All My Children's Justin Bruening (ex Jamie) Scores Big with Knight Rider on NBC

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A daytime to primetime success story


Justin Bruening (Mike Tracer, Knight Rider; ex Jamie, AMC)Soapdom congratulates Justin Bruening (ex Jamie, All My Children) on the mega success of his first major prime time venture, Knight Rider, the sequel to the popular 1980's series of the same name starring David Hasselhoff.

The new Knight Rider aired on Sunday, February 17, 2007 from 9 to 11 PM on NBC.  It scored the top 18-49 rating for any movie on any network in nearly three years!  Couple that with the fact that it was a two hour "back door" pilot, something networks have shied away from for just about as long if not longer.

The made-for-television movie captured 12.7 million viewers overall. Knight Rider raced to a first-place finish in its highly competitive time period in adults 18-49, adults 18-34, adults 25-54, total viewers and other measures, including all key adult-male demographics.

In fact, Knight Rider accelerated steadily over its two hours and in its final 10-11 p.m. hour beat the ABC-CBS competition of Brothers & Sisters and Dexter combined among adults 18-34 and all key adult male demos. In the final lap, the 10:30-11 p.m. lead-in to local news, Knight Rider clocked a winning margin of 74 percent in adults 25-54 (with a 5.9 rating to a 3.4 for ABC's second-place Brothers & Sisters) and an 86 percent margin in adults 18-49 (5.2 vs. a 2.8 for Brothers & Sisters).

The show started with a bang as KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand), the car, is sent on an immediate mission.  The sophisticated piece of machinerary heads straight to Mike Tracer (Bruening) after making one small pit stop -- picking up the presumed in danger daughter of the car's inventor.  It's non stop action from there on out, although Bruening's character is at first in a more passive role but soon becomes an action hero.  The wink to Knight Rider viewers from the 1980's was that David Hasselhoff, who played the KITT's original driver, Michael Knight, made a cameo appearance at the end of the show.

Justin Bruening and KITT, Knight RiderBruening re-injured an old football injury during filming and had to take it easy for about a week. He was able to film scenes sitting inside the car and did those when he first returned to the set. During his convalesence, his wife, former AMC co-star Alexa Havins (ex Babe) waited on him hand and foot. Aw.

The good news is that NBC was interested to see just how the ratings went on this program. If they were good (which they obviously were), the network was going to consider going to a new Knight Rider series. 

Looks like we may be seeing a lot more of Bruening sooner than later. Way to go!