DAVID HASSELHOFF IN BERLIN, 1989
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, Germans in both the East and West wanted to celebrate.
Their choice of star was David Hasselhoff – already a soft rock sensation in Germany.
The star of Baywatch and Knight Rider was already big in Austria and Switzerland when he decided to cover a German song in English, called Looking For Freedom.
The song resonated with the mood of the nation and was a number one for several weeks.
When the Berlin Wall fell shortly after, the authorities organised a New Year’s Eve party to celebrate.
Hasselhoff was picked to headline the gig in a move reportedly rubber-stamped by Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
He said he would never forget the sight of almost a million fans watching him perform at midnight, a moment which led to him being overcome with emotion.
Archive for February, 2008
NBC’s Knight Rider remake looks likely to earn a full series commission, after the 1980s show returned to US TV on Sunday night with almost 13 million viewers.
A two-hour Knight Rider TV movie special was watched by 12.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen preliminary ratings for Sunday.
Newcomer Justin Bruening is now the star of the show, although cult favourite David Hasselhoff made a guest appearance as Michael Knight.
The wise-cracking car, known as KITT, is now voiced by Val Kilmer and a black Ford Mustang has replaced the Pontiac Trans Am that featured in the original series.
NBC will confirm its new commissions in May but the network is expected to order a full series of Knight Rider following Sunday’s figures. The show is returning after a 16-year break.
Knight Rider’s comeback follows NBC’s successful revival of American Gladiators, which attracted 7.3 million viewers for its series finale on Sunday night.
American Gladiators has already earned a second series on NBC and the entertainment format is also being revived in the UK by Sky One.
Also on Sunday night, CBS broadcast the first episode of serial killer drama Dexter, which has transferred from US cable network Showtime.
Dexter was watched by 8.1 million viewers in the 10pm hour on CBS, finishing third among the major US networks in that slot. However, this was CBS’s best Sunday 10pm figures since December.
In its first series on Showtime, Dexter averaged 733,000 viewers. Showtime will broadcast the third series of Dexter later this year.
By Bill Keveney, USA TODAYOn NBC’s Knight Rider, horsepower equals star power.
The talking car at the center of the 1980s action show returns in updated form in a two-hour movie (Sunday, 9 ET/PT) that could rev up a new Knight Rider series.
Twenty-six years after the original series, creating a new KITT — upgraded from Knight Industries Two Thousand to Three Thousand — posed a challenge: keeping ahead of computer-driven, GPS-directed auto technology. “What we said when we started this was, ‘Everybody’s got a talking car,’ ” executive producer David Bartis says.
But they don’t have a car that can shift shape and color, as the current KITT can. “It can change shape slightly to increase its speed and handling,” he says. “That’s something we’ve read about as a technology that’s not too far away.”
The crime-fighting KITT still has an artificial intelligence, voiced by
Val Kilmer, that can hack computer systems and tell its driver, Mike Tracer (Justin Bruening, filling David Hasselhoff’s seat), when he’s heading the wrong way, Bartis says. “This car knows it’s right, and we’ve got a guy driving the car who does things a little by the seat of his pants. So you’ll see the car questioning him and challenging him.”
KITT will now be played by a Ford Mustang, replacing the original 1982 Pontiac Trans Am. The movie features the iconic Mustang, showcasing a muscular, limited-edition Shelby GT500KR (KR stands for King of the Road, not Knight Rider), as part of a marketing and production partnership with Ford. NBC has been one of the most aggressive networks in placing sponsors’ products in its shows.
Kilmer, who drove the Batmobile in the 1995 film Batman Forever, just replaced Will Arnett (Arrested Development), who gave up the role because of his long relationship doing voice work for GM. William Daniels voiced the sharp-tongued KITT in the series.
“Val’s voice is incredibly rich and expressive, and he also gets the comedy of it,” Bartis says.
In the movie, KITT creator Charles Graiman’s daughter, Sarah (Deanna Russo), joins forces with ex-Army Ranger Tracer and an FBI agent (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) to search for her father (Bruce Davison) and find out who’s trying to get their hands on KITT. Hasselhoff also appears and could occasionally return if the film leads to a series.
The movie tries to retain the lighter, action-drama tone of the original, while grounding it more in reality, going home with the characters and putting them in real jeopardy, Bartis says. To that end, the new KITT drops a few bells and whistles, including its turbo boost.
Bartis acknowledges that some fans of the original may object to changes, a phenomenon experienced by new versions of Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
“We wanted to find the balance between how much to keep of the original and how much to reinvent it,” he says. “For the most part, we found a really good balance.”