Anyone can be a “Baywatch” lifeguard if they put their mind to it!
The series, “Baywatch”, was canceled by NBC after only one season, due in part to the high cost of production and low ratings.
Seeing the potential of the series, David Hasselhoff revived the series for first-run syndication after locating financial backers and investing much of his own money into the project. Hasselhoff also served as one of executive producer for the series.
Hasselhoff was the star of the series, and after the first season became an executive producer.
Gregory J. Bonann, who worked as a Los Angeles County lifeguard, started to shop his idea about a motion picture about lifeguards. Assisting him to promote the idea were scriptwriters Michael Berk and Douglas Schwartz. Their visions and ideas were eventually developed into the pilot movie for “Baywatch”.
In addition to rescuing swimmers, lifeguards are trained to deliver babies, disarm nuclear devices, and judge bikini contests.
When the series ended its 11 season run in 2001, “Baywatch” held the distinction of being the longest running television series to have never won an Emmy.
One of the most popular characters on the series was lifeguard C.J. Parker, played by Pamela Anderson. When did the character of C.J. Parker join the series?
In the first episode of the third season, Mitch and Hobie traveled into Northern California’s rugged gold country, accompanied by lifeguards Eddie Kramer (Billy Warlock) and Shauni McClain (Erika Eleniak), to investigate the death of Mitch’s uncle, who had been a long time prospector in the area. After finding an old treasure map, Mitch and his crew searched the area, enlisting the assistance of a white-water, river-rafting guide named C.J. Parker, who happened to be a former ocean lifeguard, and had previously worked with Mitch. After solving the mystery, Mitch convinces his former associate to return to Southern California, and to rejoin the Baywatch lifeguard service.
The spin-off series, “Baywatch Nights” aired for two seasons, starting in 1995.
As the plot of “Baywatch” revealed, police sergeant Garner Ellerbee (Gregory-Alan Williams), who had been a part of the series from the beginning, decided to quit his job as the resident LAPD beach police patrol officer and form a private detective agency. Mitch Buchannon joined the agency partly in support of his friend, and partly due to his own “midlife crisis”. Mitch found himself working as a lifeguard by day and moonlighting as a private detective at night, thus the name of the series, “Baywatch Nights”. The third detective on the team was Ryan McBride, played by Angie Harmon.
Lifeguards can drown, too — but only if they’re in the middle of a personal tragedy or crisis.
“Baywatch” lifeguard Donna Marco (Donna D’Errico) was also part of the new cast, along with nightclub singer Louis Raymond, played by singer Lou Rawls.
Faced with low ratings after the first season, the producers chose to change the format of the show from a private detective series to a science fiction drama-mystery show, similar to that of the then popular series, “X-Files”. For the second season, Garner Ellerbee was replaced by paranormal expert Diamond Teague, played by Dorian Gregory.
The series went into the second season with Mitch Buchannon, Ryan McBride, and Donna Marco. Other characters from “Baywatch” made guest appearances on the show, including Stephanie Holden (Alexandra Paul), Caroline Holden (Yasmine Bleeth), and Eddie Kramer (Billy Warlock).
The series was canceled at the end of the second season.
Plans for an Australian version of “Baywatch” to be called “Baywatch Down Under” were scrapped due to production cost, and objections from local residents who opposed the use of Australian beaches for filming.
In 1999, an Australian version of “Baywatch” was planned, and the cast members traveled to Sydney, Australia for filming. The plan was to have the established stars appear in the pilot episode of the new series, working side by side with their Australian counterparts to launch “Baywatch Down Under”.
After the pilot was filmed, production was stopped when residents of Avalon, a local village, voiced strong objections about the filming. They cited the potential danger to their fragile ecosystem. As a result, the Avalon Council permanently banned all future filming. The pilot episode remained unaired for over a year. The pilot was eventually aired as a two part episode during season 10.
Before “Baywatch,” Nacy Valen had roles on “Hull High” and “Ryan’s Hope.”
While seldom used during the course of the series, when the character was first introduced at the beginning of the third season, she was introduced as Casey Jean Parker by Mitch Buchannon, to his travel companions.
In the season 7 episode entitled, “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”, C.J. is visited by her slightly kooky mother (Connie Steven), who is a bookkeeper for a Las Vegas businessman/gangster, Tony Blanton (David Groh). Throughout that episode, mom often referred to her daughter by her given name, Casey Jean.
Erin Gray appeared in 5 episodes of the series in 1997 and 1998, as lifeguard service Chief Monica Johnson.
Monte Markham, an original cast member, appeared in 44 episodes from 1989-1992, as Captain Don Thorpe. Another original cast member, Richard Jaeckel, appeared in 68 episodes from 1989-1994 as Lieutenant Ben Edwards.
Alexandra Paul appeared in 66 episodes from 1992-1997 as Mitch’s work peer, Lieutenant Stephanie Holden.
Both men were originally hired by the production staff at the beginning of the series as technical advisers for the series.
By the second season, both men had been elevated to recurring character on the series as lifeguards.
Michael Newman appeared in 108 episodes from 1989-2001. Newman’s image appeared in the opening montage of “Baywatch”. During the later seasons, his name and action pictures were part of the shows opening credits.
Gregory J. Barnett appeared in 47 episodes of the series from 1989-1999.
In the 8th season episode, “White Thunder at Glacier Bay, Part 2” Mitch and Neely Capshaw realize that they were in love with each other while on an Alaskan cruise. They wed at the end of the episode.
Nolan, while a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, won the title of “Miss Las Vegas”. Shortly thereafter, she read in a local newspaper that the long running daytime game show, “The Price is Right” was looking for models. Nolan beat out over 1,200 other women to become one of the “Bob Barker Beauties”.
Following her stint on “Baywatch”, Nolan starred in her own television series from 2000 until 2002, in the title role of “Sheena”.
Running in slow-motion is the fastest way to get from point A to point B in an emergency.
In the 7th season, newly married Stephanie Holden was killed in a boating accident.