“Weakest Link” is back, and it’s got it all: Jane Lynch, aggressively flashy visual effects, and a USC student.
The NBC show, which debuted on Sept. 29, parted ways with its British hosts and axed the “The” in its original title after being off the air for more than three years. Instead, the show is now hosted by actress and comedian Jane Lynch.
Reanna Cruz, a senior in the BFA film production program at USC, got involved with the reboot after a casting director messaged the leader of their trivia group.
Cruz got their start at Rock and Reilly’s trivia nights, where they played alongside their friends as ‘The Real Housewives of Expo Park.’ Repeated wins were awarded with features on the pub’s social media, which put them on the trivia map.
“Out of nowhere, my friend got a message from a casting director on Instagram asking if she or anybody in the group wanted to be cast for a show on NBC,” Cruz said. “I was like, you know what? I’m gonna reach out.”
“I’m good at trivia. It’s a useless skill, but I’ve always had that and didn’t know what to do with it,” said Cruz. “I spent the whole summer on zooms and phone calls with producers for the Weakest Link moving up the ladder in the candidate selection process.”
The show originally premiered in the UK in 2000 on the BBC and ran for over a decade. The U.S. version arrived a year later on NBC, and became one of the channel’s most popular shows in their time slot. It used the classic British game show format popularized by the BBC and was led by British host Annie Robinson, boasting a modern twist: Contestants could vote out the weakest performer in their groups at the end of each round.
“What is really interesting is when you’re watching a show at home and somebody gives a stupid answer and you’re like, how could they say that?” Cruz said. “But when you’re on the show, everything’s moving so fast and you have 30 million things on your mind. You’re gonna say something stupid.”
Jane Lynch took over the role of host, seceding Annie Robinson. This isn’t Lynch’s first time in the game show arena: in addition to her acting roles, Lynch has also hosted NBC’s Hollywood Game Night since 2013.
“I’ve been a longtime fan of this game-changing quiz show since it first debuted,” said Lynch in an interview with Deadline. “Each time the phrase ‘You are the weakest link. Goodbye.’ passes my lips, it will be with great reverence and delight.”
Overall, Cruz said the experience at the show’s studios in CBS was “really, really great.”
Weakest Link will continue to air at 5 pm PST every Tuesday on NBC.