually identical, save a few words here and there. The structure, the quotes, the order of names -- all the same.

First, the L.A. Times item:

Have you seen the new People magazine cover with the Saved by the Bell reunion of the show's alum, Lark Voorhies, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Elizabeth Berkley?

They got together for the first time since the final episode in 1994.

But hey, where’s Screech?

Dustin Diamond, who played resident nerd Samuel “Screech” Powers, was not invited, because he no longer speaks to the rest of the cast, thanks to his issues involving unpaid taxes, a raunchy sex tape, and fears over his new tell-all book entitled “Behind the Bell.”

Gosselaar explained to Newsweek: “What is he going to say? We were banging groupies at 14? I can’t wait to read his book, because I don’t have a memory of a lot of the shows. Maybe it was because I was doing lines off of the audience members’ asses.

"I’m sure he’s going to write something crazy like that… I’m not really afraid of what he has to say. There are not too many skeletons in my closet.”


Now, the WSJ:

Chances are, you’ve already seen this week’s issue of People magazine, which features a photo-heavy 20-year “Saved by the Bell” reunion and brought together Lark Voorhies, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Elizabeth Berkley for the first time since the final episode of the franchise wrapped in 1994.

But co-star Dustin Diamond, who played resident nerd Samuel “Screech” Powers, was reportedly not invited, because he no longer speaks to the rest of the cast, thanks to his issues involving unpaid taxes, a raunchy sex tape, various reality show appearances, and more significantly, his upcoming tell-all book entitled “Behind the Bell,” which was recently resold to Transit Publishing, following “a mutual decision not to publish” with Gotham, for publication on September 29.

As Gosselaar, who currently stars on TNT’s “Raising the Bar” recently explained to Newsweek: “What is he going to say? We were banging groupies at 14? I can’t wait to read his book, because I don’t have a memory of a lot of the shows. Maybe it was because I was doing lines off of the audience members’ asses. I’m sure he’s going to write something crazy like that… I’m not really afraid of what he has to say. There are not too many skeletons in my closet.”


Strange, no? Both items were posted on August 4. But because the LAT item doesn't have a time stamp, it's unclear who posted first.

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