It’s Not Easy Doing a Show About a Talking Car That Fights Crime

Gary Scott Thompson, showrunner of the rebooted KNIGHT RIDER, talked to MediaWeek about the hard road the show has traveled. The biggest problem has been NBC's tinkering with the concept and the abrupt decision, based on plummeting ratings, to cut back the number of episodes ordered and to  make the show more like the David Hasselhoff original than a Galactica-esque " reimagining."


(Thanks to TV Squad for the link)

8 thoughts on “It’s Not Easy Doing a Show About a Talking Car That Fights Crime”

  1. Hello,
    My name is Sarah, and this email really isn’t about brain eating zombies. Unless you want it to be. I could make it about brain eating zombies, but I don’t really know a whole lot about them, so it might be kind of unrealistic.
    Okay, so I just discovered your blog, and I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying reading your posts. I especially enjoyed the emails that you receive from the crazy people who write about script ideas for NCIS.
    Although my writing repertoire looks a bit different than yours, I am interested in your craft. I am a short story writer (with three degrees: BA, MA, MLIS and seven short story publications, currently). However, I am also required to write a dissertation for my PhD in creative writing. Normally, this would be a book, but I am in the process of exploring other options, such as a script.
    I am encouraged by your blog, and I am thoroughly intimidated about expanding my narrative arc from 15-20 pages to 150-200 pages. My mind likes thinking in short story terms. Also, I know how short story publishing works and how to be successful in that arena. And, it’s a bit difficult to find information about writing a non-genre script. I have discovered that most resources are for those who want a “one-shot wonder” and an agent with a bottle of champaign. I had genre beat out of me on the first day of graduate school and the thought of an agent makes me pee my pants. I guess that is something I will worry about more as my dissertation continues to grow.
    Thanks for reading.
    Happy writing,
    Sarah Joy Freese

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  2. The announced demise of this show is a symptom of a much larger crisis and maybe we should prepare to face the idea that weekly series on networks will rejoin sitcoms and saturday morning cartoons in our memories.
    More, is there room today for “easy watching” light popular shows like those done by Cannell, Quinn Martin or Spelling? Not sure, see how they tried to bring back from the dead the “Supersoap” genre in the nineties, or even these last two or three years.
    Could a producer sell a Switch or an A Team now? (not talking about a remake, I mean similar shows) I guess the decision makers would call security guards. But you’re an expert, you know these subjects better than me…

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  3. I don’t think you can make generalizations about the future of the industry on the basis of KNIGHT RIDER. The biggest problem KNIGHT RIDER has is that it’s a lousy show and people don’t want to watch it.
    I see that next week there’s a bomb in the car that will explode if they don’t keep driving at 100 miles per hour. When KNIGHT RIDER has to resort to a blatant rip-off of SPEED, you know the writers are truly desperate.
    Lee

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  4. Just like new “retro” cars, tv shows that are old looks with new parts underneath speak only to the small number of people who are nostalgic over the original. While being the correct executive-level age, these people are not the appropriate target age of the actual product. Consequently, after the initial nostalgic “wow” factor quickly wears off, the world finds out that the appropriate age target has no interest in spending time/money on it, because the product was developed not for their age bracket, but for their age bracket twenty, thirty or forty years ago. And all those older nostalgic folks who said they loved it when it was announced? They don’t spend time/money, because they are no longer in a position to where it really makes sense for their current life. (If it was designed for 16-25 year-olds, it’s not going to be a winner with married-with-children 40-somethings!)
    The bottom line: executives in all industries need to stop stroking their own nostalgia and start making NEW age-appropriate products and services for the new readers/watchers/consumers…otherwise, they’ll simply keep going to the markets for products and entertainment (like Japan) that look to create new trends.
    Wow, did I just rant?

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  5. “When KNIGHT RIDER has to resort to a blatant rip-off of SPEED, you know the writers are truly desperate.”
    Once you’ve remade an 80s TV show about “a talking car that fights crime,” you’re already on the road to hell. Might as well put the pedal to the metal.

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  6. I agree with Lee on this; “Knight Rider” is a pretty lousy show, and not how to base the industry’s future. In reality, USA Network shows you can still do a relatively light show (“Monk,” “Psych”) and draw viewers. TNT’s doing its own version (“Leverage”) and seems to be doing well (I haven’t seen the ratings on it, but Rogers & Co. are producing a fun hour every week).
    Consider the dual success of “NCIS” and “The Mentalist”; neither show is exactly probing the dark heart of the American psyche, and each show serves up a perfectly serviceable plot with character-based humor and enough action to obviously keep viewers tuning in every week.
    Do we want another “A-Team” or “Switch”? I think what we’re seeing (at least on network TV; cable seems to be more concerned with less procedural programming) is a return almost to the Quinn Martin/early Stephen Cannell model, with strong central characters and week-to-week stories, with maybe a weaker underlying central arc, though certainly nothing akin to what Abrams does in his shows, or even what Whedon did each season on “Buffy.”

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