LOS ANGELES: The PR blitz behind NBC's latest quiz show, The
Weakest Link, has rendered even its publicist weak.
Deborah Thomas, NBC senior press manager, had a sore throat last week
after spending the past month connecting the show's nasty British host,
Anne Robinson, with the US media.
The Weakest Link debuted on April 9, bringing NBC its highest time slot
ratings for original programming since 1996, with 14.7 million people
The show has benefited from a massive PR onslaught, focused around its
shrewish British host.
On Wednesday, the New York Post put Robinson on the cover, under the
headline, ''Host From Hell' - TV's new 'Queen of Mean' is just as nasty
And an article in a British paper, picked up by US radio stations last
week, reported that Robinson had been assigned a bodyguard because of
the threats she had received. Not true, according to Thomas, but all
great publicity nevertheless.
The Post piece describes how Robinson told the paper's TV critic, Adam
Buckman, he was an 'old fart' and asked him if he'd learned shorthand
when he asked her to talk more slowly.
The paper then went on to stoke a trans-Atlantic media battle when
British journalists started writing about Robinson's treatment in the
The show which originated on the BBC in the UK, has been promoted
heavily on-air by NBC with the press department raising awareness by
placing stories to The New York Times and the LA Times and getting the
winner of the first night's show on NBC's Today show.
There is, in fact, no escape from Robinson's irritating catch
The NBC press department's voice-mail has even been programmed to
parrot: 'You are the weakest link, good-bye.'