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Is there life after Baywatch? The syndicated tsunami proved T&A translates into any language, becoming the world’s most popular show and making star-exec producer David Hasselhoff even more money than his German pop records did. But can its ex-lifeguards ever be seen as anything more than red-bathing-suited beauties running in slo-mo?

One of the show’s most buoyant starlets is currently testing the post-Baywatch waters: Yasmine Bleeth has jumped aboard the Don Johnson vehicle Nash Bridges. While Hasselhoff treads water on Baywatch, Bleeth has decided to sink or swim on her own.

Bleeth doesn’t get a cut of Nash‘s cash, even though she’s boosted the series’ ratings further above those of its vastly superior cop-show competitor, NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street. This despite her miscasting as Inspector Caitlin Cross, a by-the-book conservative who has bickered predictably with Johnson’s maverick San Francisco police captain. With her heart-shaped face and quavering voice, Bleeth doesn’t make for a convincing tough-cookie cop.

In its fourth season, Nash should be a smooth-running machine, and with his crinkled, slightly sleazy charm, Johnson does have an easygoing chemistry with Cheech Marin as his wisecracking partner. Yet so far Bleeth has seemed like a third wheel — no, make that a fifth wheel, since the series already has a strong supporting cast, including Major League‘s James Gammon as Nash‘s crusty dad and Halloween: H20‘s Jodi Lyn O’Keefe as his nubile-undergraduate daughter. C

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