A lot of our TV conversations these days revolve around shows with zombies and dragons and blind superheroes guiding the plots, but let's not forget that there was a time not all that long ago when the biggest TV show in the world was about a bunch of super-attractive lifeguards who sporadically ran in slow motion. Baywatch got a lot of attention over its eleven-season run, but if star David Hasselhoff had originally gotten his way, Pamela Anderson wouldn't have been one of the lifeguards getting that attention. Why? He wasn't a big fan of her Playboy appeal. Here's what show producer Douglas Schwartz said about it.
She had these enormous breasts, and David thought he would be upstaged by everyone looking at her breasts. Which is what happened.
I mean, if we're giving credit where credit is due, David Hasselhoff was indeed justified in worrying about Pamela Anderson being added to the cast. Anderson's boobs were something of a national phenomenon in the 1990s, as her Playboy appearances and her breast enlargement surgeries were instant headline fodder. (Her 1996 feature Barb Wire, however, was not such a popular topic.) So it's almost hard to imagine what Baywatch could have added that wouldn't have been upstaged by Anderson's chest, unless it was Jenny McCarthy's chest or something.
It apparently wasn't solely about jiggling egos, though, as Schwartz told THR that Hasselhoff also said he didn't want a Playboy playmate cast because "children watch this show." I don't know that kids were really flipping between Captain Kangaroo and Baywatch all that often, and if he was talking about teenagers, then...well, let's go out on a limb and assume that Pamela Anderson didn't deter adolescent boys from tuning in. So the next time you hear anybody say, "Won't someone please think of the children?" you can tell them that The Hoff did it, and that it was a dopey idea.
Baywatch is going to take over the minds of an entirely different generation next year when the big screen remake hits theaters. With Dwayne Johnson front and center, the movie stands to make a ton of money, and the creative team knows that honoring older audiences with cameos is the best way to go. Because yes, the newer cast members will be complemented by returns from David Hasselhoff himself, as well as Pamela Anderson, who was actually the last person to pose nude for Playboy earlier this year before the magazine's change in approach. Interestingly, Anderson wasn't so fond of the remake idea initially, but she came around later. Not an exact mirror of Hasselhoff's wariness about adding the actress to the show, but close enough.