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The Wayback Machine: Knight Rider (1982)

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Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
created 04/15/2014 - 3:12pm, updated 04/15/2014 - 6:56pm

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I saw a commercial or something the other day, using the theme music from Knight Rider, a cool NBC property I always loved and had almost forgotten about. Yeah, I know, not like me at all.

Knight Rider was a TV series that originally ran from September 26, 1982, to August 8, 1986. The series starred David Hasselhoff (Young and the Restless) as Michael Knight, a high-tech modern crime fighter assisted by an advanced AI in a nearly indestructible car.

So let’s dial up the ol' Wayback Machine to 1982 and away we goooooo

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 a western,” Larson said in The Last Great Ride.

Self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police detective Michael Arthur 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 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 (Really?) Firebird Trans-Am with numerous features including an extremely durable shell and frame. 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).

The car used as KITT in the series was a customized 1982 Trans-Am sports model that cost $100,000 to build.

In March 2002, Revolution Studios announced a partnership with Mayhem Pictures to create a movie based on the TV series. The film would be re-designed to be similar to Revolution's previous project, xXx. Series creator Larson was hired to write the first script draft,  with the series' lead actor 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, now the mentor to the protagonist as Devon Miles mentored Knight in the TV series. The protagonist would be Knight's son, inheriting his father's role and driving the vehicle KITT. The producers' choice for the role was actor Ben Affleck (Batman, Daredevil). The series' voice of KITT, William Daniels (1776), was being sought by Hasselhoff to reprise his role, as well as Peter Cullen for the voice of KARR.

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 the film was in development at Miramax and that he would at least have a cameo in the film.

In September 2007, 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 Weinstein to bring Knight Rider to the big screen as an updated take on the original series pilot, “Knight of the Phoenix.” (No word as to who would portray Jean Grey, lol!) Larson's motion picture plans have no connection to the 2008 TV series by NBC.

On June 26, 2013, Brad Copeland reportedly wrote the film's script after beating out Travis Beacham, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

On February 13, 2014, Schmoes Know reports that actors Chris Pratt and Danny McBride are in talks for roles and may use a sort of action-comedy hybrid in the same vein as 21 Jump Street.

Knight Rider as Jump Street? Nah.

 

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