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Friday, 9 February, 2001, 11:55 GMT
Baywatch to bounce off screen
Baywatch
Baywatch's unique selling point was the bodies
Baywatch, the TV show that brought Californian beaches, life guards and bathing-suited beauties to living rooms from Tokyo to Toronto, is to end next May.

The 11-year-old show, which made household names of Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff, has been scrapped due to poor ratings.

Pamela Anderson Lee
Baywatch launched the career of Pamela Anderson Lee
"Things have a natural life, and in our view it has run a natural life," said Brian Harris, chief executive of Pearson Television, North America, the show's producer.

"It was still a successful show, but it was getting tougher and tougher (to sell) by the minute.

"The economics of television these days aren't what they were two or three years ago."

Easy on the eye

Viewing figures for the show had dropped off since it left Los Angeles - where it had been filmed for 11 years - for Hawaii.

The business community there had mounted a $3m (£2.07m) campaign to attract the series.

Hasselhoff appeared less since the move. He was a loss to a show whose attraction was always its easy-on-the-eye stars.


I'm sure something else will come along to indulge our urge to revel in the fortunes of the bold and the beautiful

Richard Arnold, TV critic

GMTV television critic Richard Arnold said: "It is TV to hoover by, but it was easier on the eye than most.

"Its unique selling point was bodies and you can see the attraction for some in seeing washboard stomachs sizzling in the Californian sun over the true life antics of a docusoap."

Baywatch also launched the careers of Carmen Electra and Yasmine Bleeth.

Disappointment

The loss of the show is a blow to Hawaii.

Tony Vericella, president of the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, which helped negotiate and sign the final contracts for "Baywatch Hawaii," said the ending was bittersweet.

"I think the benefits far outweigh the investment," he said.

"Everybody who was part of this was disappointed."

David Hasselhoff
David Hasselhoff was key to the show's success
The show featured a group of lifeguards and their attractive friends having adventures on the beach in Malibu.

It was part of a trend for TV shows whose main objective was to entertain but not much else.

Baywatch was not a success from the outset, but when Hasselhoff took an interest in it its fortunes revived and it sold worldwide.

Some will no doubt mourn the show.

It had a unique international appeal, something Arnold put down to its reliance on visual rather than linguistic prowess.

"Given the fact that the language of Baywatch was universal, it was no surprise that it was so buoyant in the international ratings," he said.

"Escapist TV will never really go away.

"I'm sure something else will come along to indulge our urge to revel in the fortunes of the bold and the beautiful."

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See also:

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