The Hollywood Reporter has broken the story that Knight Rider will be undergoing big changes leading into the ‘back-nine’ episodes that were recently ordered by NBC.
“It’s a reboot,” says Gary Scott Thompson. “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.” This will, of course, make the show feel much more like the Original Series, but also a better fit into the network’s newly rebranded crime drama Wednesday lineup alongside Life and Law & Order.
The biggest change involves the fact that three regulars on the show will not be returning: Sydney Tamiia Poitier (Carrie Rivai), Yancey Arias (Alex Torres) and Bruce Davison (Dr. Charles Graiman). There are no immediate plans to add new regulars to the show, which will now focus on the five remaining characters: Mike (Justin Bruening), Sarah (Deanna Russo), Billy (Paul Campbell), Zoe (Smith Cho) and K.I.T.T. (voiced by Val Kilmer). The producers also are looking to do stunt guest castings.
Thompson stressed that the decision to let the co-stars go was a difficult one tied to the show’s change in direction and had nothing to do with the actors.
The revamps will kick off with the two-part episode Don’t Stop the Knight, which filmed last month. According to Reporter, “NBC is planning a major push, including possibly airing on Sunday after an NFL football game in January, with the conclusion airing the following Wednesday. Such a move would bring Knight back to Sunday night, where the two-hour movie/backdoor pilot drew big ratings in February.”