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'Baywatch' Finally Slated for DVD Release

13 Feb, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Notorious beach-and-babes TV series “Baywatch” is finally headed for DVD. A late-summer “best of” set, with episodes personally chosen by star Pamela Anderson, will be the initial release, followed by a succession of “complete season” sets.

“Baywatch,” which was on the air from 1989 until 2001, is once again making headlines, with a big-budget movie in the works from director Eli Roth, who's coming off a sleeper hit with the Lionsgate horror film Hostel.

The series gained fame for its look at the Southern California beach lifestyle as seen through the eyes of a sexy team of lifeguards.

The DVD rights to the original series were obtained by First Look Studios CEO Henry Winterstern in partnership with Anderson, who played buxom lifeguard C.J. Parker from 1992 until 1997 and has become one of the show's most enduring symbols. Rights to nine seasons were licensed from Fremantle Media, which also owns “American Idol,” according to Winterstern.

“We're very excited about this show,” Winterstern said. “From what I understand, it's even in the Guiness Book of World Records as the most–watched TV show of all time.”

As part of the alliance, First Look will market and sell the DVDs worldwide, while Anderson will provide marketing and promotional support, including personal making personal appearances.

“It's nice to finally have an ownership position in something that made money for a lot of other people,” Anderson said. “In desperation to keep this show on the air, the creators gave away 10% rights to 50 different people, it seems, so there are a lot of people who made millions off this show — but not us.”

Still, she said, “it was a great experience, and I have a lot of great memories.”

Both Anderson and Winterstern said they plan on talking to David Hasselhoff, who as lifeguard Lt. Mitch Buchannon was the series' top-billed star, about participating in the DVD production.

“We're very interested in getting him onboard,” Winterstern said.

Gord Lacey, who runs the TVShowsonDVD.com Web site, said “Baywatch” has been one of the most requested TV shows not yet available on DVD.

“I constantly receive e-mails asking about ‘Baywatch' coming to DVD, so the news that it's finally coming will make consumers happy,” Lacey said. “Fans have been waiting for this one for a long time.”

Anderson said looking back, “Baywatch” is the kind of show she'd like her kids, 8 and 9, to see.

“It's a great show for kids — a little action, very silly, harmless and very California lifestyle,” she said. “There's no violence, unlike some of the cartoons you see today, which are real mean-spirited in the way they speak and talk and scream. It's really a turnoff, and this way kids are watching something that's very cute, particularly for that age group.

“It's not ‘Masterpiece Theater,' but it was never meant to be.”

For the first release, Anderson said, “we're lumping together the best episodes, the ones I like, with all the hot girls and the cute guys.” She isn't planning on cutting a commentary, but does plan on including outtakes and subsequent retrospectives on the cast that have been shown on TV.

While this is the first official DVD release of “Baywatch,” two episodes were released on DVD in 1999 by Pioneer Entertainment, including the pilot for season two.

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