KNIGHT RIDER Gets A New Paint Job

If you were one of the many Knight Rider fans disappointed with the TV movie sequel, the man behind the new series hopes you'll give his re-boost a chance.
Gary Scott Thompson, showrunner for NBC's upcoming series Knight Rider, told Sci Fi Wire's PATRICK LEE that he's revamping the original concept from February's backdoor pilot.

"I looked at the two-hour [movie] two or three times," Thompson (NBC's Las Vegas) said in a July 21 interview at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills. "And I really, seriously, read all the reviews, and I read all the online stuff, and tried to figure out exactly how you satisfy everybody."

Among the main gripes about the telemovie: a Ford Mustang instead of the classic Pontiac Trans Am as K.I.T.T., and no turbo boost.

"What was missing for me was, 'Can your car do this?'" Thompson recently told SFX Magazine. "I said to NBC, 'That's what you guys are missing and that's what you've got to do. This car has to not just change colors, this car has to transform into other vehicles. This car has to actually do things. Nanotechnology is limitless. Why would you limit what you can do when the whole world is open for you?"

So Thompson will draw on his experiences as writer for the Fast and the Furious flicks in moving the new series beyond the novelty of a talking car, which can't carry a TV show like it could in the early 80s. The action will be amped up from the lethargic telemovie, in which the main characters spent a lot of time driving from point A to point B while the audience suffered through excessive shots of the new KITT from every angle.

"It was a lot of time driving, and you can't do that with an audience today," Thompson admitted. "I mean, look, our competition is not the other shows on TV. Our competition is Xbox. Simple as that."

Another viewer complaint: February's TV movie didn't have enough of "The Hoff." That's original series star David Hasselhoff for the uninitiated.

"But, again," said Thompson, "it's 25 years later, and you have to take the next step."

The new series instead will reintroduce Justin Bruening as KITT's driver, Mike Traceur, and his support team of Deanna Russo, Bruce Davison and Sydney Tamiia Poitier (right). Joining them will be Yancey Arias, Paul Campbell and Smith Cho. Even though Hasselhoff had a cameo in the pilot as Traceur's dad, he won't be in the series.

The Hoff himself believes that this decision will doom the new show.

As the 55-year-old former Baywatch star told London's Daily Express: "It's like having Indiana Jones without Indiana Jones."

Knight Rider debuts September 24th and will air Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

[Thanks to MICHAEL HINMAN at SyFy Portal.]
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