How Gilligan's creator saved Baywatch

"Uncle Sherwood" had advice when Baywatch was canceled.

"Some people stand in the darkness

Afraid to step into the light

Some people need to help somebody

When the edge of surrender's in sight"

If you were a fan of all the beachbound action and drama that swimwear could barely cover in the 90s, you have Gilligan and the Skipper to thank. Or maybe just nepotism.

Baywatch was an absolute television juggernaut, regularly viewed by over 1 billion fans all over the globe. It was the biggest show on TV and has since become a pop culture landmark. But, the show wasn't always a sensation. After a rocky start, its creators turned to family for support. Luckily for them, show biz runs in their genes.

Created in 1989 by Douglas Schwartz and Michael Berk, Baywatch depicted a group of lifeguards on duty at Los Angeles County beaches. Schwartz and Berk were proud to have their big break in TV, as NBC readied their new show for a fall premiere. However, things didn't go as they'd hoped, and NBC dumped the show after just one season. Frustrated with how close they'd come to success, the pair turned to a trusted voice of experience for some critical career advice.

It just so happens that screenwriter and producer Sherwood Schwartz, who created such shows as Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch, shared more than just an occupation with Douglas Schwartz. The two were family. Sherwood Schwartz is the uncle of Douglas Schwartz and was also a huge fan of Baywatch. He was upset, not just as an uncle, but as a viewer, when Baywatch was canceled.  

So, when the Baywatch duo turned to him for sage advice, Sherwood Schwartz told them to trust their creation. 

"Uncle Sherwood said 'This is your Gilligan's Island! Don't blow it! Go and buy back your rights,'" the younger Schwartz recalled in a 2017 interview with the Austin American-Statesman

That's exactly what Douglas Schwartz and Michael Berk did, returning to NBC to purchase back the rights to Baywatch. They were prepared to risk their reputation, and their financial well-being, by taking a gamble on the show. They were approached by actor David Hasselhoff, another fan of the first season, who was interested in becoming a part of the program. With Hasselhoff's help as a producer, Schwartz and Berk were able to produce a decade's worth of Baywatch to air in syndication. The rest is suntanned history. 

Watch Gilligan's Island on MeTV!

Sundays 3 & 3:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


morticia77 9 months ago
Thanks alot Sherwood. Only thing that kept babewatch going were the swimsuits.
Andybandit 9 months ago
I am sorry but, I never liked Baywatch. Sherwood should have saved other shows.
Snickers 9 months ago
Wish he would of saved Gilligan's Island instead.
Bapa1 Snickers 9 months ago
.....or at least The Castaways.
Wiseguy70005 Snickers 9 months ago
Would have.
Bapa1 9 months ago
Hasselhoff was "a fan of the first season"? He should have been, he was in the first season. Baywatch was Bay'watchable'. Always liked it, H&I were showing it recently. Theme song was great.
Zip Bapa1 9 months ago
Yes, the theme song was pretty cool. Another theme I loved was from the show Acapulco Heat. It was another tropical weather crime/drama show, heavier on the crime, as the main characters were special agents.
Zip 9 months ago
My wife didn't believe me when I told her that I used to watch Baywatch because it was all summery and warm.
But I love summer. We get way too little of it in Wisconsin.
LoveMETV22 Zip 9 months ago
Coldnorth Zip 9 months ago
Very true statement. Short summers
Zip Coldnorth 9 months ago
Dreadfully true. I'm ready to move somewhere that has more than 3 months of warm weather... and it's 3 months if we're lucky. This June was particularly cool here.
Coldnorth Zip 9 months ago
We are going to Florida October to April. Tired of snow and ice and cold all those months
Wiseguy70005 Zip 9 months ago
Why are you complaining? Do you know how many people are suffering through day after day of 100+ degrees heat indexes? Turn off MeTV and watch the news.
Zip Wiseguy70005 9 months ago
No, thank you.
lynngdance 9 months ago
speaking of Gilligan's Island, I was looking at the map of an amusement park I went to several years ago and saw something on it and couldn't resist making this meme. See if anybody gets it.
Moverfan lynngdance 8 months ago
I would...but I can't enlarge the bloody picture! Let's face it, MeTV, we need bigger print and a zoom-in feature!
Cougar90 9 months ago
David Hasselhoff said he wished he had done the same thing with "Knight Rider". (I'm still hinting at the addition of "Knight Rider" to the Me TV schedule.
Bricat2001 Cougar90 9 months ago
i think knight rider is still on charge? havent seen it on the schedule. even then they only played the same 10 episodes on repeat :P
MrsPhilHarris 9 months ago
I have never watched Baywatch.
tmac1951 MrsPhilHarris 9 months ago
It’s on Pluto tv and H&I not bad, kinda like 90210 or melrose place
MrsPhilHarris tmac1951 9 months ago
I did watch 90210 for a season or two. Never watched Melrose Place.
tmac1951 MrsPhilHarris 9 months ago
They are both on paramount plus, no commercials. 12 bucks a month well spent.
Snickers tmac1951 9 months ago
Yuck to both.
Coldnorth MrsPhilHarris 9 months ago
I second that. I haven’t seen an episode either
Mblack 9 months ago
Wasn't the first season fairly different? The cast, but I think other aspects that I can't remember
Bapa1 Mblack 9 months ago
They made some changes when they went into first-run syndication. What the article did not mention was that the series took a year off after being cancelled by NBC. The series became a little more (to me) lighthearted, some humor, lots of skin. etc. One cast change that was weird was that one older lifeguard that was killed in the first season, came back in the second season, none worse for wear.
Barbarian57 Mblack 9 months ago
The first season (the only one we watched) was more family friendly. Then it just turned into "Babe Watch".
tmac1951 9 months ago
SAGE ADVICE????????? I had a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup for lunch today.
Load previous comments
LoveMETV22 MrsPhilHarris 9 months ago
"soup in the summer"
A nice Gazpacho, ( cold soup) makes a nice accompaniment to a grilled cheese in the summer months.

MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 9 months ago
Yum! That’s a good one. Haven’t had it in years.
MrsPhilHarris tmac1951 9 months ago
I remember those. Haven’t noticed them in the stores. Will keep my eyes peeled. 👀
Moverfan tmac1951 8 months ago
Have you noticed that pretty much all the other cans of Campbell Soup will have an actual recipe, but the one on the tomato soup is basically "Make a grilled cheese sandwich...heat up some tomato soup...enjoy your meal..."?
Runeshaper 9 months ago
That's a good uncle right there!
LoveMETV22 9 months ago
Guess "Uncle Sherwood" would have been a good source for sage advice. Wonder though how much
Douglas Schwartz and Michael Berk had to pay NBC to purchase back the rights to Baywatch?
teire 9 months ago
Never really watched it, but this was pretty interesting nonetheless.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?