Many of us grew up with Mark-Paul Gosselaar when he burst onto the scene in the '90s as Zack Morris on “Saved by the Bell.” While not all child stars enjoy the same level of success as adults, Gosselaar’s career continues to blossom. In his latest role, he steps up to the plate as Mike Lawson — the cocky yet loveable MLB catcher in Fox’s new show, “Pitch,” which makes its debut tonight. We chat with Gosselaar about putting on weight for the role, how to be a baseball fan in L.A. and whether or not having a female pitcher in the major leagues is really possible.
What’s the story behind getting the role?
I read the scripts. It was one of the couple I was reading for pilots and when I put it down, I knew there was something special there. I knew the showrunner, Kevin Falls, who was also the showrunner for "Franklin & Bash” and I said to him, "Hey, you got to get me into this and he said ‘I think we already have you on the list to read.'" I went in there and had a really good session with Dan and all the other producers and Kevin as well. I kind of felt that I had a good chance with getting the role, and thank God that I did.
You changed your appearance quite a bit for this show. Want to talk about that?
I had to gain a bit of weight and that was probably one of the hundred things I had to do. I don’t gain weight easily just because my wife and I are healthy eaters and our kids are healthy eaters. Having very limited time, I kind of just ate everything.
Michael Phelps style.
It came out to about 4,000 calories a day. I gained weight for the pilot, but then I have been on a strict diet ever since. I need to gain a little more but I’m trying to keep it where I can take off my shirt. Baseball players are athletic-looking and fit, but they’re not ripped.