David Hasselhoff's 'Knight' rides again
'KNIGHT RIDER 2000': David Hasselhoff and Susan Norman star, with William Daniels as the voice of the souped-up car, KITT.
By Jefferson Graham
SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. - David Hasselhoff is Michael Knight. Again.
The former cop who fought for truth, justice and the American way with his talking, computerized car KITT in NBC's Knight Rider from 1982-86 returns from retirement Sunday in Knight Rider 2000. The NBC movie airs Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT, and if successful, could mean a return for the series next fall.
Since Knight drove KITT into the sunset in 1986, Hasselhoff's career has taken an unusual turn. Because of the international success of Knight Rider, a German record producer approached Hasselhoff about making an album.
The first single went to No. 1 in Germany, and Hasselhoff's two albums have sold more than 4 million copies.
He returned to NBC in Baywatch, which lasted one season in the USA, but is a hit internationally. In June, the lifeguard show begins production of new episodes in New Zealand and California, funded by European producers.
Still, fans couldn't forget about the Knight Rider.
"Wherever I went, people asked me three questions," says 6-foot-4 Hasselhoff, 39. "How come you're so tall? Where's the car? And when is Knight Rider coming back?"
For three years he tried to get a revival going, to no avail.
Then he saw NBC programmer Brandon Tartikoff at a mall, and the next day, Knight Rider 2000, which brings our hero into the year 2000 in a new KITT car, was born.
There's just one problem.
If the show gets super ratings, and NBC wants to order it as a series for next fall, Hasselhoff won't be available-he's already committed to Baywatch, where he also serves as a producer.
Universal took out some insurance: Susan Norman was hired to play Knight's partner, and could lead the show if it becomes a series.
Hasselhoff says he wasn't happy about the move.
"For the longest time, it was difficult to convince anyone I was David Hasselhoff and not Michael Knight," he says. "I felt like someone was taking my baby. I'm the guy who has to be Michael Knight for the rest of my life."
But he talked with the producers about his vision for the show, and likes the outcome.
"People will see a different 'side of me as an actor," he says. "We tried to make Michael more of a person than a comic book hero."
That was important. "When you're in a show like Emergency or The A-Team, it's difficult for the Hollywood community to take you seriously."
Hasselhoff is married to the actress Pamela Bach and they have a year-old daughter.
His dream? "I'd like to see Knight Rider become a series of TV movies. I can do them, Baywatch and keep up my music career, I'm a happy man."
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