Baywatch is an American action drama series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County, California, starring David Hasselhoff. The show was canceled after its first season on NBC, but survived and later became one of the most watched television shows in the world.
The show ran in its original title and format from 1989 to 1999, except for the 1990–1991 season, during which it was not in production. From 1999 to 2001, with a setting change and large cast overhaul, it was known as Baywatch Hawaii.
Let’s see some facts about it!
1. Baywatch premiered on NBC in 1989, but was canceled after only one season when it placed 73rd out of 103 shows in the seasonal ratings and also because the studio, GTG, went out of business.
2. Feeling the series still had potential, Hasselhoff along with creators and executive producers Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz and Greg Bonann revived it for the first-run syndication market in 1991. Hasselhoff was given the title of executive producer for his work on bringing the show back. The series was hugely successful, especially internationally.
3. The show led to a spin-off: Baywatch Nights, and three direct to video films Baywatch the Movie: Forbidden Paradise, Baywatch: White Thunder at Glacier Bay and Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding.
4. In 1999, with production costs rising in Los Angeles, and the syndication market shrinking, the plan was to move the show to Australia and launch Baywatch Down Under.
5. A pilot was filmed but the series was stopped when residents of Avalon put forth strong objections, including potential damage to a fragile ecosystem. Pittwater Council permanently barred all future filming. This pilot finally aired as a two-part episode of Baywatch.
6. As an alternative to Australia, Hawaii offered the producers large financial incentives to move the show to the islands instead, and in Season 10, Baywatch Hawaii was launched.
7. Baywatch filmed for two seasons in Hawaii, from 1999 until 2001.
8. The proposal to relocate Baywatch to Hawaii rather than Australia was initiated by April Masini in a telephone call to executive producer Greg Bonann.
9. The deal to provide the incentives necessary to secure the series was presented to Governor Ben Cayetano by Al Masini and April Masini; Tony Vericella, president of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau; and Cayetano’s executive assistant, Joe Blanco.
10. The agreement required the production to change its name from Baywatch to Baywatch Hawaii, hire local leads, and film in the state for at least two years, guaranteeing 44 episodes, each at a cost of about $870,000, 60% of which was to be spent in Hawaii.
11. During the 10 year run of popular TV show Friends, Baywatch is mentioned as the Joey and Chandler’s favorite show, even going so far as to name their pet duck Yasmine after Yasmine Bleeth.
12. The original NBC theme was “Save Me”, performed by Peter Cetera, with Bonnie Raitt on guitar and Richard Sterban, bass singer for The Oak Ridge Boys, as one of the background vocalists. The song is from Cetera’s 1988 album One More Story.
13. On some DVD releases of the first series “Save Me” was replaced with “Above the Waterline” by Kim Carnes.
14. For the syndicated series, the new theme “I’m Always Here” (written by Jimi Jamison, Cory Lerios, John D’Andrea and Joe Henry, performed by Jimi Jamison of Survivor) replaced “Save Me”. An instrumental version of “I’m Always Here” was used as the ending theme of seasons 6 to 9. A different instrumental version was used as the theme for season 10 (the first season of Baywatch Hawaii).
15. When the NBC episodes were added to the Baywatch syndication package, the opening theme was changed to a shorter version of “I’m Always Here”, with some images of the original NBC opening retained.
16. David Hasselhoff sang the Kevin Savigar-Todd Cerney tune “Current of Love” as the ending theme of Seasons 2–4. Together with Laura Branigan he sang “I Believe” as the ending theme of Season 5.
17. On the DVD edition of the second season, the original main title theme is replaced by the song “Strong Enough”, performed by Evan Olson (from his album Audio).
18. The theme for season 11 (the second season of Baywatch Hawaii) was called “Let Me Be the One” written and performed by Carlos Villalobos, Glenn Medeiros and sung by Fiji.
19. The spin-off series, Baywatch Nights theme song was performed by saxophonist Alfonzo Blackwell. “The Nights Will Never Be the Same” (Baywatch Nights Theme) was also featured on his 1996 sophomore CD release. Alfonzo Blackwell was featured with David Hasselhoff each week in the ending credits of the TV series.
20. Other versions of “I’m Always Here” include: An instrumental version of the song appears in the episode “Battles” of the UK television programme Spaced.
21. The Swedish electronic musical group Sunblock remixed the song and released it as a single.
22. A soundalike version was used in an episode of Hey Arnold! over the end credits.
23. Swedish group Konditorns recorded the theme with Swedish lyrics for their album K2 (2012), titled “Jag är alltid här” which is a direct translation of the phrase “I’m always here”.
24. The film adaptation is reported to be a comedy, written and directed by Jeremy Garelick. Garelick’s previous successes include the rewrite of The Hangover.
25. The two biggest stars from the original show, David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson, are set to appear in the upcoming Baywatch movie, which is based on the original series.
26. The film, which is directed by Seth Gordon, also stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, and Priyanka Chopra.
27. The plot sees two unlikely prospective lifeguards attempt to land a job on a California beach, only for a local criminal plot to be uncovered, which threatens the future of the area. Johnson will be playing Mitch Buchannon, whilst Rohrbach will be playing C.J. Parker, which were originally Hasselhoff and Anderson’s roles on the show.
28. The Hoff and Anderson’s new roles, along with more details of the plot, appear to be under wraps for now.
29. The slow mo shots were inspired by the Olympics. From the beginning, Baywatch’s visual trademark was the sight of a lifeguard running toward danger in slow-motion. Berk recalled the idea came from a producing partner of his who had just been shooting the 1988 Summer Olympic Games and had captured footage of sprinters at slower frame rates during the 100-meter dash. Hasselhoff later claimed the shots were used to pad shows that were running short without having to spend more money for footage.
30. For the role of Hasselhoff’s onscreen son, Hobie, producers auditioned Leonardo DiCaprio. While they were impressed with his performance, they felt the 15-year-old was slightly too old for the part; actor Jeremy Jackson, four years younger than DiCaprio, was cast instead.
31. The immaculately-mustachioed Michael Newman was a real lifeguard when co-creator (and fellow competitive swimmer) Greg Bonann tapped him for a supporting role on the show. Because of his skills, Newman was able to pull double- or triple-duty, doing stunts, instructing cast members on rescue protocol, and sharing stories of real-life rescues for story plots. (Producers even named his character “Michael Newman.”)
32. Later, professional surfer Kelly Slater was cast as Jimmy Slade: He quickly grew tired of the show interfering with his surfing as well as the far-fetched plots. “I’d be like, ‘What!? There’s an octopus that’s stealing surfboards and hiding them in a secret cove and I’m going to fight him in the next show!? Who writes this sh-t?'” he told GQ. In 1993, he asked to be written off the show.
33. Despite its virtues, American network viewers weren’t all that enamored with Baywatch when it premiered in 1989; the show finished 74th out of 111 series that year. International viewers, however, couldn’t get enough.
34. Its popularity in Germany and the U.K. helped convince co-creators Berk, Bonann, and Douglas Schwartz to resurrect it for syndication. To make the deal work, Hasselhoff volunteered to reduce his salary per-episode in order to receive a greater share of the profits if it was a hit.
35. When Baywatch moved to syndication, the show’s budget was slashed by 30 percent. In order to conserve funds, several sets that appeared on-screen were actually functional rooms for crew members to use off-screen. A lifeguard station kitchen had running water and was used as a production break room; a gym set was practical enough for Hasselhoff to pump his pecs between takes.
36. At the height of Baywatch-mania in the mid-1990s, Anderson married Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee. According to Hasselhoff in his autobiography, Don’t Hassle the Hoff, Lee would go nuclear whenever his wife had love scenes with co-star David Chokachi, breaking windows and screaming until security moved him off the set.
37. Khal Drogo appeared as a lifeguard. Momoa was riding a jet ski instead of a horse, as he landed a role on the spin-off show Baywatch Hawaii in 1999, at the young age of 19 years old. Momoa has previously stated that landing the role was not the big break that he had hoped for. He went on to explain that he could not find an agent for four years after the show, and he believes that this was because nobody took Baywatch seriously, with everyone thinking that he was nothing more than a “pretty boy”. While he is still known for his looks, Momoa has also proven his acting abilities, both on Game of Thrones, and as Aquaman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (with his own solo film set for 2018).
38. Contracts stipulated that Nobody could gain weight. Baywatch is perhaps best known for having attractive cast members running around in slow motion in form fitting swimwear, which evidently was very important to the show’s success. Alexandra Paul, who played Stephanie Holden in seasons 3-7, revealed to Esquire magazine that her contract stipulated that she was not allowed to gain any weight while appearing on the show. Although she originally thought that this was just for the women of the show, she soon found out that this was also included in all of the male performers’ contracts too.
39. They used 40 bottles of sunscreen per month. Filmed on the extremely hot and sunny beaches of Los Angeles County, it was important for the show to take precautions against having the cast spend such long hours shooting in the blazing sun. Joanna Connell, the show’s makeup artist, revealed that they would use 40 whole bottles of sunscreen every month to protect their stars from sunburn and melanomas.