Baywatch is an American action drama series about the Los Angeles County lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County, California, starring David Hasselhoff. The show was cancelled after its first season on NBC, but survived through syndication and later became one of the most-watched television shows in the world, thanks in no small part to female actors such as Pamela Anderson.
Baywatch revolved around the work of a team of lifeguards and their interpersonal relationships, with plots usually centering on dangers related to the beach and other activities pertinent to the California (later Hawaii) beach lifestyle.
Topics from earthquakes and shark attacks to serial killers served as plot conflicts on the show. Saving people from drowning was one of the most typical situations used in the shows.
The show ran in its original title and format from 1989 to 1999. From 1999 to 2001, with a setting change and large cast overhaul, it was known as Baywatch: Hawaii.
Baywatch premiered on NBC in 1989, but was cancelled after only one season, when it placed 73rd out of 103 shows in the seasonal ratings, and also because the studio, GTG, went out of business.
Feeling the series still had potential, David Hasselhoff, along with creators and executive producers Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, and Gregory J. Bonann, revived it for the first-run syndication market in 1991. Hasselhoff was given the title of executive producer for his work on bringing the show back.
The series was hugely successful, especially internationally. Watch the official Baywatch TV show intro and outro below:
Baywatch Down Under
In 1999, with production costs rising in Los Angeles, and the syndication market shrinking, the plan was to move the show to Australia and launch Baywatch Down Under. A pilot was filmed, but the series was stopped when residents of Avalon put forth strong objections, including potential damage to a fragile ecosystem. Pittwater Council permanently barred all future filming.
As an alternative to Australia, Hawaii offered the producers large financial incentives to move the show to the islands, instead, and in season 10, Baywatch: Hawaii was launched.
Baywatch filmed for two seasons in Hawaii, from 1999 until 2001. The proposal to relocate Baywatch to Hawaii rather than Australia was initiated by April Masini in a telephone call to executive producer Greg Bonann.
The deal to provide the incentives necessary to secure the series was presented to Governor Ben Cayetano by Al Masini and April Masini, Tony Vericella, president of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, and Cayetano’s executive assistant, Joe Blanco.
The agreement required the production to change its name from Baywatch to Baywatch: Hawaii, hire local leads, and film in the state for at least two years, guaranteeing 44 episodes, each at a cost of about US$870,000, 60% of which was to be spent in Hawaii.
Characters that appeared in Baywatch, and the actors that played them are listed below:
Baywatch (1989–1990; 1991–1999)
Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff); (seasons 1–9) – in the 2017 Baywatch feature film, he is played by Dwayne Johnson.
Craig Pomeroy (Parker Stevenson); (season 1, recurring seasons 8–9); a lifeguard who had a part-time job as a lawyer.
Jill Riley (Shawn Weatherly); (season 1); was the most experienced female lifeguard on the service, she trained Shauni McClain on how to become a better lifeguard and was respected by all of her friends at Baywatch. She died from blood embolism caused by a shark attack.
Eddie Kramer (Billy Warlock); (seasons 1–3); Eddie began life on Baywatch as a teenager with a complicated background. Being an orphan, he learned from a very early age to defend himself – a theory that got him into trouble quite a few times while in his first year on Baywatch. He likes to keep himself fit and likes to box. This helps him in some situations. Eddie is homeless during this time and is helped out by fellow Lifeguard Craig Pomeroy (Parker Stevenson). Eddie eventually managed to secure a place of his own. He developed a relationship with Shauni McClain. They eventually married and moved to Australia. In season 2, Billy was moved from a regular cast member to supporting lead, replacing Stevenson. He would remain there until his departure along with Erika in the beginning of Season 3. After his departure in 1992, Warlock explained his departure was voluntary as he had been unhappy with the direction Baywatch had taken. Warlock later reprised his character for one episode in the spin-off series, Baywatch Nights in 1996 and also in the 2003 television movie, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding.
Shauni McClain (Erika Eleniak); (seasons 1–3); Shauni was a complete rookie when she started out as a lifeguard with Baywatch, being scared of people drowning and freezing up when people needed CPR, she was put under the wing of experienced lifeguard Jill Riley, where she became confident in her abilities.In her time at Baywatch she fell for and married her long term colleague Eddie Kramer played by Billy Warlock. Their onscreen chemistry and romance became real for a time. Erika Eleniak played in 44 episodes of the first and second seasons, and first two episodes of the third season, she was the show’s female mainstay from 1989 until 1992. It was reported by both producers and Erika herself that her departure was due to her dislike for the direction the show was taking.
Trevor Cole (Peter Phelps); (season 1); Trevor Cole began life on Baywatch as a cocky and arrogant clubhouse lifeguard who, after a boat party that left his then girlfriend fighting for her life, realized how little about lifeguarding he actually knew. He decided to join Baywatch Rookie School where he passed top of his class. During his time as an L.A county lifeguard Cole made a number of preventions, earning the respect of his colleagues and those superior to him (including Mitch, who had previously disliked Cole for his amateur lifeguarding and his attitude towards the job). Towards the end of his stay at Baywatch there were hints of a romance between him and Jill Riley, but Cole was absent the day Jill died from a shark attack and Phelps left the show the episode later. All the while his disappearance was not addressed in the show. It’s assumed that Cole went back home as he had previously expressed interest in returning to Sydney, Australia.
Hobie Buchannon (Brandon Call), season 1; and Jeremy Jackson, seasons 2–9); the son of Mitch Buchannon; he forms a romantic relationship with his long-time crush, Summer Quinn. His parents are divorced and his mom, Gayle appears in several episodes. According to Hasselhoff, the role almost went to Leonardo DiCaprio.
Gayle Buchannon (Wendie Malick); (season 1-2, 4-5) Mitch’s former wife and lawyer who always struggled with the fact that Mitch was always on lifeguard duty 24 hours a day.
Don Thorpe (Monte Markham); (seasons 1–2)
Gina Pomeroy (Gina Hecht, pilot episode; and Holly Gagnier, season 1) Craig’s loving and supporting wife.
Garner Ellerbee (Gregory Alan Williams); (seasons 1, 3–5, recurring seasons 2 and 8) A good friend of the lifeguards. A police officer who patrols the beach but hates the water. He appears in the 2017 Baywatch feature film, where he is played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
John D. Cort (John Allen Nelson); (season 1, recurring seasons 2, 4–5) A former lifeguard who had a relationship with C.J. Parker who eventually succumbed to blindness. He often got Mitch in trouble with illegal money making schemes.
Harvey Miller (Tom McTigue); (season 2) A quiet, introverted lifeguard who often had lofty dreams.
Ben Edwards (Richard Jaeckel); (season 2, recurring seasons 3–4); Edwards was part of the first team of lifeguards at Baywatch (formed in the 1950s), known as ‘The Red Knights’. He was the longest serving lifeguard at Baywatch and retired in 1994. Ben had a close relationship with Mitch Buchannon, and served as a mentor to him. Some time before the series started, Ben had crushed his hip when he jumped from a huge height to save a drowning fisherman. He was unable to swim after this injury and required the use of a walking cane. Captain Thorpe promoted Ben to lieutenant instead of firing him. He was eventually promoted to captain, after Thorpe’s departure. The day he resigned, he made his final rescue when he jumped off a pier to save a young boy. He was then happy to ‘go out on top’.
Kaye Morgan (Pamela Bach); (recurring seasons 2–3, 5–6). Pamela Bach portrayed two other characters in later seasons and also made an appearance as another character in the first season Baywatch Hawaii.
Roberta “Summer” Quinn (Nicole Eggert); (seasons 3–4); Summer and her mother, Jackie, moved to California to escape Jackie’s abusive ex-boyfriend. They traveled across the country in their trailer and set up home in a local trailer park. Summer was a star athlete in her hometown winning many awards for swimming. Her mother’s ex-boyfriend tracked them down and confronted Summer. When he began to get physical with her, Matt Brody stepped in and stopped him. This was the start of a long friendship between the two. Later, with the help of C.J. Parker, Summer overcame bulimia. Summer then left to pursue her education at a university. She is a main character in the 2017 Baywatch feature film, where she is played by Alexandra Daddario.
Matt Brody (David Charvet); (seasons 3–5, recurring season 6); Matt had a long-term relationship with Summer Quinn in the fourth season, and pursued a similar relationship with C.J. Parker in the fifth and sixth seasons. He was forced to resign because of a phony sexual harassment lawsuit filed by series ‘bad girl,’ Neely Capshaw, but was reinstated after the lawsuit proved to be false. After a while, Matt went back to France unable to cope with Neely’s return. He eventually returned, but after going on a holiday with some members of the team, he was never seen again, which suggests he returned to France again. He is a main character in the 2017 Baywatch feature film, where he is played by Zac Efron.
Casey Jean “C.J.” Parker (Pamela Anderson); (seasons 3–7) A strong dedicated lifeguard who is also the object of desire from several men on the beach. Eventually left Baywatch and got married to a rock singer in Mexico, but unfortunately, it didn’t last. She later opened up a Beach cafe in Hawaii and married one of her waiters Leonard. UGO.com voted C.J. Parker one of the top 10 blondes. She is a main character in the 2017 Baywatch feature film, where she is played by Kelly Rohrbach.
Jimmy Slade (Kelly Slater); (season 3, recurring season 4); Jimmy Slade was a main character during the third season and had a gift for surfing. He was constantly trying to become a professional surfer and had a romantic relationship with Summer Quinn. He had a very strict, abusive military father, whom he did not get along with, and a mother who abandoned him. Due to his family circumstances, he lived alone on the beach in his van. He eventually did break into the professional circuit and left Baywatch to move to Hawaii.
Stephanie Holden (Alexandra Paul); (seasons 3–6, recurring season 7); when Stephanie was seven years old, her father died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam. This affected her deeply and she developed a huge fear of helicopters. Stephanie was eventually abandoned by her mother and was raised by her grandmother. She developed a romantic relationship with Mitch Buchannon, and the two became very serious. The relationship ended abruptly when Stephanie left Mitch without explanation (she was married and didn’t believe in pre- or extramarital sex). Stephanie and Mitch eventually got over their differences and formed a strong friendship. She dies in season 7 from a lightning strike while at sea. Paul later reprised her role as the late Stephanie in a second-season episode of the spin-off series, Baywatch Nights in 1997. This scene was a near-death hallucination by Mitch. In 2003, Paul played a Stephanie doppelganger named Alison Ford in the TV-movie, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding. She appears in the 2017 Baywatch feature film, where she is played by Ilfenesh Hadera.
Jackie Quinn (Susan Anton); (recurring seasons 3–5); Summer’s mother. She briefly dated Mitch.
Caroline Holden (Yasmine Bleeth); (seasons 5–7, recurring season 4 & 8) Stephanie’s younger sister who is a determined teenage girl but is also very stubborn especially when it comes to her love life.
Logan Fowler (Jaason Simmons); (seasons 5–6, recurring season 7); first appearance was in the season 5 premiere. The character had just recently arrived in California from Tasmania as part of a lifeguard exchange program. He had a reputation as being a top lifeguard in Australia but immediately began to cause problems once he arrived at Baywatch. He did not work well in a team or obey orders from his superiors, this caused him to clash with many of his fellow lifeguards, including Matt Brody and C.J. Parker. He also suffered from a childhood memory of watching his father, also a lifeguard, die in the line of duty while saving people from a burning boat, but was unable to escape himself before it exploded.
Cody Madison (David Chokachi); (seasons 6–9); an aspiring Olympic swimmer sidelined by an irregular heartbeat. Mostly he is like a Tom Cruise of Baywatch, because of the women in Baywatch throwing themselves to him like he was a rock star. He had relationships with fellow lifeguards, C.J. Parker and Lani McKenzie. However both left him and got married.
Neely Capshaw (Heather Campbell (season 5); Gena Lee Nolin seasons 6–8; and Jennifer Campbell, recurring season 9); Neely was the show’s resident ‘bad girl,’ being in constant conflict with her fellow employees and her boss, Mitch Buchannon. She was re-made as a ‘good girl’ in season 7, and got her lifeguard re-certification after Mitch and Donna Marco (Donna D’Errico) learn of her saving an elderly heart attack victim with CPR following a botched drugstore robbery. Neely became romantically involved with Mitch and they eventually got married, after which she returned to her conniving ways. However, during the Baywatch reunion movie, Neely is last seen trying to get back together with Mitch.
Sheryl Whalen (Ingrid Walters); (recurring season 8–9)
Mike “Newmie” Newman (Michael Newman); (seasons 7–9, recurring seasons 1–6) Another one of Baywatch’s longest surviving lifeguards. He played a caricature of himself and continued onto Baywatch: Hawaii.
Samantha Thomas (Nancy Valen); (season 7); was a lifeguard captain and had an elevated position at Baywatch headquarters. Occasionally got on Mitch’s nerves and formed a relationship with him.
Manny Gutierrez (José Solano); (seasons 7–8, recurring season 9); Manny was one of the younger members of Baywatch. He was taken on permanently by Mitch Buchannon following an outstanding physical test. Manny was in a life-threatening accident and was in a wheelchair for a significant amount of time.
Donna Marco (Donna D’Errico); (seasons 7–8); D’Errico originally joined the cast of the spin-off series, Baywatch Nights midway through its first season in 1996. Her character became the new owner of the nightclub/bar, Nights, while aspiring to become a lifeguard at Baywatch. During the second season of Baywatch Nights, D’Errico also joined the cast of the parent series, Baywatch, simultaneously appearing on both series during the 1996–1997 season. After the cancellation of Baywatch Nights in 1997, she continued on the original Baywatch series for the 1997–1998 season.
Jordan Tate (Traci Bingham); (seasons 7–8)
Jack “J.D.” Darius (Michael Bergin); (seasons 8–9); was one of the few characters to continue into the Baywatch Hawaii era and also appeared in the 2003 reunion movie, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding. A failed pier rescue by J.D. resulted in a victim getting crushed and dying in J.D.’s arms. Blaming himself for the death, he suffered PTSD and took time off to deal with it. He had relationships with fellow lifeguards Jessie, Kekoa and Leigh. But eventually got back with Kekoa.
Lani McKenzie (Carmen Electra); (season 8); a lifeguard who also had great dreams of becoming a famous dancer. She eventually left Baywatch to pursue her dancing career in Las Vegas, but was then hired by C.J. Parker as an entertainer for her beach cafe. Electra crossed-over her Baywatch character, Lani, to another series, Pacific Blue for one episode during the 1997–1998 season.
April Giminski (Kelly Packard); (seasons 8–9); the only female character to cross over between Season 8 & Season 9 after the rest of the female Baywatch cast were all let go during what was described as the “Baywatch Bloodbath”.
Skylar Bergman (Marliece Andrada); (season 8) A blonde and skilled lifeguard who only appeared in a few episodes. She was a friend of Lani and April.
Taylor Walsh (Angelica Bridges); (season 8); Taylor was a lieutenant who replaced Mitch when he was promoted to Captain in 1997.
Jessica “Jessie” Owens (Brooke Burns); (season 9); continued onto Baywatch: Hawaii: She first came to Baywatch as a cleaner, who occasionally made mistakes, but after the other lifeguards saw how talented she was in saving lives, she was added to the team.
Alex Ryker (Mitzi Kapture); (season 9); A former member of a rival lifeguard team called “Bayguard” but after their team were setting up their rescues, she quit and joined the Baywatch team.
Baywatch Nights (1995–97)
Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff); (seasons 1 & 2)
Garner Ellerbee (Gregory Alan Williams); (Season 1)
Ryan McBride (Angie Harmon); (seasons 1 & 2)
Destiny Desimone (Lisa Stahl); (recurring episodes 1–10)
Lou Raymond (Lou Rawls); (Season 1)
Griff Walker (Eddie Cibrian); (recurring episodes 11–44)
Donna Marco (Donna D’Errico); (recurring episodes 11–44)
Diamont Teague (Dorian Gregory); (Season 2)
Baywatch: Hawaii (1999–2001)
Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff); (season 1)
Jessica “Jessie” Owens (Brooke Burns); (season 1, recurring season 2)
Jack “J.D.” Darius (Michael Bergin); (seasons 1–2)
Sean Monroe (Jason Brooks); (seasons 1–2); a dedicated lifeguard, who thinks that he is making a difference in the world with his job. Mitch chooses him to be in charge of Baywatch Hawaii. Despite Sean’s emotional strength, he has his demons. He blames himself for the death of his son Ben whom he was unable to save from drowning, which led to a divorce from his wife. After taking a charge of Baywatch Hawaii, Sean successfully manages a good team of lifeguards.
Mike “Newmie” Newman (Michael Newman); (season 1, recurring season 2)
Dawn Masterson (Brandy Ledford); (season 1) ; Dawn was an archeologist and an expert in the human body, often testing experiments on herself that she learned in other countries. She is sometimes a bit of a gossip and her attitude sometimes makes her fall out with the other lifeguards but she is still an asset to the team.
Allie Reese (Simmone Jade Mackinnon); (season 1); An Australian lifeguard who was hired after Mitch had seen her in action on his Australian vacation. She is very good at handling lifeboats and is a qualified helicopter pilot.
Jason Ioane (Jason Momoa); (seasons 1–2); originally from Hawaii, Jason moved to Texas with his mother when he was very young after his father disappeared. At nineteen years old, he was the youngest of the lifeguards at Baywatch Hawaii. Jason found it hard to work as part of a team, being very headstrong. He was often cited as the best water person on the team. Jason was introduced to a wise Hawaiian man named Ko Lani, who helped put him in touch with his Hawaiian heritage, something that Jason became very passionate about. Eventually, he was accepted as one of the Hawaiian people and went through a traditional ceremony to mark it.
Kekoa Tanaka (Stacy Kamano), (seasons 1–2); half Japanese, half Hawaiian. She didn’t get on with Jessie Owens at first because of her untidiness and thinking she was after her boyfriend J.D, but they gradually formed a friendship. However, after Jessie left J.D., Kekoa started a relationship with him herself.
Kai Colburn (Kala’i Miller); (recurring season 1)
Brian Keaulana as himself (seasons 1–2)
Jenna Avid (Krista Allen); (season 2, recurring season 1); Jenna was the series’ femme fatale as Neely Capshaw was in the original series. She is an extremely selfish character and can be particularly vindictive, especially toward Sean Monroe, whom she taunts throughout the series. Eventually, however, the two fall in love.
Zachary “Zack” McEwan (Charlie Brumbly); (season 2); a close friend of Jason Ioane, Zach has an inflated opinion of himself. He sports an extreme quiff-style of surfer hair and Elvis-style aviator sunglasses and Hawaiian clothing.
Leigh Dyer (Brande Roderick); (season 2)
Carrie Sharp (Alicia Rickter); (Season 2) A rookie lifeguard who enjoyed her job at first, until she was pursued by a stalker which added to her leaving after finding how much pressure the job was starting to become.
Hideki Tanaka (Pat Morita); (recurring season 2); Kekoa’s father, a wealthy Japanese business man with a high standard of living and morals.