Get ready for early aughts nostalgia: NBC is resurrecting its 2001 game show The Weakest Link, Vulture has learned. Jane Lynch is on board to host and executive produce the BBC Studios/Universal TV Alternative Studio revival, which has been given the green light to start production on a 13-episode order later this year. Lynch takes over for Anne Robinson, whose signature scolding style as host of the original British and American versions made her a star on both sides of the Atlantic.
As with its earlier incarnation, Weakest Link will revolve around a group of contestants answering trivia questions and then turning on each other at the end of each round to vote out whomever they believe to be the weakest player. The new take will also feature “a few modern twists,” per a press release announcing the series order. “Weakest Link became an instant fan-favorite when it first aired on our network, and we are excited to bring a fresh, new take to the timeless format,” NBC Entertainment reality and alternative group president Meredith Ahr said, adding Lynch’s “sharp wit and engaging personality will be the perfect match” for the reboot. Lynch, in addition to her day job as an actor on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Space Force, has hosted NBC’s Hollywood Game Night since 2013.
Weakest Link began life in the United Kingdom in the summer of 2000 and ran for a dozen years. The U.S. version arrived in April 2001 and was an instant hit, debuting with NBC’s best time slot numbers in five years and averaging roughly 13 million viewers during its first season (which, back then, was only good enough to rank in the top 35 shows of the season). It returned for a second season but its ratings quickly faded, in part because of game show fatigue among American audiences. Weakest Link was one of several attempts to capitalize on the phenomenal success of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, the British hit that did equally well in the States. ABC at one point was airing Millionaire five nights a week, quickly stripping viewers of their enthusiasm for the format (at least in prime time). A syndicated version of Weakest Link lasted about a year in the U.S.
Despite its short life span in the States, Weakest Link has continued to do well in many parts of the world for producer BBC Studios, per Matt Forde, the company’s managing director of international production and formats. The show “is an iconic format that BBC Studios has distributed across the globe for the past two decades, capturing audiences and earning a place in pop culture history,” he said. “Our Los Angeles production arm is proud to partner with NBC to bring the fastest and fiercest game show on TV back to America.”
Ironically, NBC’s decision to bring back Weakest Link comes just weeks after ABC’s successful revival of Millionaire (which preceded Link by two years when both shows first arrived here). ABC has renewed the Jimmy Kimmel–hosted reboot for a second season following surprisingly strong ratings when the show settled into its regular Thursday night time slot.