Knight Rider is an American television series that originally ran from September 26, 1982, to August 8, 1986. The series was broadcast on NBC and starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a high-tech modern-day knight fighting crime with the help of an advanced, artificially intelligent and nearly-indestructible car. Conceived and produced by Glen A. Larson, the show was an instant hit. "I wanted to do The Lone Ranger with a car", and "Kind of a sci-fi thing, with the soul of awestern", Larson said in The Last Great Ride. In 2003, in research conducted by web-portal Yahoo! amongst 1,000 television viewers, this show and other popular televisions series from the 1980s such as The Dukes of Hazzard were beaten out by The A-Team as the one "oldie" television show viewers would most like to see revived.
Spinoffs and sequels:
The two-part episode "Mouth of the Snake" served as a backdoor pilot for a 1984 series to be called All That Glitters. Rejected by NBC, the lead character and actor were recycled for a short-lived 1985-1986 series titled Code of Vengeance, revolving around Charles Taylor as Vietnam veteran David Dalton. The Knight Rider episode featured Dalton exhibiting great gymnastics, not unlike The Six Million Dollar Man sans bionics, but when Code of Vengeance aired, Dalton was an ordinary-skilled drifter. It soon fell off the schedules after only two two-hour movies and two one-hour episodes.
In 1997, Team Knight Rider was introduced as a spinoff. Set sometime in the near future, the show featured a fleet of intelligent vehicles. Michael Knight returned at the end of the final episode of the first season, though he was not played by David Hasselhoff. This was a cliffhanger intended to be explained in the next season. However, the show did not catch on and the second season was not commissioned. Team Knight Rider ran for 22 episodes.
On September 26, 2007, NBC announced that it was creating a two-hour backdoor pilot to air later that season. In the new version, Justin Bruening stars as the estranged son of Michael Knight, Mike Traceur.Deanna Russo plays Traceur's one-time girlfriend and love interest, Sarah Graiman. Bruce Davison co-stars as her father, physicist Charles Graiman, the original designer of KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand). Wayne Kasserman co-stars as Mike's roommate and friend. David Hasselhoff also has a cameo as Michael Knight. KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) is portrayed as a Ford Shelby GT 500 KR Mustang.
Supervising producer Dave Andron wrote the pilot script, Doug Liman and Dave Bartis executive produced it. NBC announced on December 13, 2007 that the 2-hour pilot would air on February 17, 2008. Val Kilmerrecorded the voice for the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) Mustang, after Will Arnett, who initially won the role, was asked to withdraw by General Motors due to his prior advertising agreements with them. Sydney Tamiia Poitier, the youngest daughter of Sidney Poitier, played FBI agent Carrie Rivai.
After receiving good ratings, NBC announced that Knight Rider would return as a weekly series beginning in the fall of 2008. The show aired Wednesdays at 8:00pm/7:00pm CT. The series premiered September 24, 2008 on NBC. In November 2008, NBC announced that the series had been picked up for a complete 22-episode season but that several cast members would be leaving and the story lines revamped after the original 13-episode order. On May 19, 2009, NBC announced that Knight Rider was canceled after one season because of poor ratings.
In March 2002, Revolution Studios announced a partnership with Mayhem Pictures to create a film adaptation of the TV series. The film would be re-designed to be similar to Revolution's previous project, xXx. Series creator Glen A. Larson was hired to write the first script draft, with the series' lead actor David Hasselhoff attached to advise the project and also have an onscreen role. In April 2003, Revolution Studios hired screenwriters David Elliott and Paul Lovett to pen the film's script.
In April 2004, the premise of the film was described as having Hasselhoff reprise his role as Michael Knight, though he would be an elder statesman who would serve as a mentor to the protagonist in the same way that Devon Miles mentored Knight in the TV series. The protagonist would be Knight's son, inheriting the family business and driving the vehicle KITT. The producers' choice for the role was actor Ben Affleck. The series' voice of KITT, William Daniels, was being sought by Hasselhoff to reprise his role.
In May 2006, The Weinstein Company acquired film rights to adapt Knight Rider from series creator Larson. He expressed his interest in the film adaptation as a potential franchise property. The following September, Hasselhoff invited actor Orlando Bloom to portray Knight's son in the film adaptation, but Bloom turned down the offer. In April 2007, Hasselhoff said that the film was in development at Miramax, and that he would at least have a cameo in the film.
In September 2007, Glen A. Larson appeared in a personal video for Knightcon 07 in the UK. This marked Larson's first public video appearance in which he addressed the fans directly and presented visual confirmation of a script for a proposed Knight Rider motion picture. Since this initial appearance, plans have been underway at The Weinstein Company to bring Knight Rider to the big screen as an updated take on the original series pilot, "Knight of the Phoenix". Larson's motion picture plans have no connection to the 2008 TV series by NBC.
Plot 1982 Series:
Self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police detective Michael Long after a near fatal shot to the face, giving him a new identity (via plastic surgery) and a new name: Michael Knight. Wilton selects Michael to be the primary field agent in the pilot program of his Knight Industries-funded public justice organization, the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG).
The other half of this pilot program is the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT), a heavily modified Pontiac Trans Amwith numerous features including an extremely durable shell and frame, controlled by a computer with artificial intelligence. Michael and KITT are brought in during situations where "direct action might provide the only feasible solution".
Heading FLAG is Devon Miles, who provides Michael with directives and guidance. Dr. Bonnie Barstow is the chief engineer in charge of KITT's care, as well as technical assistant to Devon (April Curtis fills this role in Season 2).