The Weakest Link (Australian game show)
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|The Weakest Link|
|Created by||Fintan Coyle, Cathy Dunning|
|Based on||The Weakest Link|
|Presented by||Cornelia Frances|
|Narrated by||Marcus Irvine|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||2|
|Location(s)||South Melbourne, Victoria|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original channel||Seven Network|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV)|
|Original run||5 February 2001 – 8 April 2002|
The Weakest Link was an Australian game show based on the successful UK format, which aired from 5 February 2001 until 8 April 2002 and was broadcast on the Seven Network. Presented by Cornelia Frances, the show featured nine contestants competing for a potential prize of $100,000. Airing twice weekly in primetime, on Mondays and Fridays, later Thursdays, it received modest ratings until its cancellation.
The Monday edition indirectly competed against the more-popular Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (which airs at a later time on another network) and the Friday edition served as a lead-in to the AFL telecasts in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia only. Later on in the year, The Weakest Link was moved to Thursdays at 7:30pm. In 2002, the show aired only once a week, on Mondays. Due to poor ratings, the show was cancelled for good with one of the final episodes being a lifestyle special that aired on 8 April 2002.
The format of the Australian series was identical to that of the British version apart from some slight time differences on rounds. The first round lasted for 2 minutes and 30 seconds as opposed to 3 minutes on the British version, and each round thereafter was reduced by 10 seconds (meaning a time limit of 80 seconds for the triple stakes round). As well as this, any money banked in round eight is tripled (e.g. if the contestants bank $1,000 then $3,000 would be added to the final total). The money tree is as follows:
The voice-over was Marcus Irvine, whilst the adjudicator was Alan Mason, the contestant revealed as the first season's Mole.
The show also featured several special editions throughout its run.
- In March 2002, a special episode included contestants from reality TV show The Mole, as part of an assignment from that show's third season. In this episode, Bob Young defeated Thao Nguyen in the final. The prize was a free pass to the next episode of The Mole and the money won went to the kitty in that's show's competition. The prize money, $14,100, was the lowest amount won in any Australian episode of the Weakest Link, but the money was only won after it was proven that the contestants did not cheat backstage. On The Mole this was rounded up to $15,000 as all kitties were rounded up to the nearest $1,000. This episode was watched by a nationwide audience of 1.312 million, well under what Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? achieved that night, with 1.51 million.
- On 9 August 2001, a Blue Heelers special of the show aired. John Wood, Neil Pigot, Ditch Davey, Jeremy Kewley, Jane Allsop, Suzi Dougherty, Paul Bishop, Caroline Craig and Peta Doodson all participated. In that episode, there was a round where nothing was banked.
- On 4 February 2002, an All Saints special of the show was televised. Ben Tari, Joy Smithers, Martin Lynes, Georgie Parker, Conrad Coleby, Judith McGrath, Erik Thomson (who won the special), Ling Hsueh Tang and Josh Quong Tart all participated.
- On 4 October 2001, a special sports edition of the show aired, five days after the Seven Network televised the 2001 AFL Grand Final. Contestants included St Kilda fullback Max Hudghton, Brisbane Lions premiership player Justin Leppitsch, North Melbourne player David King and Melbourne Storm foundation player Rodney Howe, who won $46,300 (at the time the highest score achieved on the show), which he subsequently donated to the Cancer Council of Victoria.
- In 2001, a special edition made up of contestants from the first season of Big Brother in Australia also aired.
- Other celebrities to have participated on The Weakest Link included, among others, Cornelia Frances' Home and Away colleague and actress Ada Nicodemou, talk show host Andrew Denton, Scott McGregor, Kimberley Cooper, Tom Williams, Warwick Capper, Michael Caton, Monica Trapaga and Shelley Craft.
- Prominent actor Graham K. Furness has also appeared on the show, in which he was the third contestant eliminated on a countback. Several contestants who have appeared on the show and were eliminated have since participated in other TV shows such as Millionaire Hot Seat.
- The "Worst Loser Special" featured eliminated contestants from previous episodes, normally those who lost in early rounds or who lost in the final round.
- There were two editions featuring teams made up of winners of previous episodes. In the latter of these, subtitled "The Best of the Best", a record $72,900 prize money was won. The highest amount won outside of specials was $56,300, whilst it is unknown what the lowest was outside of specials.