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Friday, 9 February, 2001, 16:19 GMT
Weakest Link goes to America
Anne Robinson
Here's to you, Mrs Robinson: "She is elated"
Presenter Anne Robinson will host an American series of her hit BBC quiz The Weakest Link.

Robinson - whose mocking criticism in the quiz show has become a national catchphrase - was chosen to host the US series on NBC after making a successful pilot version of the quiz earlier this year.

She will divide her time between recording the show in the UK and the US.


Margaret Thatcher made her mark on America as a strong and opiniated woman and I'm following in her footsteps

Anne Robinson

She is thought to be the first British woman to present a prime-time entertainment show in America. NBC broadcasts some of the country's biggest comedy shows.

She said: "I'm thrilled to be joining such good company as Friends and Frasier - it will give me great street cred!

"Margaret Thatcher made her mark on America as a strong and opinionated woman and I'm following in her footsteps."

Surprise hit

Alan Yentob, BBC's director of drama, entertainment and children's programming, said, "This prime-time commission by NBC represents a huge vote of confidence in the BBC series and in the formidable skills of Anne Robinson."

The format for the show has been sold to 10 countries worldwide, including France, Australia, Italy and Holland.

The Weakest Link is made in-house by the BBC and has been sold through the corporation's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.

Watchdog
Robinson will leave Watchdog to work on the quiz
Robinson will begin recording the American version in March for transmission in April.

John Penrose, Robinson's husband and agent, said in response to reports she could earn up to 15m: "I can't reveal the exact details, but she's not going to be out of pocket. It's a multi-million pound deal.

"Annie is absolutely delighted. She's elated."

He also confirmed she will leave the consumer show Watchdog, which she has worked on for six years, as a result of her "punishing" schedule.

The programme moved to BBC One after becoming a surprise hit in a daytime slot on BBC Two, where it made its debut in August 2000.

Robinson's catchphrase, "You are the weakest link - goodbye" has given the show much of its character.

Contestants have to answer general knowledge questions, building up a prize fund between them and eliminating contestants, the "weakest link", who are performing badly.

'Huge audiences'

The final contestant remaining walks off with the prize money.

Rupert Gavin, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said, "The show is set to be as big a success in the US as it is in the UK, where it attracts huge audiences for its daytime and primetime slots.

"We have had considerable success in selling BBC television formats around the world and The Weakest Link is proving to be a huge international success."

Jeff Zucker, NBC entertainment president added, "The Weakest Link is a clever programme that combines the elements of general knowledge with ruthless competition.

"We look forward to working with the BBC in this proven format and bringing this successful gameshow to primetime."

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See also:

11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Weakest Link goes worldwide
01 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Weakest Link host cried for loser
23 Oct 00 | Entertainment
BBC criticised for quiz cash
17 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Honours even in ratings war
09 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Weakest Link gets stronger
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