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.

Should the new Knight Rider be cancelled?

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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

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215 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Knightrider says

    Where did it go? This show wasn’t like the old one but you don’t kill a pony when he just starts to walk because he can’t run yet. NBC needs to bring the show back and stop putting reality shows on I’m sick of dating shows and some person telling me I need to lose weight how about you put some shows on that I can stand.

  2. Hawk says

    Don’t get me wrong. I loved the old Knight Rider. But a few things killed me on the remake.
    1> Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500. Sorry but you should have stayed with GM even if GM has turned to **** over the past few years.
    2> Transforming KITT? Come on this isn’t Transformers. This is Knight Rider. Stop trying to merge 2 genres.
    3> How short of a series it was. Except for the above problems, I thought the series was great and I loved how they would sneak in little things to give homage to the original. Like when Mike and his girlfriend went to the beach and used the names from the Original Series.

  3. says

    This is a great show (Knight Rider) and practically the whole world enjoys watching it. Do not kill the show since its the only one thats worth watching on tv and brings back warm memories

  4. veezel says

    The theme music, with its crappy alterna-metal stylings, killed it for me. And it was downhill from there. Utter dreck. So glad someone did the world a favor and took this horrendous abortion behind the proverbial barn and shot it.

  5. Dan says

    This is pathetic to kill out a show that was so different from the rest of the common reality shows that they all copy from one another. And i loved the old “Knight Rider” when i was a kid, and this brought it all back. This was a abit different and alot wanted too much of the ole.As back then there was no possible way to do what can be done now with CG.Shows and actors were gettting better within their characters, cant say i liked when they killed out the few characters but who is to say if they really died.But, we will never know such as they get rid of a show. Do us all a favor and get rid of the “real dumb shows”, these dumb lose weight shows, singing,cooking shows,dating crap. And why wouldnt the ratings got bad with Knight Rider, you would make like couple then suddenly switch it on different nights. Move a good show in place for more stupid azz reality crap, just to compete with 3 other channels with the same idea is real creative.Then make few shows stop and not inform your fans at all whats going on is a foolish way to keep a show going. Not to bright on the over all view on what they should of done in the future of the show. They could of made mess load if they made items, merchandising wise. Tell me who wouldnt of bought the car if they made one, like a 1/18th die cast model of Kitt & Karr?? Shirts,posters,coffee mugs…and so on. Anyway, tell me when our opinions made a difference… should of just made a stronger idea how they were going to handle the show then chop it up and juggle all at once.

  6. Martin says

    Come on give me a break, I watched the original Knight Rider as a boy and never missed a show. I was ecstatic when I found out that they brought back KITT(shoulda used camero instead of mustang) but have seen all of season 1 at least a dozen times and think that there isnt enough KITT fans to keep the ratings up is a joke. We have wated long enough bring us season 2 already.

  7. noneya says

    this is really depressing 2 me i would do anything to have knight rider back if everybody would like sign a pettison then we could have it back i know more then 7 million people like knight rider they prolly just didnt know it came on b4 it was to late and by the way mike and KITT always save the day including today we just need to help them a little

  8. Don Mosier says

    Im not sure how you can say this show wasnt great, the polls I see loved it. I think the show should def be brought back, really they seem to be bringing all kinds of other retro shows back. My opinion is bring it back & see where it goes.

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