Ready for a slow motion run at the beach? With Baywatch coming back, TheWrap can confirm. Freemantle is developing a reboot of the memorable syndicated series and will be sent to multiple streamers and linear channels. There are currently no creatives attached.
The original show, which revitalized the career of “Knight Rider” star David Hasselhoff (and made him an overseas sensation) and popularized Pamela Anderson, first aired on NBC in 1989. It ran on NBC for one season before becoming a staple of the syndication Golden Era, which aired through the summer of 2001. Baywatch was essentially a prime-time soap opera centered around a group of lifeguards — both the emergencies they face and their messy interpersonal relationships (because they were all very hot). .
Baywatch inspired a spin-off called Baywatch Nights that ran from 1995 to 1997. The original version of the show featured Hasselhoff, whose character was now part of a private detective agency (the show began as a remake of the Peter Gunn series). When that concept didn’t work, the series underwent a major overhaul in Season 2, taking on a sci-fi dimension intended to capitalize on the then-booming sci-fi craze sparked by The X-Files. The show was so unpopular that the production company paid channels to air it. Incredible, is not it? In recent seasons, due to rising filming costs in California, the mainline Baywatch has been changed to Baywatch: Hawaii (originally suggesting Baywatch: Down Under).
Along the way there was a video film called “Baywatch the Movie: Forbidden Paradise” (which also ran as a two-part event in Season 6) that inspired a sequel “Baywatch: White Thunder at Glacier Bay” (which eventually also ran as part of the mainline show aired). Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding followed as a reunion movie that aired on Fox in 2003 (about a lunatic trying to ruin Mitch’s wedding).
More recently, there was the 2017 Baywatch movie, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Zac Efron, and Alexandra Daddario, which took on a far more comedic, very R-rated tone.
It will be interesting to see what tone this new iteration will take. Will it lean into the cheese? Or go your own way? What if it just brought back the Baywatch Nights approach? More giant squids please!
Deadline was the first to report the news.