NBC Enlists ‘Survivor’ Winner to Front Boorish Brit Gameshow

11 January 2001

NBC, lagging its rivals in the so-called reality programming genre, has hired Richard Hatch as candidate quiz-master in The Weakest Link, a British gameshow that has elevated public boorishness to an art form.

The show’s central premise is that seven contestants are reduced to one during several rounds of questions, voting each other out in the process. It has scored a massive ratings success in the UK with both a daily airing and weekly prime-time slot on Sunday evenings.

In co-operation with the British Broadcasting Corporation, NBC has commissioned two pilot editions, both to be shot today in London with selected US citizens flown-in as contestants. One version, for syndication, will be hosted by Hatch; the other, intended for prime-time airing on NBC, will feature the UK show’s star Anne Robinson, a jobbing journo whose hectoring style and lack of civility to contestants is much admired by the British public.

Hatch is a personality of similar mettle, whose seeming ruthlessness enabled him to claw his way to victory in ‘Survivor’. He was selected, say, NBC executives, because of his testy personality.

NBC will air the syndicated version later this month at the annual convention of the National Association of Television Programming Executives in Las Vegas. Said an anonymous NBC executive: "This is the right direction for us."

News source: New York Times