‘Baywatch’ Surfs Airwaves Once Again

Apr 16, 2007  •  Post A Comment

“Baywatch,” the one-time television phenomenon that launched stars including Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra, is on target for its 2007 comeback.

Litton Entertainment has cleared the show in more than 77 percent of the country including Los Angeles and Chicago, two of the country’s top three markets. “Baywatch” ranked as the most watched series in the world for a number of years, scoring an estimated 1 billion viewers in 140 countries. This fall it returns as an off-syndication strip.

“Everybody knows ‘Baywatch,’ that’s one of the things that attracted us to the deal,” Dave Morgan, president and CEO of Litton Entertainment, told TelevisionWeek. “We are excited about the clearances we have received and look forward to wrapping up negotiations with other markets.”

Mr. Morgan said he turned down offers from network affiliates in Los Angeles in favor of running the show in prime time on KDOC, a station that is not affiliated with a network; Ellis Communications bought KDOC last year.

“A large affiliate made an offer to us, but the opportunity to score a prime-time clearance, along with a strong promotional aspect of the deal with KDOC in such a strong community, was what sealed it,” Mr. Morgan said. “KDOC is a station that’s about to get very competitive, and I like being a part of that.”

All 109 hours of the series will be available to TV stations this fall under a three-year term on a straight barter basis.

The series ran from 1989 to 2001 and earned an estimated $150 million to $200 million during that term, according to analysts.

“Baywatch” focused on the work and lives of a group of lifeguards played by actors including David Hasselhoff, Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth, Electra, Traci Bingham, Donna D’Errico, Nicole Eggert and Gena Lee Nolin.

The show was produced by All-American Television, which later became part of Pearson Television, which later was bought by FremantleMedia.

Litton is still in talks to find an outlet for the key New York market.