Why the Hoff didn't want Pamela Anderson on Baywatch

Pamela Anderson was Baywatch's breakout star - but she almost didn't make it onto the show.
Pamela Anderson was Baywatch's breakout star - but she almost didn't make it onto the show.

It's one of the most iconic TV shows of all time, but Baywatch could've been an entirely different program if star David Hasselhoff got his way.

In an interview with the series' original producers, cousins Michael Berk and Douglas Schwart, The Hollywood Reporter discovered that The Hoff was against the casting of Pamela Anderson.

Anderson joined the show in its second season and quickly became its breakout star, but Hasselhoff disapproved of her racy past as a Playboy model.

The Baywatch cast - all eyes on Pammy, bottom right. Photo / News Limited
The Baywatch cast - all eyes on Pammy, bottom right. Photo / News Limited

"David said, 'I don't want a girl that's been in Playboy,'" Berk recalled. "He said, 'Children watch this show.'" Schwartz said he thought Hasselhoff had other concerns.

"She had these enormous breasts," he says, "and David thought he would be upstaged by everyone looking at her breasts.

Which is what happened."

Despite her instant star status, the producers revealed that Anderson received a relatively meagre pay - at least at first.

"I think Pam got $5,000 or $7,500 an episode," Berk recalls of the actress' first-season pay. "But when Pam left [in 1997], her salary had gone up to $40,000."

Still small money considering the show was at one stage in its 90s heyday the most-watched TV program in the world - and when cast members on other 90s hits like Seinfeld and Friends were commanding million-dollar salaries per episode.

If Hasselhoff was worried about Anderson's Playboy past, he and the show's producers were dealt an even bigger issue in 1995 when her sex tape with Tommy Lee was made public. As one of the world's first celebrity sex tapes, it was uncharted territory for the show, and Berk said foreign distributors and broadcast affiliates were on the edge.

"They came to us and said, 'What are we gonna do? Should we leave her out of the next episode?'" remembers Berk. "We had to figure out how to deal with it. So we just kept going." "The ratings doubled," says Schwartz.

"That was a big thing for Baywatch."

- news.com.au

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