'Knight Rider' gets showrunner


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Gary Scott Thompson is getting behind the wheel of the new KITT.

The "Las Vegas" creator has been tapped to serve as executive producer/showrunner on "Knight Rider," which has been picked up to series by NBC.

Thompson will work on the show under a new two-year deal he has inked with "Rider" producer Universal Media Studios.

Thompson is joined by "Las Vegas" exec producer Matt Pyken on "Rider," a sequel to the 1980s series. The two will serve as exec producers alongside Dave Bartis and Doug Liman, who exec produced the series' two-hour backdoor pilot that aired in February. The pilot's writer, Dave Andron, will serve as a consulting producer.

"We definitely wanted to stay in business with Gary, who has proven himself on 'Las Vegas,' " UMS president Katherine Pope said.

She said Thompson, who penned the blockbuster "The Fast and the Furious" before creating "Vegas," was a natural choice to run "Rider."

"If you think what the series would be, it's 'The Fast and the Furious' meets 'Las Vegas,' " she said of "Rider."

Cars were front and center in "Fast and the Furious," as KITT is in "Rider." And the central character in "Rider," Mike (Justin Bruening), is wasting away in Las Vegas until Sarah (Deanna Russo) offers to pay off his gambling debt.

Thompson is now hiring writers. The plan is to go quickly into production to allow plenty of time for postproduction.

"We didn't have a ton of time on the movie, which was done on a very tight schedule, so the biggest thing we want to do with the series is have more action and special effects, which requires time," Pope said.

Thompson and Pyken are repped by WMA. Thompson is additionally repped by attorney Craig Emanuel.