It’s no surprise that Gary Scott Thompson, the guy behind The Fast and the Furious, is the showrunner for NBC’s upcoming reboot of Knight Rider. And it’s a good thing, too, because the man had nothing to do with the two-hour TV movie/backdoor pilot that aired on NBC in February — you know, the one that prompted little or no excitement from those who loved the original 1982 series starring David Hasselhoff.
After a five-minute featurette of the new version was shown to hordes of fans–and after all of the cast and crew finally made it to the show’s Comic-Con panel following traffic woes–the questions started coming in, well, fast and furious. Most of the audience members grew up with Hasselhoff and KITTduring the ’80s–and they’re a rabid bunch. The most important detailto them? That KITT have a turbo boost that makes the car jump. One faneven demanded that Thompson go on record and promise that he’d make ithappen. Thompson said he would, adding that the show’s producers havean impressive amount of technology at their fingertips. After all, in2008, we’re all comfortable with having our cars tells us what todo–but KITT is a “super GPS,” so advanced that he even analyzes his owner’srelationship with Sarah (Deanna Russo). “Are you a homosexual?” KITTasks his human, Mike Tracer (played by Justin Bruening, pictured).
Bruening himself acknowledged the series will be a departure fromthe backdoor pilot, noting “the biggest change is clearly a visualone…one that’s more cleaned up compared to the pilot.” Thompson addedthat he felt the “man has to have a team behind him, so that the manand the car work, so that it’s just not a guy and a car.” That seemscode for giving the main character more of a mythology and having himreconcile his past with his present.
Another fan asked whether there would be any crossover between Las Vegas and Knight Rider. Thompson, who produced the former series as well, said there wasn’t much room for crossover given the former is no longer on the air, and then proceeded to apologize to fans of Vegasfor the way the show ended. “Molly [Sims] and Josh [Duhamel] haveactually spoken to me about does something…It was a little unjust toleave one [character] about to give birth or have something horriblehappen. Someone’s approached me about possibly doing a two-hour movieto wrap it up, someone has approached me to do a book, or we might doan internet piece. What I don’t want to do is piss off fans of twoshows at the same time, which would be unfair. To all the Las Vegasfans out there, I apologize that it was left like that. It was neverour intention. The strike kind of did us in, and you know, at somepoint you will get a resolution. I’m just not sure how best to do itnow. Josh Duhamel is a bona fide movie star, and his time is prettyprecious–but the cast is willing to do something. [NBC’s] Ben[Silverman] doesn’t want anyone to send anymore socks or baby booties.They sent thousands and thousands of baby booties–by the crateload–tohis office and he begged me many times to make them stop. I was like,’Dude, I didn’t cancel it, it was you.”
Also of note at the panel: it was revealed that Hasselhoff, who maycome back at some point for a cameo, enjoys breaking into song anddance in between takes, and one of the original KITTs is housed in JoeyFatone’s garage. Um, random.
Knight Rider is set to air Wednesdays at 8 p.m. this fall on NBC.