In the range of media personalities, there are two different types of people at each end. On one end is the person who acts outrageous in public, forcing jaws to drop and questions like “did so and so really say that”?. On the other end is the person who in public is calm under pressure and feels more like a friend than someone who appears on your television screen nightly.
The lateAlex Trebek was the latter. He died today from cancer. Hosting the trivia game show Jeopardy since 1984, he has become a familiar face for generations of television viewers. His easy going demeanor and unaffected manner was the reason that Jeopardy has been on the air or nearly forty years.
It also opened the door to parodies, specifically Celebrity Jeopardy on Saturday Night Live.
If you watch enough television, you know what to expect when watching a game show.
Between 2001 and 2003, The Weakest Linkchanged all that. Imported from Britain and hosted by Anne Robinson, the format of the program is as follows: a group of contestants answer a series of random trivia questions. Along the way, they earn money that will eventually become a cash prize. After each round, each contestant is eliminated until one is announced as the winner.
Though it only ran in the States for two years, it was a great two years. From my perspective, there are two reasons why it was successful. The first was adding a Survivor like competition to what we think of the traditional television game show. The other is Anne Robinson. When we think of a game show host, we usually think of a man who is charming and amiable. Robinson, on the other hand, was a woman who was not above cutting down one of the players with a snarky insult.
Game shows, especially trivia game shows, are a dime a dozen on television. It takes a unique program to stand out and last.
The reboot of the early aughts’ game show, The Weakest Link, premiered tonight on NBC. Hosted by Jane Lynch (taking over from the original host, Anne Robinson), the format of the program is the same as its predecessor. Eight contestants are quizzed on a variety of subjects, their goal is to be the winner and walk away with a financial prize. One by one, each one is eliminated (aka labelled The Weakest Link), until the final contestant is announced as the winner.
I loved it. The problem with some reboots and re-makes is that it is easy to copy, but the new edition is empty compared to its forerunner. That is not the case with this show. Jane Lynch is the perfect host, with just enough biting wit and smarminess to elicit a chuckle from both the audience and those in the studio.
I absolutely recommend it.
The Weakest Link airs on Tuesday night at 8:00PM on NBC.