By Veronica Dudo
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CBS) — He was the adorable jock A.C. Slater on the teen hit “Saved By the Bell”; now, Mario Lopez is steering the helm of the entertainment news show “Extra” and working on a children’s show with Philadelphia-based Sprout Network.
While appearing at The Pool After Dark nightclub inside Harrah’s Resort, Lopez talked about the numerous projects he’s currently working on, ranging from reality TV to a children’s animated series.
Since his “Saved by the Bell” days, the 38-year-old has appeared on several television series, in films and on Broadway. Lopez also joined the cast of the third season of “Dancing with the Star” and carries out hosting duties on “America’s Best Dance Crew” as well as the syndicated entertainment news magazine show, “Extra.”
“‘Extra’ is going great, and we just wrapped our seventh season on my MTV show, ‘A.B.D.C,’” explained Lopez while walking the red carpet in Atlantic City. The successful reality TV competition showcases numerous groups performing impressive dance moves in an effort to win a $100,000 grand prize.
“We’re looking forward to start on the eighth season, and we ended with a big Katy Perry episode, and it was a big success,” Lopez said.
In addition to his hosting gigs, Lopez is also currently working with the Sprout Network on an original series for children. Lopez says the animated series is a spin-off of the wildly popular “Sunny Side Up Show,” a series his daughter Gia loves.
“It’s ‘The Chica Show,’ a famous little chicken from the ‘Sunny Side Up Show’; she’s getting a spin-off. So I’m very excited about that,” said Lopez, who has a special goal in mind for children tuning in to the show.
“Entertain them, educate them, have fun–it’s my daughter’s favorite network, so I’m honored to be a part of it,” he said.
“The Chica Show” will run Monday through Friday in the morning, and Lopez will serve as the voice of a character named “Stitches” on the series. With his participation on the new show, he anticipates making more trips to the East Coast.
“Hopefully, I’ll be coming to Philly more for my new cartoon,” Lopez said.
BUZZ @ THE BEACH
The Borgata hosts a variety of entertainment acts for the June 29 weekend, including The Jacksons; John Oates Band; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Tracy Morgan; Sky Blu with Far East Movement; and Styx, Reo Speedwagon & Ted Nugent. Grammy Award-winner Mary J. Blige begins her residency at Caesars, while Celtic Thunder performs at Harrah’s. South Philadelphia’s Don Irrera brings his comedy to the Tropicana, and Las Vegas headliner Gordie Brown brings his show to the Golden Nugget.