KITT ran a sluggish first lap in the ratings race as NBC's series premiere of "Knight Rider" had starter problems Wednesday night.
Despite having the highest level of viewer awareness of NBC's new fall shows, "Rider" (7.3 million viewers, 2.4 preliminary adults 18-49 rating and a 7 share -- THR review here) opened in third place in the 8 p.m. hour, slightly less than how game show "Deal or No Deal" performed in the slot last year. Its rating is also less than half what the "Rider" movie (5.0) pulled last February.
"Rider" faced the debut of CBS' new comedy hour, featuring a transplanted "New Adventures of Old Christine" (6.7 million, 2.1/6) from Monday night and the series debut of Jay Mohr laugher "Gary Unmarried" (6.8 million, 2.3/6 -- THR review here). The comedies underperformed "Kid Nation" in the slot from last year, with "Christine" earning 34% less than it did when it was snuggled in the Monday block.