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Gray is syndie Link's meanie

Looking like he'll be just as feisty as Anne Robinson, relative unknown George Gray has been named host of NBC Enterprises' upcoming syndicated version of The Weakest Link.

From a pilot shown for the press, but not yet seen by stations, Gray rattled off Robinson-esque snide remarks to contestants. For instance, Gray, wearing Robinson's trademark all-black outfit, snipped to one player "can you be more vague?" as she was trying to explain what she did for a living.

The half-hour show, which pares the network's eight contestants down to six each episode, seemed virtually the same as the NBC version - it's taped in the same studio and uses the same executive producer Phil Gurin. The only major difference is the potential prize money will be less, but exactly how much less is still getting worked out.

NBC Enterprises chief Ed Wilson admitted they were going for the same feel as the network show, but since a strip is aired many times per week, "you need to be a bit more user-friendly." Apparently, NBC liked that Gray was mean, but not too mean.

Gray, best known for hosting TLC's Junkyard Wars, where players race to build machines out of junk, was chosen out of hundreds of potential candidates from a search that started last spring.

The selection process was a nailbiter - NBC executives first told Gray and Weakest Link's Gurin that Gray got the job Thursday morning. One of the finalists he beat out was Jill Chenault, a past contestant on the NBC network edition of Weakest Link. - Susanne Ault