''The Weakest Link'' brings masochism to television
NBC's new game show demands smarts, guts, and a thick skin
It doesn’t take long to get a taste of what scores of contestants have endured from tart tongued Anne Robinson, host of Britain’s ”Weakest Link,” the BBC quiz show that’s supplanted ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in popularity since its overseas launch last August, and which invaded America on NBC April 16. No sooner does a writer settle into a chair opposite her in a London TV studio than Robinson asks, ”Where are you staying?” When told the name of the hotel, she snaps, ”Why are you staying there? That’s a fussy little place in the middle of nowhere — wait, don’t tell me: A woman told you to stay there, right? Told you it was a posh place, did she?”
Well, no, actually, one begins to splutter, much like the unnerved questionees on ”Link,” over whom the 56 year old, redheaded Robinson presides dressed in schoolmarm long black dresses, sensible shoes, and steel rimmed glasses to match her steely glare: Think Mary Poppins as a dominatrix.