By Veronica Dudo

TV personality and former “Saved by the Bell” star Mario Lopez hosted a party at the Pool After Dark inside Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City over the weekend. The “Extra” host and children’s author talked about his recent engagement to Courtney Mazza, the new season of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” and his plans to work with the Sprout Network in Philadelphia.

Welcome back to Atlantic City. I heard Cameron Diaz was on your flight; how was that?

Yeah, I’ve been so fortunate to sit next to the most fascinating people. Cameron Diaz on this flight, I sat next to Ricky Gervais on my last flight, the one before that I sat next to Paula Abdul–right before “The X Factor” change-up happened. There’s always somebody; Julia Roberts not that long ago it’s just pretty interesting. I wish I could plan it that way but it just happens; I’m just lucky I guess.

Congratulations on your engagement! Do you have a wedding date set?

I think it’s towards the end of the year. We’re trying to work it out with work but we want to do it towards December I think.

What do you love about your job hosting “Extra”?

(Credit: Tom Briglia/PhotoGraphics Photography)

Everything! I’m very blessed to be doing it. I get to meet amazing people and have fun everyday and it’s always different. Right now, we’re in the middle of awards season so I got the Oscars around the corner and that’s really cool, I’m looking forward to that.

Has there been an interview that was really special to you?

Every time I meet someone that I look up to so it’s always a “wow” moment. I’m a big fan of film and music so whenever I meet those guys I feel good about it.

How are things going with “America’s Best Dance Crew”?

We’re heading into season seven and we start in April. Awesome talent we got–it’s supposed to be the best yet so it’s going to be really cool.

Do you ever get the chance to visit Philadelphia?

I love Philly! I was just there not that long ago. As a matter of fact I’m trying to get back to Philly really soon because I want to do some stuff on the Sprout Network which is based out of Philly and I’m supposed to be doing the Sunny Side Up Show because my daughter loves it so I’m looking forward to being on that and I’m going to be doing a voice-over hopefully and some other stuff that I’m trying to pitch to them. I’m a big fan of Sprout and that’s in Philly so I’m looking forward to maybe spending a lot more time in Philly.


For the February 24 weekend, the Mummers String Band Show of Shows rolls into Boardwalk Hall. Lauryn Hill performs at Caesars while Mya hosts her album release party and will perform at the Pool After Dark in Harrah’s Resort. The Duprees will perform at the Mrs. New Jersey and Mrs. Pennsylvania America Pageant as the House of Blues welcomes Guns N’ Roses and War with Edgar Winter.