The Fox TV pic — tentatively titled Baywatch Blast — has been pushed back to spring, if it happens at all, TV Guide Online has learned. The reason? Well, that all depends on who you ask.
A Fox spokesperson says the events of Sept. 11 caused the delay. "The special deals the production company had with the airlines and the hotels couldn't be fulfilled because of what happened," the rep explains. "And [some] castmembers felt uneasy being out of the continental United States at this time."
However, a source tells TV Guide Online that many actors refused to sign on the dotted line after they learned that Hasselhoff — the franchise's executive producer and star — offered "favored nations" contracts to some of Baywatch's more popular alums. "There were three payment tiers," reveals an insider close to the negotiations. "The top was reserved just for [Hasselhoff], and there was a middle tier for Pam Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth, Gena Lee Nolin, David Chokachi, Erika Eleniak and Nicole Eggert offering them $100,000." Bleeth — who is said to earn $400,000 for her TV movies — was among those who balked at the salary. (Of course, that was before her recent drug bust.)
Hasselhoff confirms that while all the show's major beach babes and bums were invited back for the group swim, most contracts went unsigned. "We [had] 25 castmembers on our wish list, but then the budget was way too big," he explains of the project, which was to serve as the launch pad for a new Fox series. "So, now I'm trying to get the big girls like Pamela and Yasmine to come back and go to work where we gave them their start."
Another hurdle facing Hasselhoff: Baywatch Blast was to find the lifeguards gathering to mourn the death of his character, Mitch Buchannon. Yet, Mitch was killed off in 1999 when the show was rechristened Baywatch Hawaii. "Yeah, but no one was watching then," he jokes. "We're going to go back to before Mitch gets blown up to find out what led to that." As it is, word has it that Mitch will — surprise! — turn up alive anyway. Another deceased character will not be so lucky: Alexandra Paul, whose Lt. Stephanie Holden was fatally whacked with a ship mast in 1997, has been offered a cameo — as a ghost.
As tantalizing as these plot details sound, the fact remains: Without any star power, Baywatch Blast is going to be a bust. On the bright side, several actors who fall under the "bottom tier" pay scale — including John Allen Nelson (Cort) and Jeremy Jackson, who played Mitch's son Hobie — are ready to ride the wave. And there's even more good news. Cracks the onetime Knight Rider: "I spoke to Parker Stevenson, and it looks like he might be coming back." It just goes to show, if you stay on the shore long enough, there's no telling who might wash up!