Archives – Family Feud
Family Feud has been airing almost continuously since 1976 until now, with the exception during a short time between 1986-1987 and 1996-1998. A fun game show that asks 100 people a question for a survey, and the most popular answers appear on the board for two families to guess. The family that reaches the most points at the end of the game goes to Fast Money with a chance to win a big cash prize, and in more recent versions, a 5-time winning family goes away with a new car.
The first host of the show was Richard Dawson, who was also a regular on Match Game at the time, and starred on the show Hogan’s Heroes. From 1976 until the show left the air in 1985, Richard was sometimes affectionately known as the “Kissing Bandit”, since he loved to kiss all the women who were on the show. ABC told Richard to stop kissing the contestants, because they were afraid that some would find it inappropriate, but after an outpouring of support by his fans, he decided to ignore the demand and continue. During the final episode in 1985, he explained why kissing the women was so important to him, and that it was a way to unite all colours, races and creeds. Something that was no so widely accepted at that time.
The show made a comeback in 1988 with star Ray Combs taking the helm. The ratings were quite good for several years, and several changes were made to the gameplay to keep the ratings up, including the Bullseye round, and on-location specials, such as the Opryland Resort specials. After a ratings drop in 1993, Mark Goodson productions was informed that they would have to find a way to improve ratings or the show would be cancelled. Jonathan Goodson (Mark Goodson’s son) decided to call back Richard Dawson to host the show, and replace Ray Combs.
The 1994 season began with a 1-hour format, new set design, return of the “Family Feud Challenge”, that was introduced in 1992, which included 3 families per episode, and Richard Dawson was back at the helm, as an older and wiser host. He no longer kissed the contestants, as a way to honour his daughter who wanted him to save all his kisses for her mom. The new series lasted one season, and while ratings were initially very high, several reasons were explained why they dropped shortly into the series, including the OJ Simpson trial, which took ratings away from many popular shows at that time, and the current generation of viewers at the time didn’t know Richard Dawson, or some did know him and didn’t like him, including his own executive producer Howard Felsher. The series was unable to secure a timeslot for the next season and went off the air until 1999.
A new attempt was made in 1999 to revive the program, with comedian Louie Anderson. (Editor’s Note: Personally not a favourite of mine, I felt he was quite annoying, but I did enjoy his cartoon “Life with Louie”). It lacked the magic of the original series and felt very rushed, with a winner being determined after the end of 4 rounds, no matter how much each family had earned. The Anderson era lasted 3 years and he was replaced by Richard Karn. (Whom I also felt didn’t do the hosting job justice, he was very dull, much like his character Al Borland on Home Improvement with Tim Allen). John O’Hurley then took the hosting position in 2006 and remained for the next 4 seasons, until current host Steve Harvey took over, and is still the current host. Ratings in 2010 jumped over 40% of the previous season, and continues to this day to be one of the highest rated daytime shows on television.
Gene Wood served as the announcer for the entire classic era (1976-1995) and was occasionally replaced by Johnny Gilbert (During Gene’s chain saw incident), and Rod Roddy. When the show was revived in 1999 Burton Richardson was tapped to announce the show until 2010, and was replaced by Joey Fatone for the Harvey Era. In 2015 Rubin Ervin took over announcing responsibilities and is the current announcer for the show.
GSN has aired all versions of this program, but when they acquired the Steve Harvey tapes, it gave the network a much needed boost of it’s own sagging ratings. This became the network’s most popular acquisition of all time, with some episodes topping at over a million viewers! This was extremely significant when you think that the average viewership of Game Show Network (GSN) was between 20,000 and 80,000 viewers. The network shifted all of its efforts to this one program, which led to the loss of many classic game show slots, and rerun abuse with upwards of 18 hours per day of Harvey Feud at one point!
BuzzrTV is currently the only channel airing Dawson era 1970’s-80’s Family Feud, with the occasional Combs episode popping up during a marathon special. BuzzrTV also aired it’s own internet channel on TwitchTV, which included the Anderson, Karn and O’Hurley episodes, and now has a select amount of episodes available on Amazon Prime TV.
I’ve curated a select few episodes from each of the classic eras below. Thank you very much for your visit to our site, I hope you enjoy the episodes and stay tuned for more in the future!