Baywatchdebuted 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 production studio, GTG, (a joint venture of television station ownerGannett Company, later spun off intoTegna, andGrant Tinker, which was established only to produce the newsmagazine based on Gannett's newspaperUSA Today) went out of business.Due to high production costs, GTG was unable to finance the series any further.
Feeling the series still had potential, David Hasselhoff, one of the principal actors, along with creators and executive producersMichael Berk,Douglas Schwartz, andGregory J. Bonann, revived it for the first-runsyndicationmarket 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.
The audience was 65 percent female,with its number one audience being women aged 18 to 34. Speaking in 2001, Schwartz explained that, after doing focus groups onBaywatchfor about five years, they learnt that the show appealed to this demographic because "most of [its] lead characters were strong, independent women who were heroic, who were saving lives, who were equal to men".
Babewatchis asatiricalterm sometimes used in connection with the series, which has been used by the humor magazineMadand television commentators.The term was also used for a series ofadult filmsreleased between 1994 and 1999 in13 parts.