|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–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:
Syndicated (1977–94, 1999–present)
ABC specials (1978–84)
|Production company(s)||Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (1976–82)
Mark Goodson Productions (1982–2002)
LBS Communications (1988-95)
Tribune Entertainment (1999–2007)
20th Television/Debmar-Mercury (2007-present)
CBS Television Distribution
|Original release||July 12, 1976
– June 14, 1985 (ABC daytime)|
September 19, 1977 – September 6, 1985 (daily syndicated)
July 4, 1988 – September 10, 1993 (CBS daytime)
September 19, 1988 – September 8, 1995 (syndicated)
September 20, 1999 – present (syndicated)
|Related shows||Celebrity Family Feud|
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), and Joey Fatone (2010–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 spend approximately five minutes interviewing them.
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.") 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.
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.
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.
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.
Hosts and announcers
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". Dawson showed himself to have insistent affections for all of the female members of each family that competed on the show, regardless of age. 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". The show's original announcer was Gene Wood, with Johnny Gilbert and Rod Roddy serving as occasional substitutes.
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. 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; 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, while Burton Richardson took over as the new announcer. Richard Karn was selected to take over for Anderson when season four premiered in 2002, and when season eight premiered in 2006, Karn was replaced, likewise, by John O'Hurley. In 2010, both O'Hurley and Richardson departed from the show; comedian Steve Harvey was named the new host for season twelve, and a pre-recorded track of former 'N Sync member Joey Fatone's voice has been used as the "announcer" since then.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. It remained the most popular daytime game show until Merv Griffin's game show Wheel of Fortune surpassed it in 1984. ABC periodically broadcast primetime specials based on Feud, in which celebrity casts from various TV series competed instead of ordinary families. 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., 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. 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; 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, and the syndicated series was brought to an end in September of that same year.
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. In June 1992, the network version expanded from its original half-hour format to a full hour, and was retitled The Family Feud Challenge; 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. 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. The producers believed that reinstating Dawson, with whom Goodson had clashed during the run of the previous series, would resolve the ratings issues; 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. 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. 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%, and within two short years, the show was rated at 4.0, and had become the fifth most popular syndicated program. 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; 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."
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. In June 2015, Family Feud eclipsed Wheel of Fortune as the most-watched syndicated game show on television.
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. Feud ranked number 3 on Game Show Network (GSN)'s 2006 list of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time, and also on TV Guide 's 2013 list of the 60 greatest game shows ever.
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".
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, while Imagination Entertainment released the series in a DVD game format.
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. GameTek released versions for NES, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, Panasonic 3DO, and PC (on CD-ROM) between 1990 and 1995. Hasbro Interactive released a version in 2000 for the PC and PlayStation. In 2006, versions were released for PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, and PC. Seattle-based Mobliss Inc. also released a mobile version of Family Feud that was available on Sprint, Verizon, and Cingular. Glu Mobile later released a newer mobile version of Family Feud for other carriers.
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. 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. A third game, entitled Family Feud: 2012 Edition was released for the Wii and Xbox 360 in 2011.
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. It was re-issued as The Best of All-Star Family Feud on February 2, 2010.
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- Official website
- Production website
- Family Feud (1976) at the Internet Movie Database
- All-Star Family Feud Special (1977) at the Internet Movie Database
- Family Feud (1988) at the Internet Movie Database
- Family Feud (1999) at the Internet Movie Database
- Celebrity Family Feud (2008) at the Internet Movie Database
- Most of the questions with answers appearing on the show
The $20,000 Pyramid
|Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show