Then And Now: The Iconic 1980s TV Show Knight Rider And Its Stars

Who is more well-known, David Hasselhoff or the television show Knight Rider? Well, neither would be popular without one another. Hasselhoff was the main character who drove a talking car (yes, a talking car) on the show. Knight Rider was heavily popular in its 1980s prime. But where are the stars, (and the car) now?

The Legend


David Hasselhoff (“The Hoff”) is so popular that he often plays himself in movies and on TV. He is a common household name. The Maryland native went on to do many well-known roles after Knight Rider. But his role as Michael Knight, where he portrays a crime fighter who was assisted by his talking car KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand), is what put Hasselhoff on the map.

The actor, singer, and producer has been involved in many movies such as Dodgeball, Click, and Euro Trip. He is also known for starring and producing the very popular TV series Bay Watch.

Chug, Chug, Chug!

Drink Up

Some people tend to ignore the label on the back of a bottle of booze that says, “Enjoy Responsibly.” Remember that time back in 2007 when David Hasselhoff tried to drunkenly wrestle a cheeseburger with his mouth? Yeah, he had a pretty serious drinking problem for a while there.

It wasn’t until his 16-year-old daughter released a video of him laying on the floor trying to eat a burger while speaking gibberish that Hasselhoff decided to get his act together. As of now, it seems as though Hasselhoff is on the wagon, riding it like a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am.

Wild Woman


Patricia McPherson is best known as KITT’s (the talking car) mechanic, Bonnie Barstow, in the TV series Knight Rider. She was present in every season (except season two) until the series ended in 1986. She didn’t do much else within showbiz as she retired from acting five years later in 1991.

Besides pretending to be a mechanic in Knight Rider McPherson is a college graduate. The now-63-year-old graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in advertising. But wait, there’s more! McPherson decided to focus her time and energy focusing on preserving the environment and the rainforest.

Kelly Blue Book Value


“Does it come in canary red?” No, all black, sorry. The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, otherwise known as Knight Industries Two Thousand, or “KITT”, could be your newest dream car (although it does not have an auxiliary input for your iPod). The KITT is fully loaded with everything you wish your Camry had.

The car’s artificial intelligence was capable of speaking, learning, thinking, and had arcade games. But this contraption was not cheap. In the show’s universe, the vehicle cost an estimated $11,400,000 to make. That was in 1982. With inflation to present day, that would be roughly $27,123,021. Pocket change, right?

My Bank Account Hates Me


Don’t scratch the paint! It’s a good thing that the Knight Industries Two Thousand did not actually cost $11,400,000 to make. The car went through many stunts throughout the series. High-speed car chases and acrobatic maneuvering take their toll. With all of those crazy stunts to electrify the audience, a lot of cars became damaged, causing the show to go through an average of about six cars per season. Get out your calculators.

Knight Rider ran for four seasons, that is roughly $273,600,000 in fictional damages to the talking car– thank you, taxpayers. You just can’t put a price tag on protecting society.

Don’t Toy With Me


Don’t act like you didn’t want David Hasselhoff and KITT figurines. These were a hot commodity in the 1980s during the Knight Rider heyday. The series spawned a series of action figures and toy cars (of course they talked). There were board games, video games, posters, replica license plates and other miscellaneous items.

With the holiday season around the corner, these Knight Rider gems seem like a no-brainer for gift ideas. But don’t be thrifty with your gift-giving. Buy the real car, not the toy version, if you really want to make a good impression.

I Dream Of Geena

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Before Geena Davis won an Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actress” in The Accidental Tourist, she made her television debut on Knight Rider. The now-60-year-old actress appeared in a season two episode “K.I.T.T. the Cat”. She portrays a cat burglar (apparently she is not a dog person) named Grace Fallen.

After her brief role as the cat burglar, she went on to do many acting roles with numerous award nominations. In 2006 she won a Golden Globe for “Best Actress- Television Series Drama” for her lead role in Commander in Chief.

Double Whammy

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Before Rebecca Holden became the computer whiz April Curtis on Knight Rider, she was an actress in commercials and a model for magazines. Her first appearance on television was a guest spot on Three’s Company. But it wasn’t until her role in Knight Rider that she obtain widespread recognition. Although, besides the acting, Holden has some other tricks up her sleeves.

She is a classically trained vocalist and musician as well. Holden received her degree in voice and piano at the University of North Texas. And she is legit! Her music has been featured in CMT and TNN. If only Holden could fly, she would be perfect.

Hasselhoff Is Fire


David Hasselhoff became well-known for his character Michael Knight in Knight Rider, but that was not what made him into a huge star and a sex symbol. It was his portrayal of Mitch Buchannon on “Baywatch” that did so. This is really what made Hasselhoff a household name and not a ‘one hit wonder’. Although the NBC series only lasted one season, Hasselhoff revamped the show (with his own funding) two years later in 1991.

Hasselhoff felt that Baywatch had a lot of potential. And his hunch was correct. The show ended up lasting 11 years before concluding in 2001. The show became a huge success, especially internationally.

Mr. Soap Opera


Peter Parros played RC3 (Reginald Cornelius III) in Knight Rider. RC3 was a vigilante in the show and eventually caught the eyes of KITT and Michael Knight, earning himself a spot on the team. However, Parros retired from his fictional crime-fighting career to take begin his career in the world of soap opera. Parros became most recognized for his almost decade-long character Dr. Ben Harris on As the World Turns on CBS.

He is also known for his role in the Tyler Perry TV series The Haves and the Have Nots. Other than his main roles, Parros has made guest appearances in multiple TV shows ranging from Seinfeld to Law & Order. The man is everywhere.

George “KITT” Fenny


Although you never see his face, William Daniels plays the talking car in Knight Rider. The former president of the Screen Actors Guild and (of course) Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World is the voice of the Knight Industries Two Thousand vehicle.

Daniels was KITT from 1982 to 1988. Daniels explains his duties in The Toronto Star: “My duties on Knight Riderare very simple. I do it in about an hour and a half. I’ve never met the cast. I haven’t even met the producer.” Most recently, Daniels appeared as George Feeny (Mr. Feeny) in Girl Meets World.

Battlestar Glen Larson


Television producer and writer Glen Larson is best known for his work with Knight Rider. But he is also known for other television series such as Quincy, M.E., Battlestar Galactica, The Fall Guy, and Magnum, P.I. Larson is also a Grammy and Emmy nominee.

His budget for Battlestar Galactica was set at an insane amount of $1 million per episode. And that was in 1978. Unfortunately, the show only lasted one season (24 episodes). But the show was later remade in 2004, ten years before Larson died of Esophageal cancer at the age of 77 in 2014.

The Resemblance Is Uncanny


If you are looking to get a mustache and goatee on the fly, call up David Hasselhoff. A little bit of glue goes a long way. In Knight Rider Hasselhoff had double duty as he played two characters. Besides his role as the protagonist Michael Knight, he also portrayed Garthe Knight the villain.

The evil Garthe Knight drove around a semi truck called Goliath (his version of Knight Industries Two Thousand) to make Michael Knight’s life miserable. Although the antagonist Hasselhoff portrayed was quite popular, he was hesitant to do two roles at once. So they eventually killed off his character. Easy fix.

The Imposter

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It is too bad that Garthe Knight drives that clunky semi truck around. He could (and should) be cruising around in KITT’s evil twin vehicle KARR (Knight Automated Roving Robot). The car was supposed to be a prototype of K.I.T.T. Unfortunately, KARR had a faulty personality as it began to function as a villain.

Instead of sending the thing to the junkyard, it falls into the hands of evil. The KARR episode “Trust Doesn’t Rust” was popular enough to earn the car another appearance. Now, you may be wondering if William Daniels does the voice as well. No, Daniels is no villain.

Team Knight Rider


Knight Rider without David Hasselhoff is like The Terminator without Arnold Schwarzenegger. Or Mac and Cheese without cheese. It just does not work (or taste good). The spin-off and David Hasselhoff-less Team Knight Rider lasted for 22 one-hour episodes (one season) due to poor ratings. TKR was created by writer/producers Rick Copp and David A. Goodman and was based off the original Knight Rider.

The show featured five vehicles in which played a specific role throughout the season. Each had artificial intelligence capabilities similar to the Knight Industries Two Thousand. But Where is David Hasselhoff?

Take The Bait, Man


The name Jason Bateman may ring a bell. His first role was in 1981’s Little House on the Prairie. Although, he is most known now as Michael Bluth in the comedy series Arrested Development and movies such as Horrible Bosses. But few remember him for his role as Doug Wainwright in Knight Rider.

The episode in which he appears, “Lost Knight,” has the young Bateman becoming friends with Knight Industries Two Thousand when the car separates from Michael Knight. Bateman went on to win a Golden Globe for his role in Arrested Development as well as multiple award nominations.

Go For Miles


“Hey Hasselhoff, this is Edward Mulhare and I will be your new boss.” Edward Mulhare portrayed Michael Knight’s boss, Devon Miles in Knight Rider. He is also known for starring in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. The Irishman began his career in the early 1940s as a theater performer.

He is best well-known for his Broadway character as Professor Higgins in “My Fair Lady.” Born in 1923, the man never married. His final role, before passing away from lung cancer in May 1997, was coincidentally a Baywatch Nights episode alongside David Hasselhoff.

Back In My Day

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John Richard Basehart’s career began in the late 1940s. He is known for his award-winning role in the 1956 film Moby Dick and his portrayal of Harriman Nelson on the television series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. One of Basehart’s last roles was on Knight Rider as Wilton Knight, the billionaire behind the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG).

Although he appears on the pilot episode, he is the voice narrator to the beginning credits of the series. Before dying at the age of 70, Basehart announced the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympic in Los Angeles.

Give Me More


After the four short seasons of Knight Rider ended in 1986, fans could not get enough. In 1991, Knight Rider 2000 served as a sequel the television series by NBC. With a hefty budget of $65 million, the creation was made as a pilot to spawn off a new series, but the idea was canned, despite handsome ratings.

The movie takes place in the future (the year 2000) where stun guns are the only means of protection allowed by law enforcement. The Knight Industries Two Thousand gets a makeover as the “Knight 400”. The movie received mediocre reviews.

Let’s Try This Again


They say that “third time’s a charm”. But no one is saying that about the 2008 Knight Rider. After one season of 17 episodes (and a movie), the series fell short of its predecessors. The latest series takes place 25 years later where Michael Knight’s son Mike Traceur, becomes the lead protagonist and driver of the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand).

The new KITT is no longer a Pontiac Trans Am, but a more meat-headed Ford Shelby GT500KR Mustang. Lasting only for that one season, the series could never live up to the original Hasselhoff edition.

The End of the Road

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In 2008 NBC gave Knight Rider the green light to shoot nine more episodes. The first four episodes were successful in ratings, however, the ratings took a nosedive in November, showing very low interest. The creative team decided to bring the storyline closer to what it was when the show started, focusing on the main character and the car.

But this decision led to three cast members being laid off. The final episode aired on February 25, 2009. The ’80s version remains the most popular and still resonates with fans. Knight Rider has also inspired similar TV series and films, including The Highway Man, and Street Hawk.