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

Canceled and renewed TV show

215 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Earlene says

    I’m not sure that anyone really is surprised that this show was not successful. Just about every show that has gone through a reboot or revamp has not succeeded. The few I can think of is “Mission Impossible”, “Burke’s Law”, “Fantasy Island”, “The Love Boat”, and the recently demised “Charlie’s Angels”. I’m just happy that now they are finally releasing season 5 of “Charlie’s Angels” on DVD this fall. Anyway, now there is talk about rebooting The Brady Bunch. Haven’t they already tried that? Back in the late 1980’s after the success of the movie: “A Very Brady Christmas” someone thought that it was brilliant to bring The Bradys back but of course all grown up and full of every day issues. It didn’t work. Nobody wanted to see them that way. No one wants “real life issues” on tv. Isn’t that something that has to be dealt with everyday? After all “The Brady Bunch” was “famous” for solving any and all issues in just a half of an hour. Everyone was always so happy. And what about the laugh track! Oh come on! I happened to have enjoyed “The Bradys”. I thought it was done rather intelligently and showed real issues of the day without being over the top and preachy. And to pull the plug on “The New Knight Rider” was not cool, either. It just goes on to show that television as we remembered is gone, done, through and finished. No wonder old shows sell like crazy on DVD. No one wants the nonsense that is put out today, in the name of entertainment.

  2. Jorge says

    Why NBC? Since 2009 this show had tons of re-runs in Europe, it wasn`t bad, just needed more action and less “ford” advertising.

  3. Anonymous says

    Knight rider is so good!!!! You people have revive the series. Justin Brueing and Deanna Russo have amazing chemistry. The story is exciting as well. It’s so interesting! Justin and Deanna Russo have to do another show together and that show has to be a rivived knight series. Why did they cancel the how? It’s not there fault there wasn’t enough advertiesment. I may be only 14 yrs old but when I see a good show I keep watching it. This show got heated up with the romance between the characters. It’s so juicy!!! Bring the show back

  4. Anonymous says

    I loved how they made KITT more “human” and with a personality. That was one of the best things with this show. Please, bring it back..

  5. Swedish Dude says

    Seriously, this was THE BEST thing I’ve seen in a long time since.. Ever! I liked the old series from the 80’s pretty much, but this new one was Awesome…! You don’t only have fans from the US you know. I remember when I first saw this around 2009 when they first was bc.ed here. I was sold. I’ve watched it several times since I first was it. We want Knight Rider back! I can’t believe why people don’t like this.. It’s so cool! Cancel some other s*it that looks the same as every other series and put the money into this instead. We want different shows and that’s what we get from Knight Rider!

  6. steve currie says

    getting rid of the new knight rider series a few years ago was a big mistake i’m an original knight rider fan i’ve watched every episode new and old and was very upset when it only ran one season i think nbc sould put it back on the air

  7. BertusK says

    I really enjoyed the show especially the new KITT, i’ve watched the first season over and over again and i just love it! BRING IT BACK! let KITT ride the road once again!

  8. cegref says

    i really love this show and it was amazing i really wish that nbc would bring it back it was very entertaining

  9. Katie says

    I love this show, BRING IT BACK. Unfortunatly I did not have DEMAND then otherwise I would have stayed with it. I do now though, I just record all my shows and watch it when I have time. I loved this show and hope it will come back soon, this will for sure be a show that I will record.

  10. Kara says

    So disappointed to find out that knight rider is discontinued:( it’s 2011 and singapore is airing it now and I LOVE the show!please bring it back!it’s like the coolest showww!!please..let’s do a petition!!

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