The Weakest Link (Ireland)
|The Weakest Link (Ireland)|
|Country of origin||Ireland|
|Original run||2001 – 2002|
|Related shows||The Weakest Link (UK)|
The Weakest Link was an Irish version of the British quiz show, The Weakest Link.
The show was broadcast on TV3 from 2001 and was presented by Eamon Dunphy. It is one of the few times that an international version of the show has been hosted by a man. The producers of the series used the euro as the banking currency. This had the effect of reducing the prize fund as the Irish pound was still in full circulation at the time and the euro would not be issued until January 2002.
The original format features a team of nine contestants who take turns answering general knowledge questions. The object of each round is to create a chain of consecutive correct answers to earn an increasing amount for a single communal pot within a certain time limit. Just one incorrect answer breaks the chain and wipes out any money earned in that chain. However, before their question is asked, a contestant can choose to bank the current amount of money earned in a chain to a safe pot, after which then the chain starts fresh. Not banking, in anticipation that one will be able to correctly answer the upcoming question, allows the money to grow as each successive correct answer earns proportionally more money.
When the allotted time for each round ends, any money not banked is lost, and if the host is in the middle of asking a question, or has asked a question but the contestant has yet to answer, the question is abandoned and (on certain occasions), the host gives the correct answer whether or not the contestant is able to answer the question correctly. The round automatically ends if the team reaches the maximum amount for the round before the allotted time expires, and the next person says, "Bank".
Voting and elimination 
At the end of each round, contestants must vote one player out of the game. Until the beginning of the next round, only the television audience knows (via an announcer's narration) exactly who the "strongest link" and sometimes the "weakest link" are statistically. While the contestants work as a team, they are encouraged at this point to be ruthless to each other. Voting presents somewhat of a tactical challenge for canny players seeking to maximize their chances of winning, and maximizing the pay-offs if they do. Voting off weaker players is likely to increase the pay-off for the winner, but stronger players may be more difficult to beat in a punch-up. After the revealing of the votes, the host will interrogate the players on their choice of voting, reasons behind their choice, and as well, insult the players on their lack of intelligence, their background, and their interests. After interrogation, the player with the most votes is given a stern "You are the weakest link. Goodbye!" and must walk off the stage in what is called the Walk of Shame. In the event of a tie, the Strongest Link has the final say on who goes. If they voted for a tied player, they may have the option of sticking with their vote, or changing their mind. If the Strongest Link is part of a two-way tie, for mocking purposes, the Strongest Link is still asked who they want to eliminate.
End of the Game 
Final round 
When two contestants remain, they work together in one final round, identical to previous rounds in all but two details: first, all money banked at the end of the round is tripled before being added to the current money pool to make the final total for the game. Also, there is no elimination; the game moves to the Head to Head round instead.
Head to Head 
For the Head to Head round, the remaining two players will each be required to answer five questions each in a football shootout format. The strongest link from the previous round chooses who goes first. Whoever has the most correct answers at the end of the Head to Head wins the game.
The winner of the game takes home all of the money accumulated in the prize pool for the game, and the loser goes home with nothing like all previous eliminated players.
In the event of a tie, the game goes to Sudden Death. Each player continues to be asked questions as usual, until one person gets a question right and the other wrong. This can go on for as long as it takes, though the Sudden Death may be edited to only one round for broadcasting reasons. In all episodes the maximum possible winnings is €10,000.
Some players may consider incorrectly answering some questions so as not to appear so much of a threat — however, such a strategy is risky. Mathematical analysis of the expected payoffs provided by various banking strategies suggest that the optimum strategies are to either attempt to go for the highest pay-off, or bank after every question. Few teams adopt either — most choose to bank after three or four questions