Pamela Anderson Lee will not return next season to her role as C.J. Parker on All American Television’s weekly action hour “Baywatch,” the actress said Tuesday.
All American has already wrapped production of this season’s episodes, but the loss still comes at a bad time for “Baywatch,” which has fallen in the ratings this season.
According to her publicist, Lee decided to leave the show because she “wanted to diversify and supplement her career, going more in the direction of feature films, TV movies, homevideo and animation.”
Lee, who recently starred in Gramercy Pictures’ box office bust “Barb Wire,” is currently working on her autobiography, “Pamdemonium,” for Warner Books. She was also formerly the Tool Time Girl on ABC’s “Home Improvement” and a Playboy Playmate.
“The last five years have been wonderful,” Lee said in a statement. “I’ll miss the cast and crew tremendously. Giving birth to my son, Brandon, has opened my mind to explore new personal and professional opportunities. But I have no expectations about being a big movie star.”
Lee’s publicist said the decision has nothing to do with her widely publicized marital problems with rock star Tommy Lee: “She’s back with her husband and standing by him through his alcohol abuse.”
Syd Vinnedge, senior executive VP at All American Communications, said the show will definitely return next season, despite losing Lee. “We love Pamela, and we wish her the very best in her new endeavors,” Vinnedge said. “We appreciate the contributions she’s made to the show.”
Season-to-date, “Baywatch” is averaging a 4.3 national Nielsen rating, which is down 12% from last year’s average at this point in the season. In its most recent week, “Baywatch” was down 17% from its year-ago rating, taking a back seat to the newer “Hercules” and “Xena” action hours from Universal TV.