THR noticed something interesting in today's NBC, mid-season We're Canceling Everything New and Supersizing Anything Else That Isn't Nailed Down press release: The Knight Rider season finale was listed as airing on February 25th. Since when do super-duper, Ben Silverman-championed, beloved 1980s trash-TV remakes supposedly given full pickups end their seasons in winter, you ask?
Barack Obama purchased a full half-hour of airtime on CBS and NBC. His very special infomercial is set to air Wednesday, October 29. John McCain probably can't afford to do this! It's also not unprecedented: Ross Perot did it, and it was hilarious and awesome. Also they used to do it all the time in the 1960s. But jeez, a half-hour is a long time! We hope he has a musical guest or something? Here is the best part of this news: "The buy will push CBS comedy 'The New Adventures of Old Christine' to 8:30 p.m. and pre-empt 'Gary Unmarried.' NBC typically airs the hourlong 'Knight Rider' in the slot, and will likely throw in a comedy repeat at 8:30 p.m." Thank you Senator Obama for preempting Gary Unmarried! Change you can believe in! In response, Senator McCain is going to co-host an infomercial for the Flavor Wave Over Turbo, which will air at 5 a.m. the following morning on Lifetime.
Vacancy: Just days after the creators of Do Not Disturb sent out a letter to TV critics apologizing for “being the perpetrators of such bad television,” their show has become the fall season's first cancellation. According to EW's Michael Ausiello, the Jerry O'Connell sitcom (which aired only three episodes) will be replaced by reruns of 'Til Death. Elsewhere on the dial, Ben Silverman pet project Knight Rider premiered third in its time slot despite having the highest viewer awareness of any new NBC show. Perhaps audiences realized that KITT is kind of a bitch? [EW]
America, let's face it: KITT from Knight Rider is kind of a bitch. Though he's a car designed for adventuring, KITT is also a big scold, always crying, "Do this!" "Do that!" "Miiiichael, the risk factor is too high!" It remains to be seen whether the Val Kilmer-voiced vehicle in tonight's Knight Rider reboot will prove less neurotic over time, but until then, we thought we'd take a trip down memory lane and give props to the "smart" cars we'd prefer to take a ride in. With the help of Molly McAleer, we've created this loving tribute to five of the best onscreen autos to ever rev their engines. Sorry, Herbie — better luck next time? [NBC]
What's the best way to get people who don't watch TV to start watching it? For starters, advertising TV shows somewhere other than on TV. Give NBC this much credit: The network, which has seen better days in the ratings, hopes to attract viewers by releasing fall season premieres on Hulu a week ahead of their television air date.Networks have been experimenting with early releases online for some time now as a way to counteract modern viewing habits such as skipping past all the network promos with a TiVo. But just a couple of weeks ago, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker was telling us all that by not airing Olympic events live or letting viewers watch them online, the network was creating "excitement" via "word of mouth" by withholding the opening ceremonies. Then again, the opening ceremonies in Beijing were actually interesting. The third-place network is correctly guessing that there's no way anybody is going to be eagerly anticipating the new season of Knight Rider — which is going to need all the help it can get.
· Knight Rider gets a new showrunner to champion the cause of the cynical, the bottom-line watching and the ruthless, Las Vegas creator Gary Scott Thompson. He's hiring right now, so dust off your best car puns. [THR]
· The Sundance Channel announces new music-variety series Spectacle: Elvis Costello with..., executive produced by Elton John. We anticipate every interview to end with Costello wishing he could stop his guests from talking when he hears the stupid things that they say. [Variety]
In an unexpected development sure to rock the sentient-sportscar-voiceover world, Variety reports NBC has announced that it's had to make an 11th hour substitution in its casting of KITT for the network's soon-to-debut Knight Rider movie, rushing last-minute savior Val Kilmer (Val Kilmer!) into the studio to redo all of the dialogue already recorded by outgoing Mustang-inhabitor Will Arnett.
Even though she's far too young to have experienced the early-1980s TV adventures of fashionably hirsute, Members Only-sponsored freedom fighter David Hasselhoff and his wisecracking—-but fiercely loyal!—Trans Am during Knight Rider's original, blockbuster run, we still dispatched Defamer videographer Molly McAleer to NBC's Burbank headquarters for today's event announcing the February premiere of the two-hour Rider movie they hope will relaunch the franchise into another series, figuring that she's squarely in the demographic their newfangled primetime product is targeting.
When NBC's Ben "The Perfect Storm" Silverman appeared on Michael Eisner's talk show last week to serve notice to his network rivals that his resurgent Peacock would soon be feasting on their rotting, Nielsen-dead entrails, the full extent of his programming vision was not yet clear. But since then, Silverman has made two stunning moves that demonstrate he's utterly unafraid to strip-mine the past if that ensures a better-rated future: the revival of Knight Rider, and, according to TV Week, the appointment of '80s wrestling icon and recently recycled VH1 celebreality star Hulk Hogan to American Gladiators hosting duty:
Proving once again that his finger is firmly on the pulse of what is hot in other countries, in the decades before his network slid into fourth place, or at the multiplex three months ago, NBC's perfect TV executive storm Ben Silverman has made yet another bold programming move that should shame his overly cautious, Idol-dependent, Cavemen-greenlighting rivals: according to Variety, his Peacock is bringing back Knight Rider, preparing a two-hour backdoor pilot that will reintroduce audiences to an updated series about the love between a man and his sassy, wisecracking supercar.
Not too long after they announced their reimagining of Welcome Back Kotter as a starring vehicle for Ice Cube, the Weinstein Company once again declares its intention to plunder the beloved televised entertainments of our youth with today's news that it will give Hasselhoffian masterwork Knight Rider a deeply unnecessary update. Reports THR: