David Hasselhoff, 59, the legendary 'Knight Rider' and 'Baywatch' actor known as 'the Hoff', can afford to feel smug about his financial situation. He is a multi-millionaire thanks to the enduring international success of his shows.
WERE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW SUCCESSFUL YOUR SINGING CAREER WAS IN EUROPE?
No, it wasn't really a surprise. I'm a different person to most celebrities – I like to jump in and I'm gracious with my fans, and I think people really appreciate manners like that.
WAS BUYING THE RIGHTS TO BAYWATCH FROM NBC WHEN THEY CANCELLED IT AFTER JUST ONE SEASON YOUR BEST BUSINESS DECISION?
Yes, definitely. I don't know if it was a bold move or just the obvious, but I have a keen sense of recognizing what will work and what won't.
I invested my own money and became executive producer, as well as having my contract stipulate that royalties were to be paid to me from the profits, which ultimately gave me the chance to buy the syndication rights from NBC. That was unheard of in the Nineties.
We worked really hard to get it to take off, but on the back of my ongoing popularity from Knight Rider, I went all over the US selling Baywatch to advertisers. At the time a lot of ad executives were females, so I played to that, and we were able to secure enough advertising to keep the show on the air. It ended up lasting for 11 years, which set the pace for a lot of long-running shows to come.
THE NETWORK EXECUTIVES MUST HAVE BEEN KICKING THEMSELVES WHEN IT TOOK OFF, THEN?
Yes, but it was too late by then for them to be able to do anything about it. They weren't the nicest people to deal with and they forgot the three words that I like to have in all my shows – heart, humor and action. That's what Baywatch and Knight Rider were all about. You have no idea how people at a network will think, but ultimately they're all looking to save their job. It's a corporate entity that's not based on creativity.
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT HASN'T PANNED OUT AS YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED?
Yes, I wish I'd had more roles that were a bit more serious. As much as the popularity of Knight Rider and Baywatch has been the making of my career and I've made a lot of money from them, they haven't exactly given me the critical acclaim I'm after, so I feel like I'm constantly fighting for recognition. I'd really like to get involved in something with a bit of bite.
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