Knight Rider


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NBC is bringing back "Knight Rider," hiring Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Identity) to produce a Transformers-inspired reworking of the 1980s hit action-drama series about a man and his indestructible supercar.

Variety says the network is developing a two-hour pilot for the project, with tentative plans to air it as a telepic later this season. Liman is open to the idea of directing, assuming his feature schedule allows. If the telepic clicks, a new-model "Knight Rider" could be on the air as early as next fall.

Dave Andron ("Raines") is writing the pilot script and will serve as supervising producer alongside executive producers Liman and Dave Bartis ("The O.C.," "Heist") for Universal Media Studios and Dutch Oven Productions.

The trade says the success of Transformers had a role in inspiring NBC Entertainment chief Ben Silverman's decision to revive "Knight." The thinking is that small screen f/x have advanced to the point where it'd be feasible to have a weekly series in which cars shift shapes.

It's also likely the new show will explore the idea of "evil" cars to offset the heroic talking K.I.T.T. car of the original series, which starred David Hasselhoff. That said, the series is expected to essentially remain focused on the story of a single man fighting for justice with the help of his superadvanced car.

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As it turns out, there are 2 Knight Rider projects coming out.

1. The original creator Glenn A. Larson has the movie rights, and is creating a movie with The Weinstein Company.

2. Universal/NBC owns the television rights, and is planning a 2 hour pilot movie that will be turned into a series.

Universal/NBC asked Larson to work with them on making the new series, but he refused. Now there will be two different versions coming out. Both are shooting for next year.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The new tv movie in spoiled form:

Word is Larson’s film project is a ground up reworking of the KNIGHT RIDER mythos – which might appeal to folks who were passingly interested in the supercar concept, but didn’t really care for the original series too much.

NBC’s television movie/backdoor pilot, on the other hand, is VERY MUCH A SEQUEL to the original David Hasselhoff series. It takes the heart and soul of KNIGHT RIDER, gives it a little more edge…a dash more intelligence (but not too much)…an often clever sense of wit...slicks it up a bit…and hits the ground running.

Through most of David Andron’s teleplay, cursory allusions are made to a Trans-Am supercar from decades ago; Hasselhoff’s Michael Knight and K.I.T.T. have assumed something of an urban legend status. We don’t know what happened to them…or what became of their high-tech crime fighting exploits.

However, in the last third (or so) of the script, this project’s relationship to the original KNIGHT RIDER series becomes startlingly evident. This isn’t handled in a tip-of-the-hat, affectionate homage sort of way, either. By the end of the show, we realize we’re watching a sequel…a continuation…grounded in the same “universe” as the original, only with new characters. And some…who aren’t so new.

Is it fun? It’s fun. Is it great? It’s KNIGHT RIDER. KNIGHT RIDER (as a whole) is defined by cool cars doing dopey things, witty banter between an irascible driver and his supercomputer partner, and a frivolous lack of true jeopardy – hardly the stuff of lofty narrative. The same qualities are present here. There are also classically structured cliffhangers that lead us into commercials…we pick up right where we left off when returning from commercial breaks…in fact, the whole structure/feel of the show feels…80s.

This is NOT to say the show is fully retro; it is decidedly modern in sensibility and technology. This is primarily evident in the conception of, and treatment of, the new K.I.T.T. car.

Yes, the car still talks. I don’t know what voice they want to use…but references are made to the original KNIGHT RIDER theme music, and….given that this is a sequel…it’s safe to assume Wiliam Daniels (who voiced the original K.I.T.T.) would at least be considered.

K.I.T.T. now guides its driver through situations remotely, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE style – using a Bluetooth-like device to communicate verbally with operatives while tapping into security camera video feeds.

It uses high-end profiling software to locate (or evade) bad guys in a crowd. There’s a nifty cat and mouse sequence set in a casino…in which K.I.T.T. maneuvers its driver through a crowded room & away from the villains while cross-referencing badguy images lifted from surveillance footage that was snagged earlier.

It seizes and controls technological infrastructures (like power lines, computer networks, door controls, etc.) to facilitate missions.

It has an arsenal of portable tech human companions can use to this end…night vision devices and whatnot.

It can camouflage itself (primarily a color shifting technology, although there is some physical manipulation involved) - appearing to be other cars (the sense is that they're usually roughly the same mass).

K.I.T.T…is more like a Special Forces asset than a gimmick in this iteration.

It runs on gasoline (with performance optimized to over 140mpg via solar-powered back-up, etc.). It’s very autonomous…in fact, it is more or less the “hero” of this piece until approx half way through the script.

Its best sequence? There’s a moment when K.I.T.T. attempts to console someone who has lost her father. It’s a machine…an AI…and doesn’t know how to relate to raw emotions, so all it can do is try to be there for her by using (literally) textbook examples and research materials. K.I.T.T. feels very much like vintage Spock in this script. There’s a coldness to it, but also a sweet charm.

New character include (but are not limited to)…

MIKE TRACER: an ex Army Ranger, now disillusioned and disenfranchised. He’s a shitty gambler and an unsuccessful race car driver. He’s pulled into the world of K.I.T.T. because of his very special connection to the past KNIGHT RIDER incarnation. The first time we see him, he’s waking up in bed with a fabulous babe. A few minutes later, another one steps out of the restroom.

CHARLES KAMEN: a designer of the “Knight Industries Two Thousand – K.I.T.T.”, once driven by Michael Knight. He’s recently finished the “Knight Industries Three Thousand – K.I.T.T.” – which is a very good thing when the shit hits the fan. At one point Mike calls Charles "insane" for trying to make a difference with his nutty car. "This world is insane" says Charles. "This is the definition of sanity."

SARAH KAMEN: Charles’ daughter. She and Mike had a thing going a while back, and discover they’ve been unnecessarily alienated for years due to bad timing and simple misunderstandings.

CARRIE RAVAI: a bad-ass FBI agent. The first time we see her, she’s waking up in bed with a fabulous babe.

AMIR and ZION: Middle Eastern enforcers/collectors who constantly lean on Tracer to pay back money he borrowed. Tracer doesn’t have it.

WELTHER, BELLE, SMOKE, SAM, and CROSS: Think in terms of DIE HARD villains mixed with Private Military Contractors. They’re after data about something called “Legion”. Like the Rabbit’s Foot in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, we learn little about it what Legion actually is…but people will do anything to get it, and the government is mortified it’ll fall into the wrong hands. Like K.I.T.T., Legion is a Charles Kamen project.

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  • 2 weeks later...
"All My Children" hunk Justin Bruening is set as the lead in NBC's two-hour backdoor pilot "Knight Rider," a "Transformers"-inspired sequel to the 1980s series, which is slated to air as a movie later in the season.

Bruening will play the son of Michael Knight, the character played by David Hasselhoff in the original series.

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  • 3 weeks later...
New Knight Rider Gets Hoffed

Josh Grossberg

Los Angeles (E! Online) - The Hoff is ready to roll.

David Hasselhoff is in talks to reprise his role as Michael Knight in a TV movie sequel to his breakout 1980s hit series, Knight Rider, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

NBC is hoping the TV movie will reboot the franchise and launch a new series. This time out, however, Hasselhoff will cede the KITT-driving to Justin Bruening, who will play Michael Knight's son.

Per the Reporter, the so-called "backdoor pilot" will find Junior holed up in Vegas, where he's in big trouble for unpaid gambling debts and is bitter about his unrequited love for childhood best friend Sarah Kamen.

His luck changes, however, when Sarah (The Young & the Restless actress Deanna Russo), turns up and offers him a way out of his mess.

Little does the younger Knight know that Sarah is the daughter of KITT inventor Charles Kamen, who has gone missing. It's up to Knight to rescue him.

No word yet exactly how big a part the Hoff will have this time around or whether he'll be a regular should a new series get greenlighted.

Producers are also tight-lipped about what kind of vehicle the new KITT will be. The original talking Trans Am was known as Knight Industries Two Thousand. For the new version, the car will be updated to the Knight Industries Three Thousand. Early reports suggested the vehicle would have Transformers-like abilities and indicated producers were still seeking an auto manufacture to partner with.

The Knight Rider telepic is being produced by filmmaker Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), who may direct the pilot if he can squeeze it into his schedule.

Hasselhoff's last ride with KITT was in the 1991 telepic Knight Rider 2000, and over the years he's made no secret about his desire to rev up a big-screen version. But with the feature film Knight Rider stalled in development, NBC decided to proceed with a new TV incarnaiton.

Meanwhile, Hasselhoff is currently gearing up to star in Tales from the Hoff, a Ryan Seacrest-produced scripted series for E! that will follow his fictionalized escapades, à la Curb Your Enthusiasm. (E! Online is a division of E! Networks.) He's also got a steady gig as a judge on the Peacock's hit reality contest America's Got Talent.

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  • 2 weeks later...
"Knight Rider" -- NBC's iconic 1980s television classic that became a runaway success -- comes roaring back to life on the network with an updated sequel that will air as a two-hour movie event on Sunday, February 17 (9-11 p.m. ET). NBC unveiled the new customized KITT Ford Mustang to be featured in the series in a press event held at NBC's Burbank Studios today.

The movie stars Justin Bruening ("Cold Case," "All My Children"), Deanna Russo ("NCIS," "The Young and the Restless"), Sydney Tamiia Poitier ("Veronica Mars," Grindhouse) and Bruce Davison (Breach, "Close to Home"). In addition, David Hasselhoff (NBC's "America's Got Talent") -- who starred in the popular lead role as Michael Knight for four seasons during the original series -- returns as the same character in a special guest-star appearance. Will Arnett (NBC's "30 Rock," Blades of Glory) will provide the voice of KITT.

Dave Bartis ("Heist," "The O.C.") and Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Identity) serve as executive producers. NBC also has an arrangement with Ford Motor Company that provides for a unique content opportunity that makes the Ford Mustang one of the stars of the movie.

The three cars to be employed in the series include the KITT Hero -- a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR that is playing the part of the everyday Hero car with 540 horsepower; the KITT Attack -- a super high-speed version of the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR Hero car that transforms into Attack mode with the help of air-ride technology and specialized body parts -- and a KITT Remote, which is a driverless Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR version of the Hero vehicle.

As the original story resumes, the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) is absolutely the coolest car ever created: its supercomputer capable of hacking almost any system; its weapons systems efficient; and its body -- thanks to its creator's work and nanotechnology -- is capable of actually shifting shape and color. Plus, its artificial intelligence makes it the ideal crime-fighting partner: logical, precise and possessing infinite knowledge. It is the ultimate car -- and someone will be willing to do anything to obtain it.

Sarah Graiman is a 24-year old Ph.D candidate at Stanford University, following in her genius father Charles' (Davison) footsteps. But when men attempt to abduct her, Sarah receives a mysterious call from KITT warning her that he's a creation of Charles, who also invented the first KITT 25 years ago -- and that her father is in serious danger.

Sarah and KITT track down her best friend from childhood, Mike Tracer (Bruening), a 23-year-old ex-Army Ranger, whom Sarah hasn't seen since he left home at 18. Having served in Iraq, Mike is now jaded and lost and initially resistant. Eventually he agrees to help Sarah and the two set out to discover who's behind the attempt to procure KITT and find Charles. Along the way, Carrie Rivai (Poitier) plays the agile yet tough FBI agent who has a long-standing friendship with Charles and Sarah. Due to those ties, she is brought into the mix to help in the search.

David Andron is supervising producer and writer. Steve Shill ("Dexter," "The Tudors"), also a co-executive producer, directs the two-hour movie from Universal Media Studios and Dutch Oven Productions.

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They changed the voice of K.I.T.T. to Val Kilmer. The reason:

“However, because of a long relationship with General Motors as the voice of GMC Trucks, I had to respectfully withdraw from the project.”

GM got pissed at Arnett for doing the voice of a Ford.


That sucks on a couple of levels.

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