Baywatch's Bogus Bounce

When you consider it was "the most popular show on earth," having to say bye to Baywatch has the ring of history. Well, the ring is actually a wake-up call: That widely cited "most watched" moniker was a mistake.

During Baywatch's third season, publicity executives, frustrated that the show was stuck in the ratings behind the Star Treks (TNG
and DSN),
were determined to boost its standing. At a creative meeting, one executive jokingly offered: "Well, we can say that we're the most popular show that takes place on Earth!" A source at the brainstorming session says the line got stuck in the head of a Baywatch
executive producer who, during an interview, misstated it with the comment: "Baywatch? Oh, it's the most popular show on Earth." The superlative gained traction and, the source adds, "To this day people think that's true." That's not saying it's inconceivable the claim is true. Baywatch
is seen in over 100 countries.