Survey Says! 19 Fun Facts About Family Feud
Taking family game night to a whole new level for over 40 years.
If it feels like Family Feud has always been on the air, that’s not too far from the truth. The long-running game show, created by Mark Goodson, made its debut on ABC on July 12, 1976 as part of the daytime lineup and has been on the air more-or-less ever since, with a just a few gaps. Its longevity is easy to explain—it’s just a lot of fun. Two families of five face off to guess what answer the general public has given in a survey, with the hope of winning some serious cash or a brand new car. There are no right or wrong answer, just taking a wild stab at the most common answer to a question. The results are frequently wacky, odd, and downright hilarious and the show’s current iteration, host Steve Harvey does not hold back in letting the contestants know his thoughts. It’s a winning combination and the show has become one of the most popular game shows in the U.S.
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Here are a few things you may not know about Family Feud:
- Family Feud first aired in 1976 and was a big hit. The series ran for nine years before the plug was pulled and the last episode aired in June 1985.
- Luckily for fans that wasn’t the end the show. CBS relaunched it in 1988 and it ran again until 1993. Family Feud returned to TV in 1999 and has been on ever since. Steve Harvey took the helm in 2010 and has been on it ever since.
- The show has had six hosts: Richard Dawson, Ray Combs, Louie Anderson, Richard Karn, John O'Hurley, and current host Steve Harvey.
- Richard Dawson was the host twice. The show brought him back in 1994, but the reunion didn’t last and he left for the second time at the end of one season.
- The first question ever asked on Family Feud was reportedly, “Name a famous George.” The most popular response was George Washington.
- Dolly Parton could have hosted the show. There’s a fun rumor that back in 1998, when producers were searching for the perfect new host for the show, they wanted Dolly Parton. She turned them down, though, Louie Anderson got the job.
- Ex-NFL quarterback Joe Namath was reportedly in the running at one point, too.
- Dawson was known as “The Kissing Bandit”, because he kissed all the female contestants. The practice started when he wanted to calm down a nervous female contestant and decided to take a page from his mama and give her a little kiss for luck. It worked and Dawson decided to kiss all the female contestants.
- As Dawson’s reputation as a “Kissing Bandit” grew, a few viewers complained. Dawson then asked Feud viewers to write to say if they thought he should drop the smooching. A few hundred wanted him to stop, according to the L.A. Times, but thousands told him they loved it.
- Dawson married a contestant. Back in 1981, one of the contestants Dawson kissed ended up becoming his second wife. He kissed Gretchen Johnson—her family won $12,659—and in 1991 they married and remained so until his passing in 2012.
- To make the show, they shoot anywhere from four to six episodes in a day, depending on the week, according to Cole Simmons who helped his family dominate Family Feud for four straight days and spoke about the experience with E Online. When Louis Anderson was hosting the show, he would do “five shows a day for 35 days.” He told AV Club, “That’s 180 shows, and that’s how many episodes game shows do in a year.
- They try to ask questions that will inspire funny or eyebrow-raising answers. “A lot of humor has been added in and we’ve added in questions that lean that way,” executive producer Gaby Johnston told The Daily Beast.
- The entire show, including Steve Harvey’s jokes are completely unscripted. Steve just wings it and makes up his jokes on-the-fly, according to Simmons.
- Steve Harvey is as nice as he seems, according to Simmons.
- You have to clap for your family member’s, even if your brother just gave the dumbest answer.
- You don't get your winnings until 90 days after the show airs and according to Simmons the reward is automatically divided five ways.
- People polled for the surveys don’t know it’s for Family Feud, The Wall Street Journal reported. Instead, a polling firm calls random people and asks them to complete the survey.
- Family Feud has been translated into many different languages and countries, Mental Floss reported. That includes an Algerian version, a French-Canadian take, a German spin, a Vietnamese show, and many Latin American adaptations.
- Richard Dawson loved lollipops, so from 1983 to 1985, Tootsie Roll trees were placed next to each family. A contestant would draw a lollipop from the tree, and if it had a black stem, the family received a bonus of $100.