Things are changing on the set of Knight Rider with today’s announcement that nearly half of the main cast will be leaving the show after the first 13 episodes. Knight Rider is making a dramatic course correction by dumping Yancey Arias, Bruce Davison and Sydney Tamiia Poitier and severely changing the basic structure of the show.
Instead of working for the government and dealing with national security issues, Michael Knight (Justin Bruening) will now be working on his own, helping out ordinary people with their personal problems. The format brings the show closer to the original Knight Rider series.
The move is a smart one for a show with middling ratings that NBC has already picked up for a full season. By cutting nearly half the cast, the show will be saving a lot of money, making it more likely that NVC will keep it around.
The new reboot will focus on Michael and his ex-girlfriend Sarah (Deanna Russo) traveling the country helping regular people, with the help of KITT and the two tech nerds Billy (Paul Campbell) and Zoe (Smith Cho).
The separation from the government-affiliated agency will begin in a two-part storyline that will air in January. To boost ratings, NBC will air the first part on Sunday following football. After the initial 13 episodes run out, Arias, Poitier and Davison will no longer be a part of the show and Knight Rider will return to its roots.
While many critics have been particularly cruel to Knight Rider, the show has averaged 7 million viewers, which is great compared to the network’s other two new dramas, My Own Worst Enemy and Crusoe. This big change could be just what the show needs to turn on the turbo boosters and become a long-running fun action drama, much like showrunner Gary Scott Thompson’s previous show, Las Vegas.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)