Knight Rider: NBC Reduces Episode Order, Essentially Cancelled?

Knight RiderThough NBC kept touting that the revival of Knight Rider was a success, the ratings have told a different story. Just about everyone in the industry was shocked when the network gave the Justin Bruening series an order for the back nine episodes. Now, to little surprise, NBC is pulling the plug.

Knight Rider debuted on September 24th, as a follow-up to the TV movie that aired last February. The new TV show takes place 25 years after the original exploits of Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) and his high-tech, four-wheeled partner KITT (voiced by William Daniels). Mike Traceur (Bruening) is the son of Knight and the driver of the newest KITT (voiced by Val Kilmer). The car was built by Charles Graiman (Bruce Davison), the father of Mike’s former girlfriend, Sarah (Deanna Russo). As in the original series, Mike and KITT work together to thwart evil and save the innocent. The rest of the cast includes Paul Campbell, Yancey Arias, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, and Smith Cho.

A few revivals of Rider have been attempted over the years but none have been a success. The newest version is, unfortunately, no exception. The premiere episode debuted to just 7.35 million viewers and a 2.5/7 rating/share in the 18-49 demographic. The audience for Rider’s second episode grew to 7.77 million while the demo remained essentially flat at 2.4/7. The following three episodes averaged about 7.2 million but the demo began slowly dropping with each new installment.

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Likely due to the state of the rest of NBC’s sagging schedule, the network decided to stick with Rider and gave the series a greenlight for nine more episodes. This would bring the order to a full 22 installments for the season. Soonafter, the ratings took a serious hit in the November sweeps period.

After a week off, Rider’s audience sank to just 5.12 million and a terrible 1.6/4 in the demographic. The ratings weren’t much better for the rest of the month.

A few days after the first November ratings dip, showrunner Gary Scott Thompson announced that the show was going through a retooling. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “We’re moving away from the terrorist-of-the-week formula and closer to the original, making it a show about a man and his car going out and helping more regular people, everymen.”

As a part of this effort, three castmembers were let go — Poitier, Arias and Davison. Thompson maintained that this move had nothing to do with their performances. The decision likely had more to do with an effort to cut costs and make the bottom line more attractive to the network.

It seems the network hasn’t been sufficiently impressed by what they’ve seen and execs have cut the episode order back to 17 installments. The cast and crew are currently working on their 17th episode, written and directed by Thompson. They’re expected to wrap some time next week.

That episode, now the Rider season finale, is scheduled to air on February 25, 2009. The five remaining scripts will be utilized on the off chance that the series is renewed for a second season. Unless the ratings seriously improve, there’s no way that that will happen. Not even Mike and KITT will be able to save the day. Stay tuned! TV Series Finale home page

Canceled and renewed TV show

215 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Jonalyn says

    Knight Rider is a great movie series, I dont know Why some guys call it boring, Im from Philippines when I was just 15 years old my father let me watch this movie and I love it, even now, I still watch it over and over again, Im a greatfan of this movie, im just hoping someday they will decide to make a season 2 im sure this time it would get a high rating, #WeWantKRback.

  2. says

    I’m still watching Knight rider 2008 at the time of this post but they just needed to distribute the movie out more in other countries. I’m in Australia and I remember seeing the first episode, but when i would search for it I would only find the original knight rider until I found out the year it was made and that’s 6 years after it was made. I only stumbled on the movie that night because i changed the Chanel then when I went back the next week it was gone :(

  3. heshan006 says

    The series was frustrating!!!!I was excited to watch first but as it went on it became alot stupid..for example KITT would have some new weapon one day and next day a perfect chance comes up to use i but no its not even mentioned…..And how many times Michael would let the bad guy get away so he can chase in his car instead of firing a emp or parking infront to block for starters!!!The neutralizer darts was only used once…And thea 3D object generator was kind of too much!!!I mean fine make a key but It shouldn’t look like the original you know…In one episode the bad guys got away and ditched their car and these geniuses wouldn’t check the security cams,traffic cams to get an idea instead they use some high level algo….and in the last episode i think they use background noise from a call to identify the bad guy’s location instead of just tracking his phone.In the same epi at he end Michael hands over the Serums to the other guy and fires the sonic wave then just waits till the bad guy’s GF picks up the gun and take a hostage…Use the Neutralizers in the car or just don’t get out at all…these are just some points on top of my head…..All in all the series was really stupid….acting was good enough for me…but there were some really stupid moves in every episode…It became more and more stupid as they kept on adding gadgets to KITT to make it look good but instead it made the whole story stupid….

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