Weakest Link is a television game show which first appeared in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on 14 August 2000 and ended on 31 March 2012 when its host Anne Robinson ended her contract. The original British version of the show is still aired around the world on BBC Entertainment.
The format was devised by Fintan Coyle and Cathy Dunning, and developed for television by the BBC Entertainment department. It has been licensed across the world, with many countries producing their own series of The Weakest Link. 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), Julien Courbet (2014 France), Eamon Dunphy (Ireland), Edu Manzano, Allan K. (both Philippines), Shiro Ito (Japan), Pedro Granger (Portugal), Tseng Yang Qing (Taiwan) and George Gray (United States). Gray (2002-03) and Courbet (2014-present) are comedians, and those versions were designed to play off comedy. Recordings of the show commenced from BBC's Elstree facility, but were switched in 2009 to Glasgow and the BBC Pacific Quay studio centre.
Not all the international versions share the title The Weakest Link. The format is distributed by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC. Australia was the first country to adapt the BBC show, and versions have also been produced in Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Udmurtia and the United States.
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.
A group of 9 (or ranging from 5 to 10, varying among versions) contestants work as a team to try and win as much money as possible. 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 9 correct answers in a row without anyone banking, the maximum money amount is added to the jackpot and the round stops. 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 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 last round with no voting but money is still to be earned. After the final round, a head-to-head contest is played, with 5 questions asked to each player in turn. If there is a tie, the game continues to sudden death. The loser goes home with nothing.
Game rule variations
In the second syndicated version of the American version, after the second last round, the last two contestants do not face the clock and the money tree, instead, the remaining two contestants go straightly into the head-to-head round. Similarly, the French version (2014 to present) also does not use the clock and money tree for the final round, and in the penultimate round is the three-player triple stake round for €15,000 and lasts 90 seconds.
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%.
Legend:Currently airing No longer airing Future version
|Country||Name||Host||TV station||Top prize||Premiere||Finale|
|Arab World||الحلقة الأضعف
|Rita Khoury||Future Television||US$16,000||2002||2003|
|Australia||Weakest Link||Cornelia Frances||Seven Network||A$100,000||February 2001||April 2002|
|Azerbaijan||Zəif Bənd||Kamila Babayeva||Lider TV||AZN9,000 (Formerly AZM 45,000,000)||2004||2006|
|Belgium (Dutch)||De Zwakste Schakel||Goedele Liekens||VTM||2,000,000BEF||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||CL$40,000,000||2004|
Tài ruò liú qiáng·zhìzhě wéi wáng
|Chen Luyu||Nanjing TV||CN¥200,000||2002||2004|
Zhìzhě wéi wáng
|Czech Republic||Nejslabší! Máte padáka!||Zuzana Slaviková||TV Nova||Kč1,000,000||2002||2004|
|Croatia||Najslabija karika||Nina Violić||HRT1||kn 90,000||2004||2010|
|Denmark||Det Svageste Led||Trine Gregorius||DR1||KR200,000||2001||2002|
|Estonia||Nõrgim lüli||Tuuli Roosma||Kanal 2||500,000 kr||2004|
|Finland||Heikoin lenkki||Kirsi Salo||MTV3||€15,000||2002||2005|
|France||Le Maillon Faible||Laurence Boccolini||TF1||150,000F
|9 July 2001||12 August 2007|
|Julien Courbet||D8||€45,000||8 September 2014||22 July 2015|
|Nino Burduli||Rustavi 2||ლ10,000||2005|
|Germany||Der Schwächste fliegt!||Sonja Zietlow||RTL Television||DM50,000||19 March 2001||March 2002|
|Greece||Ο Πιο Αδύναμος Κρίκος
O Pio Adynamos Krikos
Jat1 bat1 OUT siu1
|Carol Cheng||TVB Jade||HK$3,000,000||20 August 2001||18 January 2002|
|Hungary||A Leggyengébb Láncszem||Krisztina Máté||TV2||3,000,000 Ft||2001||2004|
|Nincs Kegyelem||6,000,000 Ft|
|India||Kamzor Kadii Kaun||Neena Gupta||Star Plus||Rs.2,500,000||2002||2003|
|Ireland||Weakest Link||Eamon Dunphy||TV3||€10,000||2001||2002|
|Pnina Dvorin||Channel 10||₪100,000||2002||2004|
|Italy||Anello Debole||Enrico Papi||Italia 1||€15,000||29 October 2001||17 November 2001|
Uikesutorinku hitori-gachi no hosoku
|Shiro Ito||Fuji Television||JP¥16,000,000||2002|
|Zivkica Gjurcinovska||Alfa TV||MKD ден 420,000||2010||2011|
|Malaysia||Weakest Link||Sekilara Kiramila||RTM||RM80,000||2003||2009|
|Mexico||El Rival Más Debil||Montserrat Ontiveros||Azteca Trece||MX$200,000||2003||2008|
|Lolita Cortés||27 July 2013||7 September 2013|
|26 May 2014||present|
|Moldova||Veriga Slaba||Andrei Gheorghe||Kanal 1||1,000,000 MDL||200?||2009|
|Netherlands||De Zwakste Schakel||Chazia Mourali||RTL 4||€10,000||2001||2004|
|New Zealand||The Weakest Link||Louise Wallace||TV One||NZ$20,000||July 2001||March 2002|
|Norway||Det Svakeste Ledd||Anne Grosvold||NRK||KR200,000||2004|
|Philippines||Weakest Link||Edu Manzano||IBC||PHP1,000,000||2001||2002|
|Poland||Najsłabsze Ogniwo||Kazimiera Szczuka||TVN||27,000 zł||2004||2006|
|Portugal||O Elo Mais Fraco||Julia Pinheiro||RTP1||€10,000||2002||2003|
|Romania||Lanţul Slăbiciunilor||Andrei Gheorghe||Pro TV||lei50,000||2001|
|Russia||Слабое Звено||Mariya Kiselyova||ORT||RUB ₽300,000
RUB ₽1,000,000(celebrity editions)
|Nikolai Fomenko||Channel 5||RUB ₽350,000||2007||2008|
|Serbia||Najslabija Karika||Sandra Lalatović||BKTV||RSD5,000,000||2002||2006|
|Yvette Cui (Cui Lixin)||MediaCorp TV Channel 8||S$100,000||2002||2003|
|Weakest Link||Asha Gill||MediaCorp TV Channel 5||S$1,000,000|
|Slovenia||Najšibkejši Člen||Violeta Tomič||SLO 1||2,400,000 SIT (€10,000)||2003||2005|
|South Africa||Weakest Link||Fiona Coyne||SABC3||R50,000||2003||2008|
|Spain||El Rival Más Débil||Nuria González||TVE1||€7,200||2002||2004|
|Sweden||Svagaste Länken||Kajsa Ingemarsson||TV4||100,000 kr||2011||2013|
|Taiwan||Weakest Link 智者生存
Weakest Link zhizhe shengcun
|Belle Yu||STAR Chinese Channel||NT$400,000||2001||2003|
|Tseng Yang Qing|
|Thailand||Weakest Link กำจัดจุดอ่อน
Weakest Link Kacad cudxxn
|Krittika Kongsompong||ThaiTV 3||฿1,000,000||2002||2003|
|Turkey||En Zayıf Halka||Hülya Uğur Tanrıöver||Show TV||TL100 billion||2001||2002|
|Baybars Altuntaş||TV8||₺ 54,000||21 September 2015|
|United Kingdom||The Weakest Link||Anne Robinson||BBC||£10,000 (Daytime)||14 August 2000||31 March 2012|
|United States||Weakest Link||Anne Robinson||NBC||US$1,000,000||16 April 2001||14 July 2002|
|George Gray||Syndicated||US$75,000||7 January 2002||20 May 2003|
In popular culture
Anne Robinson's catchphrase "You are the weakest link. Goodbye!" has made several appearances in pop culture, including references in Family Guy, Scary Movie 2 and The League of Gentlemen. In the first season of the 2005 revival of Doctor Who, character Rose Tyler appears on a futuristic version of The Weakest Link, hosted by an "Anne droid" voiced by Anne Robinson, where eliminated contestants were supposedly disintegrated. The "Anne droid" began a special Doctor Who-themed version of the real show, with actors from the series playing for charity; the real Anne Robinson, however, unplugged her droid counterpart and continued the show herself.
- "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.
- Original production was Kanal D,but later they decide to reject and TV8 was takeover.
- Official website
- UK Gameshows Page: The Weakest Link
- Official site of the Israeli version (via Internet Archive)
- Official site of the French Version (Boccolini era)
- Official site of the Singapore version (ch.5|english)
- Official site of the Singapore version (ch.8|english)
- Official site of the Singapore version (ch.8|madarin)