Family Feud

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This article is about the American television game show. For other uses, see Family Feud (disambiguation).
Family Feud
Genre Game show
Created by Mark Goodson
Directed by Paul Alter (1976–90)
Marc Breslow (1988–93)
Andy Felsher (1990–95)
Lenn Goodside (1999–02)
Ken Fuchs (2002–present)
Hugh Bartlett (2013–14)
Presented by Richard Dawson (1976–85, 1994–95)
Ray Combs (1988–94)
Louie Anderson (1999–2002)
Richard Karn (2002–06)
John O'Hurley (2006–10)
Steve Harvey (2010–present)
Narrated by Gene Wood (1976–95)
Burton Richardson (1999–2010)
Joey Fatone (2010–15)
Rubin Ervin (2015–present)
Theme music composer Score Productions (1976–95, 2002–03, 2008–present)
Edd Kalehoff (1994–95)
John Lewis Parker (1999–2008)
Country of origin United States
Producer(s) Howard Felsher (1976–95)
Cathy Dawson (1976–85)
Gary Dawson (1988–95)
Running time 22–26 minutes:
ABC (1976–85)
CBS (1988–92)
Syndicated (1977–94, 1999–present)
42–44 minutes:
ABC specials (1978–84)
CBS (1992–93)
Syndicated (1994–95)
Production company(s) Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (1976–82)
Mark Goodson Productions (1982–2002)
FremantleMedia (2002–present)
Distributor Viacom Enterprises(1977–85)
LBS Communications (1988–95)
Tribune Entertainment (1999–2007)
20th Television/Debmar-Mercury (2007–present)
CBS Television Distribution
Original channel

ABC (1976–85)
CBS (1988–93)
Syndicated (1977–85, 1988–95, 1999–present)

Original release July 12, 1976 (1976-07-12) – June 14, 1985 (1985-06-14) (ABC daytime)
September 19, 1977 (1977-09-19) – September 6, 1985 (1985-09-06) (Syndicated)
July 4, 1988 (1988-07-04) – September 10, 1993 (1993-09-10) (CBS daytime)
September 19, 1988 (1988-09-19) – September 8, 1995 (1995-09-08) (Syndicated)
September 20, 1999 (1999-09-20) – present (Syndicated)
Related shows Celebrity Family Feud
¿Qué dice la gente?

Family Feud is an American television game show created by Mark Goodson where two families compete to name the most popular responses to survey questions in order to win cash and prizes.

The series premiered on ABC on July 12, 1976, and ran as part of its daytime schedule until June 14, 1985. A revival was launched by CBS on July 4, 1988, and ran until September 10, 1993. Three separate editions for syndication were also produced. The first aired from September 19, 1977 to September 6, 1985. The second aired from September 19, 1988 to September 8, 1995. The most recent syndicated series is currently airing and premiered on September 20, 1999.

The ABC network version of the show and the first syndicated series were hosted by Richard Dawson. Ray Combs hosted the CBS series and the first six seasons of the accompanying syndicated version, then was replaced by Dawson for the remainder of the latter show's run. The 1999 syndicated series has been hosted by Louie Anderson (1999–2002), Richard Karn (2002–06), John O'Hurley (2006–10), and Steve Harvey (2010–present). Announcers for the series have included Gene Wood (1976–95), Burton Richardson (1999–2010), Joey Fatone (2010–2015) and Rubin Ervin (2015–present).

The series has spawned multiple regional adaptations in over 50 international markets outside the United States. Within a year of its debut, the original version became the number one game show in daytime television; however, as viewing habits changed, the ratings declined. Harvey's takeover of the 1999 syndicated series increased its Nielsen ratings significantly and eventually placed it among the top five most popular syndicated programs in the country. In 2013, TV Guide ranked Family Feud third in its list of the 60 greatest game shows of all time.


Each episode of Family Feud features ten contestants from two different families competing to win cash and prizes, with five members apiece representing each family. The original version of the show began with the families being introduced, seated opposite each other as if posing for family portraits, after which Dawson would interview them.[1]

Each round begins with a toss-up between two opposing players, with the host asking a survey question that was previously posed to a group of 100 people. (Example: "Name the hour that you get up on Sunday mornings.")[2] A certain number of answers are concealed on the board, starting with the most popular. Only answers that receive two or more responses can appear on the board. The first player to buzz in gives an answer; if it is the most popular, his/her family immediately wins the toss-up. Otherwise, the opponent responds as well and the higher-ranked answer wins. Ties are broken in favor of the player who buzzes in first. If neither player's answer is on the board, the other eight players have a chance to respond, one at a time from alternating sides, until an answer is found. The family that wins the toss-up may choose to play the question or pass control to their opponents.[2]

The family with control of the question now tries to win the round by guessing all of the remaining concealed answers, with each member giving one answer in sequence. Giving an answer not on the board, or failing to respond within the allotted time, earns one strike. If the family earns three strikes, their opponents are given one chance to steal the points for the round by guessing any still-concealed answer; failing to do so awards the points to the family that originally had control.[2]

Answers are worth one point for every person in the 100-member survey who gave them. The winning family in each round scores the total points for all revealed answers to that question, including those given during the toss-up but excluding the one used to steal (if applicable). The number of answers on the board decreases from round to round, and certain rounds are played for double or triple value. The first family to score 300 (originally 200 when the show debuted) or more points wins the game and advances to the Fast Money bonus round for a chance to win a cash prize of $20,000 (originally $5,000 on the daytime version, then $10,000 in syndication before 2001, when the prize was raised to $20,000). Until 1992, both teams received $1 per point scored.[1]

Fast Money[edit]

The winning family selects two of its members to play this round. The first member has 20 seconds (originally 15) to answer five survey questions, with the second member sequestered backstage so that he/she cannot see or hear the answers. After the point values are revealed and totaled, the board is cleared and the second member is given 25 seconds (originally 20) to answer the same five questions. If this member duplicates a previously given answer, he/she is allowed to give a different one. Either player may pass on a question and return to it after all five have been asked, if there is still time on the clock. If the two members accumulate 200 points or more between them, the family wins the grand prize; otherwise, they receive $5 per point.[2]

Hosts and announcers[edit]

The ABC and first syndicated versions of Family Feud were hosted by Richard Dawson. As writer David Marc put it, Dawson's on-air personality "fell somewhere between the brainless sincerity of Wink Martindale and the raunchy cynicism of Chuck Barris".[3] Dawson showed himself to have insistent affections for all of the female members of each family that competed on the show, regardless of age.[3] Writers Tim Brooks, Jon Ellowitz, and Earle F. Marsh owed Family Feud's popularity to Dawson's "glib familiarity" (he had previously played Newkirk on Hogan's Heroes) and "ready wit".[1] The show's original announcer was Gene Wood,[4] with Johnny Gilbert and Rod Roddy serving as occasional substitutes.[5]

In 1988, Ray Combs took over Dawson's role as host on CBS and in syndication; Wood again served as announcer, with Roddy, Art James, and Charlie O'Donnell serving in that role when Wood was not available.[5] The CBS version was canceled in 1993; also that year, after the syndicated show had struggled in the ratings for some time and was being threatened with cancellation by local stations, the production company decided to offer Dawson a chance to return to Feud, which he did for the 1994–95 season;[6] Dawson's return, however, did nothing to increase the syndicated series' ratings, as the show was ultimately canceled. After this, Dawson decided to have no further involvement with the show.

When Feud returned to syndication in 1999, it was initially hosted by Louie Anderson,[1] while Burton Richardson took over as the new announcer.[7] Richard Karn was selected to take over for Anderson when season four premiered in 2002,[1] and when season eight premiered in 2006, Karn was replaced, likewise, by John O'Hurley.[1] In 2010, both O'Hurley and Richardson departed from the show; comedian Steve Harvey was named the new host for season twelve,[8] and a pre-recorded track of former 'N Sync member Joey Fatone's voice was used until 2015,[9] when Rubin Ervin became the announcer.


The first four versions of the show were directed by Paul Alter and produced by Howard Felsher and Cathy Dawson. For the 1988 versions, Gary Dawson worked with the show as a third producer, and Alter was joined by two other directors, Marc Breslow and Andy Felsher.[5] The 1999 version's main staff include executive producer Gabrielle Johnston, supervising producers Kristin Bjorklund and Brian Hawley, and director Ken Fuchs; Johnston and Bjorklund previously worked as associate producers of the 1980s version.[10] The show's classic theme tune was written by an uncredited Walt Levinsky for Score Productions. The themes used from 1999 to 2008 were written by John Lewis Parker.[10] The production rights to the show were originally owned by the production company Goodson shared with his partner Bill Todman, but were sold to their current holder, FremantleMedia, when it acquired all of Goodson and Todman's works in 2002.[10]

Broadcast history[edit]

Mark Goodson created Family Feud during the increasing popularity of his earlier game show Match Game, which set daytime ratings records in 1976, and on which Dawson had previously appeared as one of its most popular panelists. The show premiered on ABC's daytime lineup on July 12, 1976, and although it was not an immediate hit, before long it became a ratings winner and eventually surpassed Match Game to become the No. 1 game show in daytime.[11] It remained the most popular daytime game show until Merv Griffin's game show Wheel of Fortune surpassed it in 1984.[2] ABC periodically broadcast primetime specials based on Feud, in which celebrity casts from various TV series competed instead of ordinary families.[1] The popularity of the daytime series inspired Goodson to consider producing a nighttime edition, which launched on September 18, 1977. Like many other game shows at the time, the nighttime Feud aired once a week; it expanded to twice a week in January 1979,[2] and finally to five nights a week (Monday through Friday) in the fall of 1980.

However, the viewing habits of both daytime and syndicated audiences were changing.[2] When Griffin launched Wheel‍ '​s syndicated version, starring Pat Sajak and Vanna White, in 1983, that show climbed the ratings to the point where it unseated Feud as the highest-rated syndicated show;[12] the syndicated revival of Wheel's sister show Jeopardy! with Alex Trebek as host also siphoned ratings from Feud with its early success. ABC decided that it would not renew Feud for the 1985–86 season, and a cancellation notice was issued for the syndicated version as well. The network version was canceled on June 14, 1985,[2] and the syndicated series was brought to an end in September of that same year.[2]

Three years after the original version ended, Family Feud returned to CBS on July 4, 1988, while an accompanying syndicated version debuted in the fall of that year, with both versions now hosted by Combs.[1] In June 1992, the network version expanded from its original half-hour format to a full hour, and was retitled The Family Feud Challenge;[1] this new format featured three families per episode, which included two new families competing in the first half-hour for the right to play the returning champions in the second half. The Family Feud Challenge aired its final new episode on March 26, 1993, with reruns airing until September 10.[13] Meanwhile, the syndicated Feud was struggling in the ratings and Goodson was beginning to deal with an increasing number of cancellation threats from local stations.[6] The producers believed that reinstating Dawson, with whom Goodson had clashed during the run of the previous series, would resolve the ratings issues;[6] but it did not, and the syndicated Feud was finally canceled at the end of the 1994–95 season.

After a four-year hiatus, Family Feud returned in syndication on September 20, 1999.[14] After Karn took over the show, the format was changed to reintroduce returning champions, allowing them to appear for up to five days. However, even after Karn's takeover, Anderson-hosted episodes continued in reruns that aired on PAX Network.[1] In O'Hurley's later days, the show's Nielsen ratings were at 1.5 (putting it in danger of cancellation), but when Harvey took over, ratings increased by as much as 40%,[15] and within two short years, the show was rated at 4.0, and had become the fifth most popular syndicated program.[16] Fox News' Paulette Cohn argued that Harvey's "relatability," or "understanding of what the people at home want to know," is what saved the show from cancelation;[17] Harvey himself argued, "If someone said an answer that was so ridiculous, I knew that the people at home behind the camera had to be going, 'What did they just say?' … They gave this answer that doesn't have a shot in hell of being up there. The fact that I recognize that, that's comedic genius to me. I think that's [made] the difference."[17]

During the Harvey era, Family Feud has regularly ranked among the top 10 highest-rated programs in all of daytime television programming and third among game shows (behind Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!); in February 2014, the show achieved a 6.0 share in the Nielsen ratings, with approximately 8.8 million viewers.[18] In June 2015, Family Feud eclipsed Wheel of Fortune as the most-watched syndicated game show on television.[19]

Reruns of the Dawson, Combs, Anderson, Karn and O'Hurley hosted episodes have been included among Buzzr's acquisitions since its launch on May 31, 2015.[20]

The popularity of Family Feud in the United States has led it to become a worldwide franchise, with over 50 adaptations outside the United States. Countries that have aired their own versions of the show include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam, among others.


The original version of Family Feud won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show in 1977, and Dawson won the 1978 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host. Much later, in 2014, Harvey won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host for hosting Feud.[21] Feud ranked number 3 on Game Show Network (GSN)'s 2006 list of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time,[22] and also on TV Guide‍ '​s 2013 list of the 60 greatest game shows ever.[23]

Tara Ariano and Sarah D. Bunting, founders of the website Television Without Pity, wrote that they hated the 1999 syndicated series, saying "Give us classic Feud every time", citing both the Dawson and Combs eras; additionally, they called Anderson an "alleged sexual harasser and full-time sphere".[24]

It was reported that the public responded negatively to several videos posted on the official Family Feud YouTube channel in September 2015 in which contestants on the Steve Harvey-hosted version gave sexually explicit answers to survey questions.[25] Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center suggested that the responses are in line with sexual content becoming more commonplace on television.[25]


Since the show's premiere in 1976, many home versions of Family Feud have been released in various formats. Milton Bradley, Pressman Games, and Endless Games have all released traditional board games based on the show,[26][27] while Imagination Entertainment released the series in a DVD game format.[28]

The game has been released in other formats by multiple companies; Coleco Adam released the first computer version of the show in 1983, and Sharedata followed in 1987 with versions for MS-DOS, Commodore 64, and Apple II computers.[29] GameTek released versions for NES, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, Panasonic 3DO, and PC (on CD-ROM) between 1990 and 1995.[30] Hasbro Interactive released a version in 2000 for the PC and PlayStation.[31] In 2006, versions were released for PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, and PC.[32] Seattle-based Mobliss Inc. also released a mobile version of Family Feud that was available on Sprint, Verizon, and Cingular.[33][34][35] Glu Mobile later released a newer mobile version of Family Feud for other carriers.[36]

Most recently, in conjunction with Ludia, Ubisoft has released multiple versions of the series. The first of these was entitled Family Feud: 2010 Edition and was released for the Wii, Nintendo DS, and PC in September 2009.[37] Ubisoft then released Family Feud Decades the next year, which features sets and survey questions from television versions from all four decades the show has been on air.[38] A third game, entitled Family Feud: 2012 Edition was released for the Wii and Xbox 360 in 2011.[39]

In addition to the home games, a DVD set titled All-Star Family Feud was released on January 8, 2008 and featured a total of 15 celebrity episodes from the original ABC/syndicated versions on its four discs.[40] It was re-issued as The Best of All-Star Family Feud on February 2, 2010.[41]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–present. Random House. pp. 450–451. ISBN 0307483207. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Schwartz, Ryan and Wostbrock, p. 72.
  3. ^ a b Marc, David (1995). Prime Time, Prime Movers: From I Love Lucy to L.A. Law - America's Greatest TV Shows and the People who Created Them. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0815603118. 
  4. ^ "Gene Wood, 78, Game Show Announcer". The New York Times. June 14, 2004. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Schwartz, David; Ryan, Steve; Wostbrock, Fred (1999). The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows (3 ed.). Facts on File, Inc. pp. 71–73. ISBN 0-8160-3846-5. 
  6. ^ a b c E! True Hollywood Story. Family Feud. July 28, 2002.
  7. ^ Grosvenor, Carrie. "Interview with Burton Richardson, 'Family Feud' Announcer". Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  8. ^ Albiniak, Paige (January 20, 2010). "Steve Harvey to Host 'Family Feud'". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on December 16, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  9. ^ Breia Brissey (July 23, 2010). "Joey Fatone will not Dance his Ass Off. He'll just judge those who do!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c End credits lists of appropriate Family Feud episodes.
  11. ^ "Family Feud - A long history of successful programming.". Mansfield Television Distribution Co. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  12. ^ Schwartz, Ryan and Wostbrock, pp. 250–252.
  13. ^ Schwartz, Ryan and Wostbrock, p. 73.
  14. ^ DeMichael, Tom (2009). TV's Greatest Game Shows: Television's Favorite Game Shows from the 50s, 60s, & More!. Marshall Publishing & Promotions, Inc. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-9814909-9-1. 
  15. ^ "'Family Feud' Ratings Jump with Steve Harvey". October 19, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  16. ^ Albiniak, Paige (October 8, 2012). "Steve Harvey, Syndication King? No Feud With That". Broadcasting & Cable 142 (39): 22. 
  17. ^ a b Cohn, Paulette (June 19, 2015). "How Family Feud host Steve Harvey saved show, expanded with 'Celebrity' edition". Fox News Entertainment (Fox News Network, LLC). Retrieved July 14, 2015. 
  18. ^ Bibel, Sara. "Syndicated TV Ratings: 'Judge Judy' Again Number One in Households, 'Wheel of Fortune' Wins Total Viewers & 'Dr. Phil' Top Talker for Week Ending February 9, 2014". TV By the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved July 20, 2014. 
  19. ^ Kissell, Rick (June 23, 2015). "Ratings: Family Feud Tops All of Syndication for First Time". Variety. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved July 14, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Fox TV Stations Bolsters Game Show Content With Buzzr TV". Deadline (Penske Business Media). January 20, 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  21. ^ "The Winners for the 41st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards" (PDF). National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  22. ^ The 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time. August 31, 2006. GSN. 
  23. ^ Fretts, Bruce (June 17, 2013). "Eyes on the Prize". TV Guide: 14–15. 
  24. ^ Ariano, Tara; Bunting, Sarah D. (2006). Television Without Pity: 752 Things We Love to Hate (and Hate to Love) About TV. Quirk Books. p. 96. ISBN 1594741174. 
  25. ^ a b Burt, Sharelle M. (2 October 2015). "Sexually charged answers on ‘Family Feud’ have viewers fuming". New York Daily News. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  26. ^ "Family Feud (1977)". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Family Feud". Endless Games. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  28. ^ Lambert, David (September 7, 2004). "Family Feud - Richard Karn version gets interactive DVD game!". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Family Feud by Softie, Inc.". Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Family Feud: A game by Eurocom, Gametek, and Imagineering Inc.". Gamefabrique. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Family Feud [2000] Review". IGN. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Family Feud: 2006". IGN. Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Family Feud by Mobliss inc.". Mobliss. Archived from the original on February 14, 2003. Retrieved February 14, 2003. 
  34. ^ "Family Feud (2004) by Mobliss". Mobliss. Archived from the original on November 12, 2004. Retrieved November 12, 2004. 
  35. ^ "Family Feud (Deluxe) by Mobliss". Mobliss. Archived from the original on July 10, 2006. Retrieved July 10, 2006. 
  36. ^ "Family Feud". Glu Mobile. Archived from the original on November 18, 2009. Retrieved November 18, 2009. 
  37. ^ "Family Feud: 2010 Edition". IGN. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Family Feud Decades (2010)". IGN. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Family Feud: 2012 Edition". IGN. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Family Feud - All-Star Family Feud Starring Richard Dawson". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Family Feud - All-Star Family Feud Starring Richard Dawson (Mill Creek)". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 

Works cited[edit]

Schwartz, David; Ryan, Steve & Wostbrock, Fred (1999). The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows (3rd ed.). New York: Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-3846-5. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The $20,000 Pyramid
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
Succeeded by
Hollywood Squares