Howard Felsher is a former American game show producer. He produced shows such as Tic Tac Dough, Password, Password Plus, Super Password, He Said, She Said, Concentration, and most notably Family Feud. Felsher was known as the "Game Show Doctor" in certain circles for his ability to come in and fix a show.
Felsher also wrote a book with Michael Rosen entitled The Press in the Jury Box which has since been retitled Justice, U.S.A. This book deals with the dangers of trying an accused in the press before a fair trial is had.
Felsher has a son, Andrew Felsher, who has directed a number of game shows.
In 1982, Felsher ran for the Republican nomination to be the congressman from the 26th district of California. He lost in the primary to Harold K. Phillips (who would lose to Howard Berman in the general election).
Family Feud and Richard Dawson
Felsher was best known for his work on the original versions of Family Feud.
When the show was rising in popularity in the late 1970s, Felsher noticed that then-host Richard Dawson's ego was becoming a major issue. Dawson had a falling out with Felsher throughout the time he was in the emcee's position. Richard Dawson was known to yell, scream, disagree with, and consistently argue with Howard Felsher (sometimes on camera) due to what Dawson perceived as questionable calls and judgements made by Felsher. There was one occasion where Dawson and Felsher switched positions during a question. In fact, at one point in 1981, Dawson ordered Felsher to get off the set, which he did. In 1982 Family Feud packager Mark Goodson agreed to keep Felsher distant from Dawson by promoting him to "Executive Producer", thereby relieving him of his studio duties, and promoting Cathy Hughart Dawson (Richard's then daughter-in-law) to producer. Felsher recalled this in the 2002 E! True Hollywood Story on Family Feud.
On the final original Dawson-era episode of Family Feud in 1985, Dawson publicly apologized about any misgivings, disagreements, or brawls he may have had with producers, particularly Felsher. However, according to Felsher, Dawson regretted making the remarks the next day. Dawson ordered his daughter-in-law, the producer, to cut the speech from the show and it had not been seen for 14 years.
The speech wasn't shown until December 31, 1999, as part of Game Show Network's marathon of game show finales.
The Quiz Show Scandals
As producer of the popular TV game show Tic Tac Dough, Felsher was in charge of all aspects of the shows production including choosing the contestants. Sixteen-year-old Kirsten Falke's audition as a folk singer led her to Felsher's office, who would provide young impressionable Kirsten with the answers and hints to win on the show and a promise to showcase her talent and sing. "I botched it up," retorted Kirsten. She requested her categories in the wrong order. She walked away with a paltry $800.
A grand jury subpoenaed Kirsten Falke to testify, and producer Howard Felsher implored her to lie. Felsher admitted to congressmen that he urged roughly 30 former show contestants and all of his production staff to lie to the grand jury and that he had lied under oath himself. Felsher also estimated that about 75% of all Tic Tac Dough nighttime shows had been rigged. Felsher was fired in the fallout of the quiz show scandals by NBC as reported in the May 19, 1959 TIME magazine article.