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D’Works dons ‘Baywatch’ speedo

Bigscreen version to hit theaters in summer 2006

In a splashy seven-figure deal, DreamWorks has landed rights to make a feature film version of the global TV phenom “Baywatch,” about a phalanx of lifeguards who patrol a California beach.

Series stretched across 12 seasons Stateside, not to mention many red spandex one-piece bathing suits.

The studio is expected to dive right in and hire a writer. The plan is to fast track a film that will hit theaters in summer 2006.

Series started on NBC and segued into syndication in 142 countries and 44 languages, and is still playing in territories as far-flung as Paraguay and Papua New Guinea.

The rights package was brought to the marketplace by CAA late last week, and before other studios could get a toe in the water, DreamWorks took the plunge with a guarantee of $1.25 million that had the lawyers finalizing a deal over the weekend.

DreamWorks’ John Fox and production president Adam Goodman spearheaded the bid; Fox will supervise the pic.

It is unclear whether any of the series regulars will be involved. The stars included Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra and Yasmine Bleeth. Bolstering them was a batch of buff hunks led by David Hasselhoff, who starred in the series from 1989-2000 and became exec producer after the series became a global sensation. He is not at this point part of the film package.

The deal calls for “Baywatch” creators Michael Berk, Doug Schwartz and Greg Bonann to produce the pic, while Michelle Berk will be exec producer and Eli Roth will co-produce.

The deal is one of the most aggressive rights deals for a TV show, in line with the agreement that Warner Bros. made for a “Hawaii Five-O” feature.

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