NBC’s ‘The Weakest Link’ is Back With a New Celebrity Host

In the early 2000s, The Weakest Link was one of the hottest game shows on TV. This was in part due to the competitive nature of the show, but most people who watched during this time came to love it because of one thing: host Anne Robinson’s terse delivery of “You are the weakest link. Goodbye!” every time a contestant is eliminated.

After several years off the air, The Weakest Link is returning to NBC on Sept. 29, 2020 with a new host.

(L–R) Mike Farrell as Dr. James Hansen, Paula Cole as Joanie Hansen, Seth Peterson as Robbie Hansen, Concetta Tomei as Lynda Hansen, Weakest Link host Anne Robinson, and Melina Kanakaredes as Dr. Sydney Hansen on 'The Weakest Link
(L–R) Mike Farrell as Dr. James Hansen, Paula Cole as Joanie Hansen, Seth Peterson as Robbie Hansen, Concetta Tomei as Lynda Hansen, Weakest Link host Anne Robinson, and Melina Kanakaredes as Dr. Sydney Hansen on ‘The Weakest Link’ | Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

‘The Weakest Link’ wasn’t an American invention

The Weakest Link first gained popularity thanks to the attitude of British TV host and journalist Anne Robinson. While most hosts on American game shows root for the contestants and want to see them win, Robinson got pleasure from seeing contestants flub the answers to easy questions, and was often quite blunt with them.

Robinson originated this way of doing things on the British version of The Weakest Link, which led to the American spinoff on NBC in 2001. The American version of The Weakest Link was only on the air for a year. A syndicated version hosted by The Price is Right announcer George Gray also lasted about a year.

How does ‘The Weakest Link’ game work?

The goal of The Weakest Link is to work with your competitors to answer trivia questions correctly and create a chain of right answers. The more correct answers in a row, the bigger the collective “bank” pot grows. The goal is to reach the end of the chain and bank the largest amount possible.

At the end of each round, contestants say who they feel was the “weakest link” in the last round and who should be eliminated. The player with the most votes gets the axe, which prompted Anne Robinson to say her iconic farewell line.

RELATED: ‘The Price Is Right’: The Contestant Who Became a Game Show Icon in Her Own Right

Many celebrities have competed on The Weakest Link

The Weakest Link often had special celebrity editions to raise money for charity. RuPaul was famously on an episode way back in the day alongside people like John Salley and Ben Stein. There have also been a few special episodes with certain players, including a Survivor edition when the hit reality show first went on the air and an “NBA on NBC” edition.

Jane Lynch is hosting the latest ‘Weakest Link’ reboot

The Weakest Link coming back after nearly two decades meant that the right host needed to be chosen to fill Anne Robinson’s shoes. NBC announced Emmy-winning actor Jane Lynch as the host of the 2020 reboot.

While Lynch herself may have a little nicer demeanor than some of the characters she plays, don’t expect her to coddle contestants when they get things wrong. In a preview for the show, she refers to the competitors as “so-called geniuses” and ridicules one person for thinking Mr. Clean was the director of the FBI.

“They say it’s always hard to say goodbye,” Lynch says to the camera. “Well, they’re wrong.”

Jane Lynch has hosted game shows before

Despite making her name as an actor, Jane Lynch is coming to The Weakest Link with years of experience as a host under her belt. She’s been the host of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night since 2013, so it’s hardly her first time at the rodeo.