Star-Bulletin Features

Saturday, October 13, 2001

‘Baywatch’ owner sues
HVCB for production costs

By TimRyan

"Baywatch" owner Pearson Television is suing the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

The lawsuit states that the HVCB entered into a memorandum of agreement with "Baywatch" in March 1999, that has not been fulfilled.

The amount includes about $352,000 in contractual obligations and about $5,000 in unreimbursed expenses, Lacy said.

The show's executive producer, Greg Bonann, is not connected to the lawsuit, according to Honolulu attorney John. R. Lacy, who filed the suit in U.S. District Court last month.

Reports have said "Baywatch Hawaii" producers had filed the suit on behalf of Baywatch Production Co., alleging the bureau owed them $357,265.30 for costs connected to production of the television series.

"Pearson always liked to call themselves the producers, but they're the distributors," Bonann said. "Hawaii was great to the show; they don't owe us anything."

"Baywatch Production Company" is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pearson formed by Bonann after the distributors bought the show in 1997.

It is "the entity" through which Pearson paid the show's expenses, said Bonann, who was an employee of the production company.

Bonann believes it's Pearson who didn't fulfill its obligations.

The money in question is part of the $7 million the HVCB provided to the show. It was held in escrow to be paid only if Pearson performed, in terms of "Baywatch Hawaii" distribution, a source said.

The show was not distributed in Japan which apparently was part of the agreement, the source said.

According to the lawsuit, "the producers" asked the convention bureau to reimburse it for "costs and expenses that Baywatch has documented and submitted."

Convention bureau officials were unavailable for comment.

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