The Weakest Link
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|The Weakest Link|
|Created by||Fintan Coyle|
|Original work||The Weakest Link (United Kingdom)|
|Films and television|
|Television series||The Weakest Link (independent international versions, see below)|
|Video game(s)||Weakest Link (2001)|
|First aired||14 August 2000|
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.
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
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%.
Game rule and format variations
Compared with the original format the others have some changes, making them not the same as the original.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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
|Ən zəif bənd sizsiniz, xudahafiz!||2004||2007|
|Solmaz Süleymanlı||AZN9,000||3 March 2012||2014|
|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
|Croatia||Najslabija karika||Nina Violić||HRT 1||90,000 kn||Vi ste najslabija karika. Zbogom!||26 April 2004||31 May 2010|
|Cyprus||Ο Πιο Αδύναμος Κρίκος||Tasos Tryfonos||RIK 1||€5,000||Είστε ο πιο αδύναμος κρίκος, Λυπάμαι πολύ!||18 September 2017|
|Czech Republic||Nejslabší! Máte padáka!||Zuzana Slavíková||TV Nova||1,000,000 Kč||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|
|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||ლ10,000||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||MEGA||₯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||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|
|Italy||Anello debole||Enrico Papi||Italia 1||€15,000||Lei è l'Anello Debole, se ne vada!||29 October 2001||17 November 2001|
|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)
|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|
|Poland||Najsłabsze ogniwo||Kazimiera Szczuka||TVN||27,000 zł||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|
|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) 
|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|
|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|
|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||₺54,000||21 September 2015||15 November 2015|
|İpek Altınbaşak-Farina||aTV||₺80,000||24 July 2019||21 September 2019|
|United Kingdom||The Weakest Link||Anne Robinson||BBC||£10,000 (Daytime)
|You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye!||14 August 2000||31 March 2012|
|£15,000||17 November 2017|
|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|
- "Millionaire dominates global TV". BBC News. 12 April 2005. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
- Klarreich, Erica (16 January 2002). "Strongest strategy for The Weakest Link revealed". New Scientist. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
- Due to Daniela having surgery in 2010, HRT asked Mirko to temporary host the show until Daniela recovers.
- "Πότε κάνει πρεμιέρα "Ο πιο αδύναμος κρίκος" του ΡΙΚ" [When does RIK's "Weakest Link" premiere?]. offsite.com.cy (in Greek). 7 September 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
- Nincs kegyelem was the alternative name of this show, but recently used original name (A leggyengébb láncszem).
- A special Christmas and New Year celebrity edition.
- Original production was Kanal D, but later they decide to reject and TV8 was takeover.
- "En Zayıf Halka 1. Bölüm Fragmanı". 18 July 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- 8/7 players version (2000–2001)
- Westbrook, Caroline (19 July 2017). "The Weakest Link is coming back to TV - complete with Anne Robinson". Metro. Retrieved 18 November 2018.