The talking car's back, but the driver could be MIA.
After years spinning its tires in Development Hell, the movie version of NBC's hit 1980s series Knight Rider is finally ramping up, with the Weinstein Co. announcing Tuesday that it has snapped up the film rights.
However, it appears KITT will be speeding to the big screen sans David Hasselhoff. Hasselhoff, who shot to fame as the show's titular crime-fighting hero, Michael Knight, had been attached to the project for years, but a source close to the movie deal tells E! Online that the actor is currently not involved.
According to the insider, it's still too early to say whether Hasselhoff will appear at all. Still, his name was conspicuously absent from Tuesday's press release, which trumpeted the news that former Miramax chieftans Harvey and Bob Weinstein had struck a deal with the show creator Glen A. Larson, who will write and executive produce the feature.
"I am a huge fan of the original series and could not be happier that we've joined forces with Glen Larson to bring these iconic characters to the big screen," said Harvey Weinstein in a statement.
Larson chimed in: "Teaming up with Harvey and Bob, with their unparalleled success in motion picture, gives Knight Rider an exciting opportunity to be a breakout franchise."
As anyone versed in '80s pop culture can tell you, Knight Rider tells the tale of a young undercover cop named Michael Knight who's shot in the line duty and left for dead. He manages to be saved and, after getting a new face and new identity, becomes the lead agent for a dying billionaire's secret Foundation for Law and Government.
His prime ally is a yapping black Trans Am named KITT (originally voiced by St. Elsewhere star and former Screen Actors Guild President William Daniels) with enough high-tech gizmos (infrared and X-ray vision, microwave jamming, flame throwers, grappling hooks, chemical analyzers, ejection seats, super-turbo boost) to put James Bond to shame. Together, the two thwart baddies at every turn.
Hasselhoff's rep, Judy Katz, had no comment on the Knight Rider movie.
The actor has been making headlines with messy divorce from actress Pamela Bach. Last week, after scathing allegations on both sides, the couple were granted joint custody of their two teenage children.
But the personal problems haven't sidelined him from his day job. He will next appear in the comedy Click, opposite Adam Sandler and Kate Beckinsale , hitting theaters June 23.
Hasselhoff has long expressed an eagerness to pilot Knight Rider to blockbuster success. In 2001, he told E! Online that he was "excited" and "working hard" with Larson to get the flick off the ground. He said the plot would focus on his character training a younger generation of do-gooders. Eventually, Revolution Studios came aboard to jumpstart the franchise, but the movie was never made and, with Revolution folding, the rights reverted back to Larson.
The last time Hasselhoff played Michael Knight was in Knight Rider 2000, a made-for-TV movie that aired in 1991.