By David Flynn

During the 1990s–one US TV drama series was watched by millions of people around the world, and its stars were featured on magazine covers and almost on a daily basis in tabloid newspaper stories. Baywatch captured the imagination of the public to such a degree that the series was known about by even more people than were regularly watching the show.

At the time, Baywatch was included among a group of programmes such as The X-Files, Friends and Frasier which were the most popular television series in the world.

Baywatch had a primetime slot on the NBC network for its first season, 1989/90. Its pilot movie, ‘Panic at Malibu Pier’ premiered on television in April 1989, starring David Hasselhoff (as head lifeguard, Mitch Buchannon) alongside other actors who became household names in the coming years including Erika Eleniak and Billy Warlock.

Baywatch was picked up to become a series, beginning in September 1989 on Friday nights at 8pm on NBC. Its main competition was one of the family sitcoms of the time–Full House, which was No. 22 in the ratings on the CBS network.

BAYWATCH WAS cancelled from network television after the first season, but David Hasselhoff and the producers had belief in the series and they pumped money into the production of a second season.

They managed to syndicate the series, beginning in 1991, to smaller television stations in America and to numerous stations around the world. Baywatch, which was an action-comedy show, took off in a big way and became a hit everywhere, and became a part of television history!

The original idea for Baywatch began in the mind of lifeguard Gregory J. Bonann after he saved the lives of two children. He called the series Baywatch after the boats which patrolled Santa Monica Bay, California. Hasselhoff who was the star of the hit 1980s drama series, Knight Rider was the best known member of the cast, as well as actor Parker Stevenson, who was one of the stars of TV’s The Hardy Boys in the late 1970s.

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