‘Baywatch’ Moving to Hawaii
HONOLULU (AP) _ Aloha, ``Baywatch.″
A labor dispute that nearly saw the long-running television show about buff and busty lifeguards pack up and leave America for Australia has been resolved. The show will now be based in Hawaii.
``It’s going to be a blast,″ cast member Brooke Burns said Friday on Waikiki Beach.
After nine years in Los Angeles, the show’s creators were planning to move production to Queensland, Australia, because of increasing costs and declining ratings. But Hawaii officials stepped in, making a pitch to bring the show to Honolulu and Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore.
Executive producer Gregg Bonann said he preferred to keep the show in the United States if he could afford it, and the deal seemed ready to go _ until a local Teamsters official refused to agree to a wage reduction for Hawaii’s movie and television industry drivers.
The deal seemed dead, and Bonann announced he was off to Australia to make ``Baywatch Down Under.″
Then Gov. Ben Cayetano stepped in, offering Leo Reed of the Teamsters Local another $200,000 for wages from the state and improved working conditions for drivers. Production is expected to pump $20 million annually into Hawaii’s stagnant economy.
``This program will give us exposure that we couldn’t possibly afford,″ Cayetano said.
When ``Baywatch Hawaii″ begins airing in September, it will mark the return of the state to the little screen _ for the first time in seven years.
After the 12-year run of ``Hawaii Five-0″ and eight-year run of ``Magnum PI,″ Hawaii hasn’t had a successful weekly series since ``Jake and the Fatman″ left the islands in 1992 after four years.
``We’ve celebrated a California culture and lifestyle for nine years and now we get to celebrate Hawaiian culture,″ Bonann said.