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. Kavish says

    Bring back the KITT!
    The series is simply awesome, everyone , old and young enjoy it.
    It is about potential. Possibility. Future perhaps.
    It is not bull **** which continues to crowd the silver screen.
    Give it a fair go! Bring our Knight back to-day!
    NBC , you can do better than that then pull the plug, it had been
    a world favorite over generations. Keep in mind the world is watching
    your shows, not only USA, so perhaps
    include all in your polls and then see the true ratings!

  2. Anonymous says

    Bring on season 2. I was never really a big fan of the old show but I would watch every once and a while, but it was great to see the new twist and technologies in the new rider, which has turned me into a dedicated Knight Rider fan. After all of the stupid reality shows and junk they put on tv now, it is nice to really have a show that you can just sit down and enjoy, and really look forward to watching every week, but now it’s gone. Please do us all a favor, and bring back a good thing, and leave it on.

  3. dean says

    Bring knight rider back loved the old one and loved the new one it was one of the best programs on over here in the uk PUT IT BACK ON

  4. J Parker says

    I support the call

    BRING BACK KNIGHT RIDER

    Loved the original but the latest version is the tops!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Grant says

    I only found out about the new series recently and watch all the episodes online… all I can say is that they were amazing and they were way more realistic than the original knight rider episodes (though I loved those to – back then)

    I think that NBC may have not let the series have a true chance to show its potential. If I’m only finding out about it now, I would say they did not market as well as they probably should have…. I think now that 2 years have past and knight rider fans from around the world have now found out about the series, they may have a better shot.

    NBC you should really continue this series, it really was good, especially when it switched to the old style on the last few episodes – characters were amazing and plots were great!

    Come on NBC, don’t kill something good and replace it with these boring “reality shows” lol…

  6. Tyler says

    i think they need to make new episodes of knight rider on it is plenty of people who love knight rider.
    I LOVE KNIGHT RIDER…

  7. Dave Fox says

    It wasn’t given a fair chance! I thoroughly enjoyed the show and it’s about time the US networks stopped relying so hevily on ratings and started recognising the potentials of shows like this to brighten up peoples lives. Glen Larson and this shows heritage should have earned this show a right to stay. It’s not like it was a drain on resources, Ford were pretty much footing the bills anyway. I’m sure GM or any other motor manufacturer would pay top dolar to sponser another series and gain weekly slots of 45 minute long product placement time that would ultimately prove more valuable than any commercials campaign.

  8. JamieZarr says

    Yes! Bring KNIGHT RIDER back! Here in Spain we are missing more of Knight Rider… and yes, they should move away from those “big themes” with terrorists and stuff and BRING BACK old good KITT’s personality and let us enjoy the “essence” of the show, which was more the “KITT helps the next door neighbour” kind of script than those BIG-BAG-BOOM action scenes without soul! I insist: don’t forget bringing back KITT’s personality, which, let me remind you, was old-fashioned and very responsible in one way, but also displayed a very funny “gentleman’s sense of humour” which contrasted (and worked wonders!) with Michael Knight’ nonchalant style.

  9. Chris says

    NBC are nothing but pigs they cancel all the good shows so what if it does poorly in the US how about the rest of the world they’ve also cancelled Las Vegas Prison Break and a few others im sick of NCIS Law and Order all the usual cop show they are too repetitive so **** YOU NBC

  10. Michelle says

    Bring the show back!!!! I love the 2008 show! I am in love with Kitt! I love him. But he needs to be more people friendly. Lol. Please Please Please bring it back! My husband and I both love watching it! It NEEDS TO COME BACK! It was way to interesting to not to. Well, screw you NBC, just cause it didn’t have high enough ratings doesn’t mean you have to take it off! Ugh, I’m so pissed off right now!!!!

  11. Matt says

    This sucks, I keep waiting for a second season. They want to move *away* from the terrorist-of-the-week theme? Damn, I love that though, I mean this isn’t desperate-housewives for goodness sake, it’s about a car with a mission to stop bad guys! Either way, the actors are great, and the car.. ohhhh the car.. I love this show.. it’s so funny, futuristic, and action packed! Bring it back NBC!!!

  12. Larry says

    has the new Knight Rider come back? I loved the “new” version of Knight Rider. It should be brought back. I loved the old version and new version alike. All the interesting stuff that car did. wow. Only thing is give KITT a more personable personality!!! like the old days :)

  13. says

    I love Knight Rider and it should go for a second season. My teacher Mrs. Kees told me in high school the reason it didn’t go for a second season because not a lot of people watched it but a few people in Alliance NE watched it. The person from NBC who canceled it should be fired and they’re making a movie of Knight Rider in 2012. There’s all other shows like NCIS, CSI, Law & Order, Monk, and all the others but do you see a bullet proof car that can jump over stuff and transform into other vehicles? No you don’t!! I remember watching reruns of the 80s Knight Rider when I was little and when my brother and sister were going to school and this was before I started school. You can buy Knight Rider season 1 of the 2008 series on http://www.walmart.com or http://www.amazon.com, but you can’t buy it at any store, but you can get it at http://www.walmart.com or http://www.amazon.com for $22.86. I’m pretty sure you’ll buy it so you and your family can watch and enjoy the old and new Knight Rider.

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