TV & RADIO
Waitresses in Red Bathing Suits?: "Baywatch" star David Hasselhoff is working with a group of Las Vegas investors to develop Baywatch Restaurant Cafes and Nightclubs, a chain of eateries based on the long-running syndicated TV show. The first venue is expected to open in Miami Beach in late 1999. Other sites under review include Las Vegas, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Investor John Thall, president of World Entertainment Ltd., said the seafood restaurants will feature live music, interactive entertainment and servers with movie-star looks. "One of the unique things is all of the help will have the opportunity to try out for a part on 'Baywatch,' " Thall said.
What Makes a Classic?: TV Land has selected the ABC comedy "Sports Night" to receive the cable channel's first Future Classic Award. The honor recognizes a first-year broadcast network series that "exhibits the qualities of a show that TV Land would one day like to add to its roster of award-winning programming." TV Land, which airs classic TV shows such as "All in the Family" and "Hill Street Blues," cited "Sports Night's" "fast-paced writing, excellent casting and overall appeal."
A Matter of Intent?: KFI-AM (640) talk-show hosts Scott Hasick and Casey Bartholomew are scheduled to go on the air Sunday at 2 p.m. to discuss their "intent" when they launched into what one Jewish leader has called "inflammatory anti-Semitism" during last Saturday's "Scott and Casey" show. KFI General Manager Howard Neal said that the duo did not intend to be offensive and that both hosts said several times during the broadcast that their comments were not meant to be taken seriously. David A. Lehrer, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, has demanded a public apology for the broadcast.
Royal Opera Back in Business: London's Royal Opera House, which had canceled its entire 1999 season amid a severe financial crunch, was thrown a lifeline Thursday when the British Arts Council increased the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet's combined 1999 grant by 11%, to a total of more than $26 million, and promised an even larger increase the following year. Opera management said the money would fund a 10-show run of "Paul Bunyan" at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in April, a five-night concert series at Royal Festival Hall in May, and an April concert by Placido Domingo at the Barbican Theatre. The news was enough to make the opera's music director, Bernard Haitink, withdraw his earlier threats to resign from the company, which is currently undergoing a $353-million refurbishment of its home in Covent Garden. In announcing the grant, the arts council's chairman called it "unimaginable" not to have "first-class opera" in London.
Pops Strike: The New York Pops' musicians went on strike over a wage dispute Thursday, forcing the cancellation of two weekend holiday concerts at Carnegie Hall as well as a planned trip to Japan that was to have begun Dec. 28. The union representing the freelance musicians who perform at the Pops' 15 or so shows each year rejected what Pops Executive Director Sue Unkenholz called the group's "last, best, final offer" following a month of negotiations.
Musician Recovering: Former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh was in stable condition in a Florida hospital Friday after undergoing a liver transplant Thursday. Lesh, 58, was hospitalized for several days in September because of internal bleeding stemming from hepatitis C, a chronic liver disease. His spokesman said that Lesh was in "excellent condition" and added that doctors were "totally pleased with his progress." Lesh recently toured with other former Dead members in a band called the Other Ones; a follow-up tour is tentatively planned for next summer.