[07/24/08 - 11:45 AM]
Live at the San Diego Comic-Con: "Knight Rider"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

Knight Rider: First Look at the New Series and Q&A with Cast and Executive Producers

The panel's description: "On the heels of NBC's hit sequel movie based on the iconic 1980s television classic, Knight Rider has been reinvented as a supercharged action series showcasing the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand). Be the first to see exclusive footage from the new series. Moderated by Television Week deputy editor/columnist Josef Adalian, who participates in a Q&A session with executive producer/showrunner Gary Scott Thompson (The Fast and The Furious, Las Vegas); executive producer David Bartis (Heist, The OC); and the cast: Justin Bruening (Cold Case), Deanna Russo (NCIS), Sydney Tamiia Poitier (Veronica Mars), Paul Campbell (Battlestar Galactica), Yancey Arias (Kingpin), Bruce Davison (X-Men) and Smith Cho (Blades of Glory). Room 6A"

11:41 AM: And we're back with our second panel of the day. The name cards say we'll be seeing Bruce Davison, Smith Cho, Yancey Arias, Paul Campbell, Syndey Tamiia Poitier, Deanna Russo, Justin Bruening, David Bartis, Gary Scott Thompson and our moderator Josef Adalian.

11:48 AM: I guess we're running late.

11:50 AM: Hey it's Joe Adalian! And only Gary and Paul - everyone else is stuck in traffic apparently. Deanna is calling Gary - we get the play by play via speakerphone.

11:52 AM: In the meantime we're going to be shown a clip of the series. I'm told it's online on NBC's site.

11:56 AM: Lots of kicking, punching, gun shooting and car chases. The crowd goes nuts when KITT transforms from a truck to a car. Anywho, it looks like we'll be proceeding without them.

11:58 AM: Gary on his vision for the show: Michael needs a team around him to plan missions and such, hence the new cast additions. Other additions include the "KITT Cave" where the team can monitor Michael's missions.

12:00 PM: Paul (of "Battlestar Galactica") fame is asked about his character, Billy Morgan. He notes he only plays nice guys named Billy in supporting roles on remakes of classic television shows.

12:02 PM: Gary says Yancy's character will be kind of a shadowy figure as his motivations aren't clear. Cho's character speaks Spanish, Hebrew, Korean and English. I'm sure you're rivetted by all this information. What is amusing is that Gary is moving to each person's chair when talking about them.

12:05 PM: Joe asks about Sydney's sexual orientation. Gary notes they haven't decided yet as the writing stuff is still working on it. He also confesses there's quite a few aspects from the two-hour movie that will change. It's a new mythology he notes.

12:06 PM: (Correction) Gary notes that we'll see the "name" Michael Knight again in the first episode. Not the Hoff.

12:08 PM: Deanna and Justin have arrived! "Sit anywhere you want," Gary jokes.

12:09 PM: Gary says the staff visited Microsoft to learn about the latest advances in AI. He adds that they are going to have KITT learn and evolve throughout the show with the reason behind it being a secret for now.

12:10 PM: Justin says that Gary has added several new layers to his character and detailed his backstory more for him. Deanna echoes his comments, noting that her character is now on sabattical from teaching. The stunt coordinator now calls her Annie Oakley cause of her aim.

12:12 PM: Paul is something of a gearhead - he details his favorite cars, all of which go over my head.

12:13 PM: Gary's dream car: the Batmobile, although he's not sure if it's the new one or the old one. "I'll take any of them. But we all know KITT can kick some Batmobile butt."

12:14 PM: Audience Q&A time. An angry fan wonders why it took so long from go to pilot to series. Gary is quick to point out he had nothing to do with the two-hour movie from February and was simply hired to turn it into a show based on that.

12:15 PM: Hey it's Bruce Davison!

12:16 PM: Someone asks about Val Kilmer being the voice of KITT. Gary again notes he had nothing to do with it - but if you like the idea he'll take credit for it though.

12:17 PM: Gary says they'll revisit Mike's time in Iraq, including an episode about one of his old war buddies returning home.

12:19 PM: Hey it's Yancy and Smith! We're only missing Sydney and David Bartis.

12:23 PM: A fan asks if we'll see any merchandising. Paul hopes he gets an action figure with a kung fu grip - and that he's anatomically correct.

12:26 PM: (Note the correction above) The Hoff may turn up towards the end of season one but only for something special. Gary adds that they've mapped out seasons one and two and apparently have scripts through episode eight done.

12:27 PM: Gary says he still hopes to wrap up "Las Vegas" in some form - either as a TV movie, a book, an internet series, something. He apologizes to the fans with how the show was axed mid-cliffhanger. Gary said Ben Silverman was overrun by baby booties from the show's fans - which they've since donated to charity.

12:31 PM: Yancy says he's worked out his character's backstory (the leader of the KITT team) for himself, but it may not match up with how the writers eventually reveal it.

12:34 PM: Yancy notes his dream car is a hybrid, with gas being the price it is. Bruce deadpans that he's leasing a Rav4 since his Subaru died last week.

12:35 PM: Smith says she was given her name because her mother wanted to give her the most common name possible so she wouldn't feel left out in America.

12:36 PM: Gary confirms the Turbo Boost will indeed return. This makes the person asking much more excited that he should be.

12:38 PM: Gary admits some version of KARR (is that spelled right?), the "evil" KITT, will turn up at some point. He also adds that he watched the entire first season of the original series before writing a single word for the new show.

12:41 PM: Gary clarifies the whole "Michael Knight" thing - something happens in the first episode back that gets Michael Tracer to start using the name Michael Knight.

12:42 PM: Gary confesses it's been difficult constructing the show as they're trying to incorporate the old show, the two-hour pilot and what people liked about each into a brand new entity.

12:43 PM: Dave Bartis is here!

12:45 PM: Lastly someone asks to see the new trailer again. And they do!

12:47 PM: We're off - see you in an hour or so!

Paul Campbell, Gary Scott Thompson, Josef Adalian...

...and their missing panelists

Deanna Russo, Justin Bruening

Bruce Davison, Paul Campbell

  [july 2008]  


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