A Big-Screen "Baywatch"

DreamWorks snags movie rights for jiggly TV series; no word on Hasselhoff or Anderson

By Josh Grossberg Nov 10, 2004 10:00 PMTags

Those Baywatch bombshells could soon be getting jiggly with it on the big screen.

DreamWorks confirmed Wednesday that it has sealed a seven-figure deal for feature film rights to the clothes-eschewing staple of the 1990s, at one time the most popular TV show in the world.

While the brain trust behind the show--creators Michael Berk, Doug Schwartz and Greg Bonann--are on board as producers, it remains to be seen who will be filling out the speedos.

David Hasselhoff, whose furry-chested Mitch Buchanan led the crack team of barely clothed Malibu-based lifesavers, is not attached to the project. There's no word either on the status of his bevy of bathing-suited beauties, including Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra, Yasmine Bleeth, and Donna D'Errico, Gena Lee Nolin, Alexandra Paul, Nicole Eggert and Traci Bingham.

According to Daily Variety, DreamWorks forked over $1.25 million for the rights and is currently searching for a writer to dive in and craft a script that makes the most of the show's, um, assets.

Here's to hoping they keep in the trademark slo-mo shots of the well oiled lifeguards running around the beach to save another beautiful victim in the surf (imagine the Imax version).

Baywatch launched on NBC in 1989, but so-so ratings and blistering reviews prompted the Peacock to deep-six the series. Hasselhoff and crew managed to resurface in syndication, where Baywatch became an international hit, airing in 142 countries and 44 languages at its peak. There was even a spinoff series (ah, those unforgettable Baywatch Nights).

Soaring production costs and dwindling ratings forced the lifeguards to pack up their thongs and relocate from California to Hawaii, where the series ended rather unceremoniously in 2001.

Several of the stars have struggled with their off-screen lives. A drug arrest landed Bleeth in rehab. Hasselhoff did his own stint in rehab to battle alcoholism--he now faces more time drying out after recently pleading no contest to a DUI and being sentenced to three years' self-supervised probation. And Anderson's tumultuous marriage to Tommy Lee played out in the tabs and in the courtroom.

In 2003 nearly all of Baywatch's hard bodies, including Anderson, Hasselhoff and Bleeth, reunited for a two-hour Fox TV movie, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding.

With development on the fast track, DreamWorks' Baywatch movie could make a splash in theaters in 2006.