You might say talking cars teamed with crime-fighting vigilantes is so 1980s. Yet, once again, a production company is spending money to try and resurrect the franchise.
Machinima has pulled in Star Trek: Beyond and Fast and Furious franchise director Justin Lin to create a new version of the one-time 1980s hit Knight Rider. It will come almost a decade after NBC, which still holds the rights to the Glen A. Larson-created property, tried to wow new audiences with Justin Bruening and a Val Kilmer-voiced Ford Mustang.
That series, from Justified executive producer Dave Andron, lasted just one season.
That hasn’t discouraged Chad Gutstein, the chief executive of Machinima, who told Variety he has the right combination of talent and character to make this particular Knight Rider happen.
“Knight Rider is an iconic franchise whose concepts of AI and autonomous vehicles were science-fiction in the 1980s, and are now science fact. Justin is one of the leading storytellers of his generation, and we couldn’t be more excited to work with him on reinvigorating Knight Rider for a new generation of fans.”
Machinima is a YouTube network founded in 2000 got its start primarily by creating videos directly related to its name – animation through the use of video game engines. It now offers a variety of products, including original series and online distribution.
The company is not discouraged by Knight Rider’s past failures, however. The most recent one before the NBC series was the syndicated series Team Knight Rider in 1997 which starred a bunch of people you’ve never heard of before. Like the later version, it too lasted just one season.
The 1980s version, starring David Hasselhoff, was an early hit for NBC. Larson, who also created Battlestar Galactica, put the series together for Universal long before the network and studio were part of one company.
Hasselhoff’s Michael Knight was a cop who was shot in the face and given plastic surgery to become Hasselhoff. Billionaire Wilton Knight gave Hasselhoff’s character an indestructible, high-tech Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am known as KITT, which talked thanks to actor William Daniels.
That series would last four seasons, and get later attempts of revival through television movies like Knight Rider 2000 in 1991 and Knight Rider 2010 in 1994.
Machinima has partnered with NBC Universal and Lin’s production company YOMYOMF to develop the series, with the hopes of having it on the air sometime next year.
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