The Weakest Link

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The Weakest Link
Created byFintan Coyle
Cathy Dunning
Original workThe Weakest Link (United Kingdom)
Films and television
Television seriesThe Weakest Link (independent international versions, see below)
Video game(s)Weakest Link (2001)
First aired14 August 2000 (2000-08-14)
DistributorBBC Worldwide

The Weakest Link is a television game show which first appeared in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on 14 August 2000 and originally ended on 31 March 2012 when its host Anne Robinson completed her contract. The original British version of the show is still aired around the world on BBC Entertainment. The game begins with a team of contestants, who take turns answering general knowledge questions within a time limit to create chains of correct answers in a row. At the end of each round, the players then vote one contestant, "the weakest link", out of the game. Once two players are left, they play in a head-to-head contest, with five questions asked to each contestant in turn, to determine the winner.

The format has been licensed across the world, with many countries producing their own series of the programme and is the 2nd most popular international franchise, behind only the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? franchise, which also originated in the UK.[1]


Before the show, the players are shown talking in a room backstage. The group of nine (or ranging from five to ten, varying among versions) contestants work as a team to try and win as much money as possible. In the first round in most versions, the game begins with the player whose name comes first alphabetically, or the player who occupies the podium that is far left. If a person answers the question correctly, the next stage in the chain is reached. If a person answers the question wrong, the money is lost and the chain starts again. A player can "bank" before their question to save the money, but the chain must be started again. If there are nine correct answers in a row without anyone banking, the maximum money amount is added to the jackpot and the round stops. Only money banked in each round can be taken forward in the game. The time allowed for each round decreases as the game goes on. In some versions, if the contestant takes too long to think, the host may give the answer, and it will be considered incorrect. At the end of each round, the contestants must vote for who they thought was the "Weakest Link" in the round that just occurred, and the person with the most votes is eliminated. If the vote comes to a tie, the Strongest Link can decide which of the tied players should leave. The Strongest Link is the person who had the most correct answers or banked the most money. The host, Anne Robinson in the original UK version, says "(name), you are the Weakest Link, goodbye". The contestant then takes the walk of shame and is then interviewed outside the game. The person who was the strongest link in the last round goes first. If the strongest link got voted off, the second-strongest player starts. In the UK version, the final round has a 90-second triple stake round with no voting but money is still to be earned. After the final round, a head-to-head contest is played, with five questions asked to each player in turn. If there is a draw, the game continues to sudden death. The loser goes home with nothing.

Strategy for banking money[edit]

In a New Scientist blog article, Erica Klarreich argues that there are only two sensible strategies in The Weakest Link (the U.S. edition) when it comes to banking money. Either players should choose to bank after every correct answer, or after six straight correct answers to maximize the pot. The correct strategy to take will depend upon the skill at answering questions of the members of the team. For all but the weakest teams, the optimal strategy is to raise the pot six straight times without banking. But since this happens so seldom on the show, Klarreich argues, the dominant strategy will usually be instead to bank after every question. The common practice of banking after just three questions would only outperform the strategy of banking after every question if a team maintained a success rate of over 67%.[2]

Game rule and format variations[edit]

Compared with the original format the others have some changes, making them not the same as the original.

Format changes[edit]

In the UK original series the host (Anne Robinson) acted cold, harsh and mean to the contestants. Some international hosts went to the BBC Studio for instruction and training purpose (meeting the UK production team and Anne Robinson) to replicate the presenting style. However, the format distributor BBC Worldwide changed the rules and this is not required anymore. As a result, some international hosts are nicer and more relaxed to the contestants. This has changed the whole program style compared with the original BBC series. Notable examples are France (2014–2015), Turkey (2015/2019), Finland (2017–2019), Cyprus (2017), Netherlands (2019) and Greece (2019). The new Dutch host Bridget Maasland is also the first host worldwide not to wear black clothing on every episode. Although she does wear dark and black suits on about half of the shows, she often wears bright colored outfits in the other episodes. Her style of hosting resembles the style Anne Robinson adapted in the later UK shows, asking contestants more about their private lives, let them sing and dance during the voting and chit chat about more than just the mistakes made.

US syndicated version[edit]

In the 2nd syndicated version of the American version, after the 2nd last round, the last 2 contestants do not face the clock and the money tree. Instead, the remaining 2 contestants go straight into the head-to-head round.

French version[edit]

The latest French version (aired from 2014 to 2015) also does not use the clock and money tree for the final round, and in the penultimate round is the 3-player triple stake round for 15,000 and lasts 90 seconds.

Dutch version[edit]

In the current Dutch version that started in May 2019, just like on the latest French version, round 8 is cut from the format after they air the show for two weeks. Instead, in round 7, the money is tripled and one last player is eliminated after this round. The maximum prize money therefor is no longer 10,000 but 9,000 euros. In round 7, one last contestant is eliminated. After that, the remaining two contestants go straight into the head-to-head round. However in the 2nd series of the Dutch version, the number of contesteants was cut to 7, the top prize became 8.000 euros and the 90-second round was brought back.

International versions[edit]

Countries that have produced their own version

The format is distributed by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, and also produced by different production companies. Australia was the 1st country to adapt the format; not all the international versions share the same title as UK.

As with the original British version, all of the hosts wear black clothing (or sometimes dark colours with black). Most versions also have disciplinarian female hosts, again similar to the British original—with exceptions being Fausto Silva (Brazil), Tasos Tryfonos (Cyprus and Greece), Julien Courbet (France), Riku Nieminen (Finland), Nikolai Fomenko (Russia), Eamon Dunphy (Ireland), Edu Manzano, Allan K. (both Philippines), Shirō Itō (Japan), Pedro Granger (Portugal), Enrico Papi (Italy), Tseng Yang Qing (Taiwan), Baybars Altuntaş (Turkey) and George Gray (United States). Gray and Courbet are comedians, and those versions were designed to play off comedy.

In Croatia, in May 2010 the quiz reached its 1008th episode, and with the British original, is the only version to have reached as many episodes.

Legend:      Currently airing (4 countries)        No longer airing        Unsold pilot (Only Brazil)  

Country Local title Host TV station Top prize Catchphrase First episode Last episode
Arab League Arab World الحلقة الأضعف Rita Khoury Future Television $16,000 أنت الحلقة الأضعف ، الله معك 14 October 2001 April 2003
 Australia Weakest Link Cornelia Frances Seven Network $100,000 You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye! 5 February 2001 22 April 2002
 Azerbaijan Zəif bənd Kamila Babayeva Lider TV AZM45,000,000
AZN9,000 (2006–2007)
Ən zəif bənd sizsiniz, xudahafiz! 2004 2007[3]
Solmaz Süleymanlı AZN9,000 3 March 2012 2014
( Flanders)
De zwakste schakel Goedele Liekens VTM 2,000,000fr. Jij bent de zwakste schakel. Salut! 29 August 2001 December 2001
 Brazil Ponto fraco Fausto Silva TV Globo R$1,000,000 2001 (Pilots rejected by BBC)
 Chile El rival más débil Catalina Pulido Canal 13 $40,000,000 Tú eres el rival más débil. ¡Adiós! 2004
 China 汰弱留强·智者为王 Chen Luyu Nanjing TV ¥200,000 你被淘汰啦,再见! 9 February 2002 2004
Zhìzhě wéi wáng
Shen Bing
Xia Qing
 Croatia Najslabija karika Nina Violić HRT 1 90,000 kn Vi ste najslabija karika. Zbogom! 26 April 2004 31 May 2010
Daniela Trbović
Mirko Fodor[4]
 Cyprus Ο Πιο Αδύναμος Κρίκος Tasos Tryfonos[5] RIK 1[5] 5,000 Είστε ο πιο αδύναμος κρίκος, Λυπάμαι πολύ! 18 September 2017[5]
 Czech Republic Nejslabší! Máte padáka! Zuzana Slavíková TV Nova 1,000,000 Jste Nejslabší, a máte padáka! 15 February 2002 1 July 2004
 Denmark Det svageste led Trine Gregorius DR1 200,000 kr. Du er det svageste led, farvel! 2001 18 April 2002
 Estonia Nõrgim lüli Tuuli Roosma Kanal 2 500,000 kr Sina oled nõrgim lüli - head aega! 5 September 2004 2005[6]
 Finland Heikoin lenkki Kirsi Salo MTV3 16,000
Sinä olet heikoin lenkki - hyvästi! 6 September 2002 18 February 2005
Riku Nieminen Nelonen 20,000 20 March 2017 28 June 2019
 France Le maillon faible Laurence Boccolini TF1 150,000F
Vous êtes le maillon faible, au revoir! 9 July 2001 12 August 2007
Julien Courbet D8 45,000 8 September 2014 22 July 2015
 Georgia სუსტი რგოლი Nino Burduli Rustavi 2 10,000 თქვენ სუსტი რგოლი ხართ, და ამიტომ ტოვებთ პროექტს! 2005
 Germany Der Schwächste fliegt! Sonja Zietlow RTL Television DM50,000 Du bist der Schwächste, du fliegst, und tschüss! 19 March 2001 March 2002
 Greece Ο Πιο Αδύναμος Κρίκος Elena Akrita[5] MEGA[5] 5,000,000 Είστε ο πιο αδύναμος κρίκος, Λυπάμαι πολύ! 2001 2003
Tasos Tryfonos Skai TV 10,000 21 September 2019
 Hong Kong 一筆OUT消 Carol Cheng TVB Jade HK$3,000,000 你係眾望所歸,無得留低,你要一筆OUT消, Goodbye! 20 August 2001 18 January 2002
 Hungary A leggyengébb láncszem Krisztina Máté TV2 3,000,000 Ft Ön a leggyengébb láncszem, viszlát! 12 August 2001 2002
Nincs kegyelem[7] 6,000,000 Ft
 India Kamzor Kadii Kaun Neena Gupta Star Plus Rs. 2,500,000 Kamzor Kadii aap jaa Sakte hai, Namaste! December 2001 21 May 2002
 Ireland Weakest Link Eamon Dunphy TV3 10,000 You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye! December 2001 July 2002
 Israel החוליה החלשה Pnina Dvorin Channel 10 100,000 !אתה החוליה החלשה, שלום 2002 2004
Hana Laszlo 90,000
 Italy Anello debole Enrico Papi Italia 1 15,000 Lei è l'Anello Debole, se ne vada! 29 October 2001 17 November 2001
 Japan Weakest Link
Shirō Itō Fuji Television ¥16,000,000 ウィーケストリンクと決定しました。__君、退場! 16 April 2002 16 September 2002
 Mexico El rival más debil Montserrat Ontiveros Azteca Trece $200,000 Tú eres el rival más débil. ¡Adiós! 2 August 2003 October 2009
Lolita Cortés Tú eres el rival más débil, te vas. 27 July 2013 7 September 2013
26 May 2014 27 December 2014
 Netherlands De zwakste schakel Chazia Mourali RTL 4 10,000 Je bent de zwakste schakel, tot ziens! 6 May 2001 28 August 2004
Bridget Maasland 9,000 (2019)
8,000 (2020–present)
Je bent de zwakste schakel, dag! 6 May 2019
 New Zealand Weakest Link Louise Wallace TVNZ 1 $20,000 You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye! July 2001 March 2002
 North Macedonia Најслаба алка Živkica Kalenikova Alfa TV 420,000 ден (2010)
320,000 ден (2011)
Вие сте Најслабата алка, збогум! 3 May 2010 2011
 Norway Det svakeste ledd Anne Grosvold NRK 200,000 KR Du er det svakeste ledd, adjø! 30 August 2004 6 December 2004
 Philippines Weakest Link Edu Manzano IBC 1,000,000 You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye! 15 October 2001 October 2002
Allan K.
 Poland Najsłabsze ogniwo Kazimiera Szczuka TVN 27,000 Jesteś najsłabszym ogniwem, do widzenia! 1 March 2004 26 January 2006
 Portugal O elo mais fraco Julia Pinheiro RTP1 10,000 Você é o elo mais fraco, adeus! 11 June 2002 2003
Luisa Castel-Branco
Pedro Granger 19 September 2011 25 May 2012
 Romania Lanțul slăbiciunilor Andrei Gheorghe Pro TV 500,000,000 L Ești veriga cea mai slabă din lanțul slăbiciunilor. La revedere, Drum bun! 13 October 2001 2002
 Russia Слабое звено Mariya Kiselyova
Leonid Yakubovich (25 December 2002) [8]
ORT/Channel One 300,000 (25 September - 30 October 2001)
400,000 (1 November 2001 - October 2004)
350,000 (October 2004 - 2 July 2005)
1,000,000 (celebrity editions, 2001–2004)
Вы самое слабое звено, прощайте! 25 September 2001 2 July 2005
Nikolai Fomenko Channel 5 350,000 2 December 2007 28 December 2008
Mariya Kiselyova MTRK (Mir) 320,000 14 February 2020
 Serbia Najslabija karika Sandra Lalatović BKTV 5,000,000 din Vi ste najslabija karika. Doviđenja! 2002 2006
 Singapore 智者生存 Yvette Cui (Cui Lixin) Mediacorp Channel 8 S$100,000 你是最弱一環,再見! 19 May 2002 2003
Weakest Link Asha Gill Mediacorp Channel 5 S$1,000,000 You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye! 27 October 2002 2003
 Slovenia Najšibkejši člen Violeta Tomič SLO 1 2,400,000 SIT Vi ste Najšibkejši člen! Adijo! 2003 2006[9]
 South Africa Weakest Link Fiona Coyne SABC3 R50,000 You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye! 3 September 2003 2008
 Spain El rival más débil Nuria González TVE1 7,200 Eres el rival más debil, ¡adios! 15 May 2002 2004
Karmele Aranburu TVE2
 Sweden Svagaste länken Kajsa Ingemarsson Sjuan 100,000 kr Du är den svagaste länken, hej då! 31 October 2011 2013
 Taiwan Weakest Link 智者生存 Belle Yu STAR Chinese Channel NT$400,000 第_回合被淘汰的是_,再見! 22 October 2001 11 February 2002
Tseng Yang Qing
 Thailand Weakest Link กำจัดจุดอ่อน Krittika Kongsompong ThaiTV 3 ฿1,000,000 คุณคือจุดอ่อนของทีม เชิญค่ะ 7 February 2002 26 December 2002
 Turkey En zayıf halka Hülya Uğur Tanrıöver Show TV TL100,000,000,000 En zayıf halka siz oldunuz, güle güle! 2001 2002
Baybars Altuntaş TV8[10] 54,000 21 September 2015 15 November 2015
İpek Altınbaşak-Farina aTV 80,000 24 July 2019[11] 21 September 2019
 United Kingdom The Weakest Link Anne Robinson BBC £10,000 (Daytime)
£20,000 (Primetime)[12]
£50,000 (Primetime)
You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye! 14 August 2000 31 March 2012
£15,000 17 November 2017[13]
 United States Weakest Link NBC $1,000,000 You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye! 16 April 2001 14 July 2002
George Gray Syndicated $75,000 7 January 2002 20 May 2003

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Millionaire dominates global TV". BBC News. 12 April 2005. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  2. ^ Klarreich, Erica (16 January 2002). "Strongest strategy for The Weakest Link revealed". New Scientist. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Due to Daniela having surgery in 2010, HRT asked Mirko to temporary host the show until Daniela recovers.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Πότε κάνει πρεμιέρα "Ο πιο αδύναμος κρίκος" του ΡΙΚ" [When does RIK's "Weakest Link" premiere?]. (in Greek). 7 September 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Nincs kegyelem was the alternative name of this show, but recently used original name (A leggyengébb láncszem).
  8. ^ A special Christmas and New Year celebrity edition.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Original production was Kanal D, but later they decide to reject and TV8 was takeover.
  11. ^ "En Zayıf Halka 1. Bölüm Fragmanı". 18 July 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  12. ^ 8/7 players version (2000–2001)
  13. ^ Westbrook, Caroline (19 July 2017). "The Weakest Link is coming back to TV - complete with Anne Robinson". Metro. Retrieved 18 November 2018.