Series: Family Feud

A generic, digitally-drawn representation of the original Family Feud logo, seen in various color schemes from 1976-95.
"When watching Family Feud, itís a safe bet that you can guess the number one answer with 33% accuracy before you even hear the question. If itís not breasts, itís penis or testicles. Of course, youíre not supposed to think of those naughty answers, wink wink, given innocuous questions like, 'Name a reason a man may have trouble paying attention when talking to a woman' or 'Name a famous one-eyed monster.'"

"On your marks... let's start... the FAMILY FEUD!"

Family Feud is a Game Show from Mark Goodson Productions in which two families compete to guess the most popular answers to survey questions. Richard Dawson was the original host when the show debuted on ABC. The original version began in 1976, with a concurrent syndication run starting up a year later; both ended in 1985 within a month of each other.

Ray Combs was the host of the first Family Feud revival on CBS and in syndication starting in 1988. The CBS show was renamed Family Feud Challenge in 1992, with the syndicated version being renamed New Family Feud later that year. While a ratings success, Combs never quite caught on with fans and critics like Dawson did, so when ratings dipped (and the show started bringing on B/C-List celebrities and professional wrestlers as contestants as a gimmick) Combs was fired and Dawson came back for one last season before the show was mercifully removed from the airwaves. It was revived again in 1999, and has had four hosts so far: Louie Anderson, Richard Karn, John O'Hurley and current host Steve Harvey. This version has managed to outlast the original.

Served as the finale to Game$how Marathon, hosted by Ricki Lake, in 2006. Interestingly, though the series aired on CBS (where Ray Combs' version had aired), the focus was instead on the 1976-85 versions hosted by Richard Dawson. A replica of that era's set was built, with the survey board accidentally being built upside-down.

There was also a very short-lived Celebrity Family Feud hosted by Al Roker during 2008, but started off on a farcical note with an bleeped-out answer that became a precursor to the Steve Harvey era's raunchy contestant responses, and another one of the matches, involving the cast of My Name Is Earl, was very clearly staged in character and loaded with in-joke idiocy— unsurprisingly, that version of the Feud sank like a stone. ABC aired a revival of the format for its summer 2015 line-up, this time with Steve Harvey on board, which more or less guaranteed much better ratings this time around.

The show spawned a popular British version as well, renamed Family Fortunes. Hosted by Bob Monkhouse (1980-83), Max Bygraves (1983-85), Les Dennis (1987-2002) Andy Collins (2002) and Vernon Kay (2006-present).

Combs and Dawson died 16 years apart to the day: Combs in 1996 from suicide, and Dawson from esophageal cancer.

Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: Fast Money, present in all versions. Two contestants from the winning family are brought out and, one at a time, asked five survey questions, with their totals added up for their answers (answers cannot be repeated; if the second contestant gives a duplicate answer, he or she is asked to give another). If the total is at least 200, the family wins a cash jackpot, and if below the family receives $5 a point. Over time, the only changes have been in the time limit and amount of cash offered for a win (yes, even after all these years, losses are still $5 a point).
  • Bonus Space: A variant. From 1983-85, wooden "trees" with Tootsie Roll Pops were placed at the end of each family's table. When the fifth contestant on each team was introduced, they would draw a lollipop from the "tree". If it had a black stem, that family received a $100 bonus (counted toward their final winnings, not their in-game score). This gimmick evolved from Dawson's love of lollipops, which he would often give to winning teams, and a lollipop tree that one family gave him as a gift.
    • On occasion, a losing (presumably non-champion) family would get Dawson to search their tree for five black lollipops, presumably to give them $500.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:invoked On the Dawson version, the contestant who gave the higher answer at the podium could choose to have his or her family play the question, or pass it to the opposing family; passes were extremely rare. The Combs/Dawson '94 versions did not have the play/pass option, but it returned with the Anderson version.
    • Lampshaded in the MAD parody Family Fools when one family asks Dawson what happens if they decide to pass and he admits he has no idea since no one ever does it.
    • In the Combs Version, one rare exception to this: since the "number two" AND the "number one" answers BOTH had the same point value (the "number one" answer was alphabetically first, which was why it was "number one") the team giving the number two answer got to play first, as their answer was first given.
  • Confetti Drop: Starting with the Combs version, balloons would generally be released upon tournament wins.
  • Consolation Prize: In addition to the aforementioned Bonus Round consolation of $5 per point, during the syndicated Dawson era (starting somewhere around 1978 and continuing to the end of the run), he would often give the losing family $250 as a consolation just for playing.
    • (Or, as noted above, the lollipop-tree situation.)
    • Initially, main game values were in dollars, not points, so whatever the losing family had accumulated over the course of the game was theirs to keep. This was thrown out when the Bullseye round was introduced.
  • Double The Dollars, or triple 'em even.
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: Originally five wins. The last year of the CBS version and the syndicated run from 1992-95 had no limit. The original syndicated version and Anderson's episodes threw out returning champions entirely, but the limit returned when Karn began hosting. Beginning in the 2009-10 season, families who win 5 games in a row also win a new car. Feud remains the only game to use returning champions with an appearance limit.
  • Golden Snitch: The points in the final survey are so ridiculously overvalued, you wonder why they bother playing the first few rounds at all.
    • Even worse with the one-Strike rule from 1999-2003 where one family could sweep the first three rounds, then lose because of one bad answer in the Triple round.
    • Sudden Death from 2003 onward where the fate of the entire game rests on getting the number one answer. Many a family has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat this way, going from zero before the Triple Round to winning via getting the one Sudden Death answer.
  • Home Game: Each incarnation has at least one to their credit, on multiple platforms. Ray Combs plugged the latest edition of the board game at the end of certain episodes, Louie Anderson plugged the Tiger handheld game on air, and Steve Harvey currently reminds viewers to play the Facebook app.
  • Let's Just See What WOULD Have Happened: Done on occassion, particularly if a family didn't do well in Fast Money, or if Fast Money was won (with a score of exactly or just over 200) at a point where the remaining answers would not have produced a win.
    • On at least one show (from 1978), where a team got only 63 points (and $315) in Fast Money, Dawson brought the answer list onstage and consulted with the family, saying in essence that if they had given the top answers, they would have scored much higher.
    • In several Combs-era shows, if the winning points came before the fifth question, and the last answers would have scored zero or not enough to reach 200 points, he would sometimes point this out.
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer: Gene Wood (1976-95), Burton Richardson (1999-2010), Joey Fatone (2010-2015), and Rubin Ervin (2015-present).
    • Game Show Host: Richard Dawson (1976-85, 1994-95), Ray Combs (1988-94), Louie Anderson (1999-2002), Richard Karn (2002-2006), John O'Hurley (2006-2010), Steve Harvey (2010-present).
  • Retired Game Show Element: During the last seasons of the Combs era and the 1994-95 Dawson era, the game began with a "Bullseye" note  round to determine how much the families would play for if they reached Fast Money. This round was removed when the Anderson version started.
    • It was revived for O'Hurley's final season, then removed once again when Steve Harvey took over.
  • Rules Spiel:
    • With the exception of Steve Harvey, all hosts would open up each round with something along the lines of "100 people surveyed, top [X] answers on the board." before reading the question. Before the first round, the host would say, "Try to find the most popular answer." Harvey announces the number of answers on the board and only clarifies who was surveyed if it pertains to a specific group (married men, single women, etc.); it's possible he does the whole thing in-studio, just with bits and pieces edited out for broadcast.
    • Before the second contestant plays Fast Money, the host says "I'm gonna ask you the same five questions. Try not to duplicate your partner's answers. If you do, you'll hear this sound (buzz-buzz). I'll say, 'Try again' and you have to give me another answer. It's tougher so we'll give you 25 seconds. Ready? Please remind everyone of the answers [first player] gave us... 25 seconds on the clock... clock will start after I read the first question. Good luck."
      • While the rules were Fast Money were briefly explained early on in Dawson's and Combs' runs, the current version has had a full-blown one since it started airing in 1999: "We've got [partner's name] offstage where s/he can't see or hear your answers. I'll ask you five questions in 20 seconds, try to give me the most popular answer. If you can't think of something to say, say 'pass'; if time permits, we'll come back to it. Now if you and [partner] together get 200 points, you will win... (contestant shouts out top prize)!" This has started appearing less frequently in the Harvey version, most likely for the editing reasons above.
    • Also done to introduce Sudden Death: "Nobody's reached 300 points so now we're going to play sudden death!"
  • Sound Proof Booth: During Fast Money, the second contestant was originally placed in one while the first contestant gave his or her answers. Now, the second contestant is given sound-blocking headphones instead.
  • Sudden Death: Present since the return to Single-Single-Double-Triple. If neither team has reached 300 after four rounds, a Sudden Death round is played with Triple point values and a question for which the #1 answer is typically in the 70s or higher. Whoever is first to ring in with the right answer wins the game.

"Who will win their bankroll? Let's find out as we play the Feud!":

  • Affectionate Parody:
    • Barbara Mandrell's variety show for NBC (Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters) had a Feud parody with the three Mandrell sisters as one family and three of The Statler Brothers as the other. The Statlers' bass singer, Harold Reid, played a hilariously Flanderized parody of Richard Dawson ("Richie Kissy") who hit on the Mandrell sisters excessively, kissed them at every turn and tilted the game ridiculously in their favor while treating the other three Statlers as Butt Monkeys.
      • Became Hilarious in Hindsight when the Mandrells and Statlers actually appeared on the show during a special week at Opryland in 1993. The Mandrell Sisters played with their parents, and the Statlers featured Brenda Lee and Jimmy Fortune (who replaced original member Lew DeWitt, who had retired in 1982 and died in 1990) in their lineup.
    • Old Navy, of all things. In late 2002, the company aired a series of commercials called "Family Fleece" ó a parody of Combs-era Feud with a remarkably-accurate set, including actual parts used in the Combs era.
  • The Artifact: When the Bullseye round was introduced on Ray Combs' version, the three-panel score display above the survey board was expanded to four panels for use in an unsold pilot format. The score display still featured four panels for the rest of Combs' run and was even built into Dawson's 1994 set.
  • Audience Surrogate: Part of Harvey's appeal is that his calling out the contestants matches what the home viewers say whenever a stupid answer is given. Dawson and Combs did this at times when they hosted as well.
  • Bowdlerize: Prior to the Harvey era, some answers would be toned down on the board. For instance, any time a contestant responded "butt" in fast money, it would displayed on the board as "bottom" instead.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: This happens in the show a lot when lists are brought up, for example:
    Combs, polling a family for steal answer suggestions: "Name something men wear to bed, Margret?"
    Margret: "Night cap"
    Jeff: "Sweatsuit"
    Nathan: "Night cap"
    Elizabeth: "Condom"
  • Author Tract: Some of the questions since the dawn of the Steve Harvey Era are phrased in such a way as to give off a Heteronormative Crusader vibe.
  • Butt Monkey: The producers have started putting up select clips (some of which don't make it on the broadcast version) on YouTube, and it seems that their preference for clips during the Steve Harvey era are clips in which Steve looks like he's in incredible pain from the answer.
  • Call Back: After a contestant gives a crude answer, Steve will sometimes react by mentioning how the show wasn't like this when Richard Dawson hosted it.
  • Catch Phrase: "(Our) survey said!" and "Let's play the Feud!", present in all versions.
    • Ray Combs had his own spin on the phrase with "What did our survey say?", sometimes substituting "the" for "our" and "(random verb)" for "say".
    • "Good answer!", used even on obviously bad answers. Mostly used to either make the contestant feel better after their goof up or if the family really believes the answer was a good one. Lampshaded by Steve Harvey in one of the celebrity episodes he hosted, where he noticed a family wasn't doing this and told them that they should support their family members.
    • Louie Anderson tended to shout "Is it up there?!" for nearly every response.
    • Sometimes when a contestant gave a particularly silly/stupid answer, Dawson would say "The dreaded (contestant's answer)".
    • "Welcome to Family Feud! I'm [your man,] Steve Harvey! We got a good one for you today..."
      • "We got a good one" comes up a lot in general.
    • Harvey usually prompts the next contestants to walk up to the buzzers at the start of each round with "Give me [name of next contestant from first family], give me [name of next contestant from second family]!"
  • Celebrity Impersonator: They've had a few "Hollywood Lookalikes" specials, which feature teams of just that.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: A lot of contestants were........weird.
    Host: "Name something you squeeze."
    Contestant: "Peanut butter."
  • Corpsing: Richard Dawson completely lost it more than once on the show, most notably during the "September" round.
    • Steve Harvey also has the tendency to do this. One time he got frozen up while delivering Fast Money questions and the producers actually had to stop the timer while he got it together.
  • Crossover: Just about every late-1970s/early-1980s Top-20 ABC show made an appearance on primetime Feud specials during the Dawson era. The Price Is Right and CBS soap operas appeared for charity during the Combs run.
  • Deconstructive Parody: In addition to a Sopranos sketch, MADtv also featured a Feud sketch with a deadpan Will Sasso as Louie Anderson, mocking his bored expressions and disinterest in the program:
    Louie: (looks heavenward) Dear Lord...if you have any mercy on me please just kill me right now. Come on, do it! Strike me down, please! ...ah, I guess He's busy. Play the Feud, yeah...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Richard Dawson had his moments, as did Ray Combs. Steve Harvey also seems to love being one, which is refreshing to see.
  • Downer Ending: Whenever a family scores 199 points in Fast Money. Even more of a downer if either contestant fails to provide an answer at any time.
    • Especially for Ray Combs' last episode (see "Grand Finale" below) and as a meta-example, for even more of a downer, where his life went from there...
  • Dutch Angle: Used to ridiculous extremes on the Karn era: the camera would tilt and spin going into and out of every commercial break. In later seasons, the spins were fast enough to give viewers whiplash.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: A few below.
    • Originally, it took $200 or more to win the main game. There was also no Triple Round originally; just Singles and Doubles.
    • Richard Dawson wasn't kissing women often originally.
    • The theme song played a key lower originally.
    • The first five weeks (25 episodes) with Richard Dawson were taped at the former ABC Vine Street Theater on Hollywood/Vine; subsequent tapings were at ABC Television Center on Prospect/Talmadge. The best away to tell apart the two stage layouts, is to look for the audience. The ones with no audience on camera, and in a "Theater pit" are the former, and the ones with the audience on camera are the latter.
  • Epic Fail: Whenever a contestant fails to score even a single point in Fast Money.
    • The Coelho family on an episode of the Combs version managed to get only 16 points combined in Fast Money, easily a record.
  • Feuding Families: Aside from the obvious, one week of episodes during the Dawson era pitted descendants of the Hatfields going against decendents of the McCoys, complete with shotguns, "Triple X" moonshine jugs and a descendant of the pig that started the original conflict awarded to the winning family.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Humorously averted by Combs. A few times, the first contestant in Fast Money got 200 points on their own, so Ray would prank the second contestant by telling them that their teammate did poorly, then ask gag questions such as "Give me a number between 3 and 5" before announcing that they had won.
  • Foreign Remake / Market-Based Title: As above, Family Fortunes. In Latin America, it's "100 [nationality] Said"; Japan's version is called We Asked 100 People... (the Japanese don't usually change the titles of game shows they import, but their version doesn't use families as contestants). In parts of Europe it's "5 vs. 5". In France it's "Une famille en or" ("A golden family").
  • From Bad to Worse: Dawson felt this way when he asked the Fast Money question "Name an animal with three letters in its name." The first contestant said "Frog" and the second said "Alligator".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Many examples:
    • On a The Price Is Right vs. The Young and the Restless special during the Ray Combs era, a Fast Money Question was "Name a animal whose leg you eat". Price's Holly stumbled and said "I don't eat legs, I'm a vegetarian." After she got a laugh from that, Ray said "Gee, now I wish I were a vegetable..."
    • One game show fan book from the late 1970s noted that some questions could possibly be answered with replies referring to the male anatomy (such as "Name something that you put in your mouth that isn't swallowed" ... and the male privates wasn't one of the answers.) Neither was it when asked on the Harvey version, although one contestant responded (while trying to stifle her giggle) "sperm."
    • The Steve Harvey-hosted version tends to throw content directly at the radar instead. Although contestants sometimes try to tone it down, it's often clear what they actually mean.
      • At least one question was replaced due to a concern about what an answer referred to, although it has been seen on YouTube. The question asked what James Bond does in a sexy way, to which the contestant replied, "Shoots his gun"; the audience began laughing uproariously as Harvey shook his head in mock disgust, figuring the contestant meant "ejaculates from his gun (i.e., "penis") when having sex with a woman."
    • Parodied in the Mad spoof of the show (Family Fools), where the contestant answers "Make love" to everything in Fast Money and wins. (Amusingly, the parody was written by Dick DeBartolo, who was also a Goodson-Todman writer at the time.)
  • Grand Finale:
    • The last ABC episode featured a long, impassioned speech from Dawson.
    • Ray Combs' last show (May 27, 1994) was less than grand, with the second Fast Money contestant scoring zero points. Ray not only ribbed the guy on it, but his response after the fourth zero showed that yes, he knew this was his last day.
      Ray: You know, I've done this show for six years and this could be the first time that I had a person that actually got no points and... I think it's a damn fine way to go out. Thought I was a loser 'til you walked up here; you made me feel like a man.
  • Guest Host: Sammy Davis, Jr. guest-hosted one question on the Dawson version.
  • Helium Speech: Ray Combs did this on the October 10, 1988 episode, which coincidentally also featured a clown in one of the families.
  • Hotter and Sexier: A trend since the Ray Combs era shows more innuendo in the questions and answers. The Steve Harvey version plays this straight and turns it Up to Eleven.
  • I'm Going to Hell for This: Some of the more absurd answers (some of which are actually on the board!) tend to elicit this kind of response from Steve Harvey.
  • Inflation Negation: The daytime show had a top prize of $5,000, while the syndicated show had a top prize of $10,000, from the show's beginning in 1976 to when the Bullseye round was introduced in 1992. The $10,000 prize returned for the current syndicated version in 1999 and lasted until 2001, when it was finally raised to $20,000. Cumulative inflation during those years was 188%, meaning the top prize had about a third of its former buying power before they upped the stakes.
    • Even today, $20,000 is actually a fairly cheap top prize for a game show. By the debut of the Harvey version, it had only about 11% more buying power than the daytime top prize had in the beginning.
      • Although in theory, a family could play well, stay on for a week and win a car along with $100,000 if they took Fast Money every night. That lets it compare more favorably to most game shows, except for mega-money ones like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? — and even on those, the contestant will often walk away with one of the smaller prizes.
    • Fast Money losses are $5 a point to this day; this has remained unchanged since the very beginning.
  • Jerk Ass: Dawson could be downright mean both on- and off-set. He barred producer Howard Felsher from appearing on-camera; he would often insult particularly stupid contestants (although he usually did not mean to come off as mean); he would throw tantrums over something as simple a burnt-out light bulb; and his ego was uncontrollable. (As a prime example of his ego, he declined an interview with TV Guide for a game show article, saying he wouldn't be interviewed unless they put him, and only him, on the cover. Keep in mind that the article interviewed several other hosts, all of whom appeared on the cover together. All of the other hosts interviewed had rather unkind words to say about Dawson's mannerisms; Monty Hall in particular criticized Dawson's show-opening monologues.) By the time that Dawson was re-hired for the final season of the Feud revival in 1994, he had mellowed considerably.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: However, Dawson did have moments of sweetness, including a very heartfelt speech on the final episode. He also tried to put the contestant first whenever possible ó debating with the judge to rule over "close" answers, allowing more time if they didn't hear the final question in Fast Money, rewarding contestants with lollipops, etc. His deriding of obviously bad answers were meant to be taken in jest. During the original syndicated series, Dawson gave losing families $250 in consolation just for playing (if they failed to reach that amount). Also, he stated in an interview that he always wanted to keep the game moving so that the home and studio audiences wouldn't lose interest, even if it meant pulling a The Show Must Go On. Finally, countless families gave him gifts over the years, so he couldn't have been that bad a guy.
  • Large Ham: Richard Karn. He was fond of shouting "I'M DOUBLING/TRIPLING THE POINTS!" before the Double and Triple rounds, and "TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!" (followed by studio applause) before the Fast Money.
    • Steve Harvey also qualifies as one, with his over-the-top reactions to bizarre responses, which sometimes turn into full-blown stand-up comedy. And if you think his reactions are over-the-top to the responses, wait until you see him if one of those responses is actually up there (which they usually are in some way). It does help that Harvey is known as one of the "Kings of Comedy".
  • Leave the Camera Running: A common trait in the Harvey era ó stuff that would normally get edited out, such as discussing an answer with the judge, gets left in because of Harvey's reaction. Some of those that don't make it to air are available on their official YouTube channel.
  • Long Runners: Although it's on its fourth host, the current revival has lasted 16 consecutive years, putting it seven years ahead of the original Dawson era (and six years ahead of Dawson's total hosting tenure).
  • Mythology Gag: Many over the show's history, more often than not involving competing families who had been on the show in the past. Also former Feud hosts' names have often been used as answers to survey questions; asked at least once on the show was "Name a host of Family Feud."
    Contestant: My family was on this show once before, and I kissed the host. Have you ever kissed Richard Dawson?
    • One GSN ad featured a clip of a woman after being told that Combs doesn't kiss the female contestants 'like the other guy' saying "Oh, you're gonna kiss me, Honey!" and forcing a kiss on the bemused Combs.
  • N-Word Privileges: Subtly referenced in a Steve Harvey episode. The question was "Name a famous Arnold", and the first contestant buzzed in to say "Schwarzenegger". Steve sat there for a moment with a "WHAT did you just say?!" look on his face, before giving a start and saying "Oh, you meant him."
    • Similar to his reaction when he thought a contestant said "My black-ass parents".
  • Nepotism: Dawson's son worked on the show for a while. Goodson-Todman once gave him a Take That by changing everyone's surname to Dawson in the credits, perhaps the first Credits Gag in game show history.
    • That culminated in a rather blatant example of egotism:
      Dawson: Name a man in show business who also has a son in show business.
      Contestant (after ringing in): Richard Dawson.
      Dawson: (turns to board) Me!
      (buzzer sounds)
      Dawson: Where did you take this survey?!
  • No Indoor Voice: Karn, as noted above. Same with Burton Richardson. This may also apply to Steve Harvey whenever a contestant gives a particularly bad answer.
  • Nobody Poops: Magnificently and hilariously averted here.
  • Obvious Beta: The 1976 pilot for NBC used a different set, different sound effects, different Strike graphics and Johnny Olson instead of Gene Wood. Further, all rounds were Single-value with first to $200 winning.
  • One Steve Limit: Obviously averted with the many families that appear on the show, but also averted with the hosts. There's Richard Dawson and Richard Karn.
  • Only Sane Man: The hosts seem to be the only people who truly comprehend the sheer mind-numbing stupidity of some of the answers. Steve Harvey in particular lampshades the insanity of the various players quite often.
  • On the Money: One family got 100 points in Fast Money, so the second person only had to get 100 to win. The second person got... 100 points.
  • Once an Episode: During the original series, Dawson kissed nearly every single female contestant. Including Gretchen Johnson, who later became his wife. The kissing wasn't there when Richard returned in 1994, because Dawson pledged to his daughter that he wouldn't kiss "anyone but mommy".
  • Opening Narration: "It's time for the Family Feud!note  Introducing note  the [name] family: [name], [name], [name], [name], and [name], ready for action! And note  the [name] family: [name], [name], [name], [name], and [name]. On your marks... let's start... the Family Feud!note  Withnote  the star of Family Feud, Richard Dawson!" The first part was abbreviated to "Introducing the [name] family, ready for action! And the [name] family!" near the end of Dawson's run. Rinse and repeat for the Combs version, with any changes marked with asterisks above, then reverted with the 1994-95 Dawson run.
    • The introduction of the Bullseye round saw Gene Wood asking a survey question at the top of the show, then depending on what version you were watching either he would give the #1 answer himself or Combs would come onstage and do so after he was introduced.
    • With the 1999 Retool: "You're about to see these two teams battle it out, for a chance to win $10,000/$20,000 in cash! 'Cause it's time to plaaaaaay...the Family FEUUUUUD!"
  • Rearrange the Song: The show's iconic theme song is a remix of a music cue from The Price Is Right with a banjo line added. The Combs version remixed the theme in stereo, removed the introductory banjo and added a synth drum line. Upon Dawson's return in 1994, the show used a jazz re-orchestration of the theme. Louie's version used its own generic "party" theme. Both Karn's and O'Hurley's runs alternated between a different "party" theme and an edit of the Combs theme. Once Harvey took over, the Combs theme became official again on television, though John Lewis Parker (composer of the "party" theme) is still listed in the credits, and portions of said "party" theme are still heard in tie-ins to the show.
  • Recycled Sound Track:
    • The last bar of the original theme was used as a victory cue on the short-lived game show Trivia Trap.
    • The Australian version used a remix of the theme from the American game show Second Chance, which itself was recycled from the 1976 revival of Ive Got A Secret.
    • The prelude theme, as heard during a 1991 Bikini Special week on Combs' Syndicated edition, was recycled from two unsold Mark Goodson pilots in TKO (1989) and Body Talk (1990). It would become better known as the Illinois Instant Riches (1994-1998) theme.
  • Retool: When the show was revived into its current run in 1999, producers did away with everything familiar about the show except the gameplay ó the "Whitman's Sampler" set, the theme song, and even the logo was thrown out in favor of a new, "hipper" one. (Fast-forward a decade and you'll find that many of these elements have {in some form or another} returned.)
  • Retraux: The Dawson-era set was intentionally designed with an old-fashioned, "homey" atmosphere in mind with its beige carpet, wood-grain podiums, and sampler-style name boards.
  • Running Gag: Dawson kissing all the women as mentioned above, a hot-button issue at the time (old-timer Dawson scrapped this for his 1994 return, at his daughter's request).
    • Ray Combs, having been a stand-up comedian for a living, had several:
      • Combs constantly tried on female contestants' high-heel shoes after doing it as a joke on one episode.
      • During Fast Money, if the first contestant scored 200 points by themself, Combs would bring out the second contestant, fool them into thinking that their partner had only gotten 18 points, and then ask gag questions such as "Name a number between three and five" before showing the scoreboard.
      • If a contestant gave a particularly horrendous answer while his/her family had already had two strikes, Combs would sometimes walk over to the other, possibly-stealing family before asking whether or not it was up there. Steve Harvey often does something similar on the current version.
    • Louie Anderson would present a "Dumb Answer of the Day" trophy whenever a contestant came up with an unfathomably bad guess, complete with a fanfare.
    • Richard Karn's hammed-up "I'M DOUBLING/TRIPLING THE POINTS!" became this during the latter half of his tenure.
    • In the Fast Money round during John O'Hurley's first season, while explaining to the second contestant that they cannot repeat any of the first contestant's answers or else they will "hear this sound", he would often jolt in faked surprise upon the "buzz buzz" sound being played. Fans got very tired of this near said first season's end, and O'Hurley must have listened, as he finally stopped when his second season rolled around.
    • Steve Harvey frequently fixes the neckties of male contestants, so that they have a proper wrinkle in the knot.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Ray Combs at the end of his final episode in 1994.
  • Shout-Out: After both families failed to reveal all the answers on the question "Name a phrase with the word 'home' in it", Karn turned to the audience and shouted, "I know! What about Home Improvement?!"
    • And another episode (with Karn on it) had him using his character Al's Catchphrase from Home Improvement.
    • Ray Combs often compared himself to Barney Rubble. He even sometimes did the character's voice; admittedly, it wasn't half bad.
  • The Show Must Go On: Dawson said in an interview that he absolutely hated stopdowns, and would demand that the staff work around anything that they possibly could so that the studio audience wouldn't lose interest. This led to such oddities as the Fast Money round being played on cue cards because the electronic board went on the fritz.
    • In another example, Dawson was wearing a brace since he had just injured his ribs. The brace started slipping, so he had contestant coordinator Caryn Lucas host a round while he went to adjust it.
    • On the Combs version, the same families competed for at least three days in a row, due to repeated issues with the audience shouting out answers and thus causing rounds to be discarded.
  • Signing Off Catch Phrase:
    • Dawson usually said "Love ya, see ya here on the Feud" while showing the sign language for "I love you".
    • Combs would often say "Have a great day on CBS" at the end of his daytime episodes.
    • Anderson usually signed off with "Be good to your families, come back and see ours."
    • Harvey says "I'm Steve Harvey. We'll see you next time." and does a salute.
  • Spin-Off: Celebrity Family Feud, patterned after the 1976-85 version's frequent nighttime celebrity specials, aired in Summer 2008 with Al Roker as host. The show had to censor an answer within several minutes of the Premiere (a testament to how Roker was as a host: he nicknamed the offending answer "Captain Winky"). This, coupled with the fact that the visiting cast of My Name Is Earl seemed to be intentionally-stupid with their answers and not care about the $50,000 jackpot, equaled a definite Cancellation. note  Steve Harvey would also host a series of primetime Celebrity episodes in 2015 that were better recieved.
  • Spoiler Opening: If Steve Harvey talks to one family and has the team members introduced one by one at the beginning of an episode, it's a good indicator that they won't win any faceoffs, and unless they successfully steal at least twice, probably won't win either, so this is included in the TV airing so viewers can at least meet the family.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: The bane of Steve Harvey's existence. Especially so after he rails against a really stupid answer a contestant gives and yells at the family for applauding it, only for said stupid answer to be on the board. He's been visibly stunned at times, and it's quite obvious this is the "gimmick" producers are going for.
    • For example, when the survey was "Name something that gets passed around". The guy immediately buzzes in with "a joint". What follows is possibly the most hilarious moment in the show's history. It must be seen to be believed.
      • The best part? The only answer worth less than that was "Hat/Collection Plate".
    • Some outright make him facepalm.
    • Fast Money often results in this, with two contestants initially guessing the same stupid or at least unlikely answer before the second thinks of something more obvious (or doesn't). Case in point:
    Grant Denyer: Name something you eat for breakfast that you might also have for dinner.
    Both contestants: Weet-Bix.
  • Syndication Title: When Nighttime Feud with Richard Dawson ended in 1985 (prior to the daytime one) after 8 years, 260 (52 weeks) of its 976 episodes, were reassembled by Viacom (its original syndicator) into a new package called The Best of Family Feud. Before the Game Show Network reruns debuted in 1994, this was how viewers would catch reruns of anything Dawson Feud.
  • That Came Out Wrong: On an ABC Dawson episode, while Dawson was greeting a family, he came to a gentlemen at the end of the row, greeted him, and asked him what he did for a living. The contestant's response? "Well... I'm in young girls' pants ..." He continued to speak as the audience went into an uproar, clarifying that he was in a kids' clothing business.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Inverted with "Name a part of a woman's body that's usually bigger than a man's.", when Harvey was really looking forward to the answers.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Seen regularly on the board since the beginning of the 2011-2012 season. To wit: We've seen "A 'man sausage'," "Man berries," "Guy's 'Soul Pole'," "Ankle Spanker", "Dairy Queens", "Burying the Cane", "My Willing Wiener", and "Meat missile" (all of which should be fairly self-explanatory), but the one that could possibly take the cake is "Blow the butt bugle."
  • What the Hell, Player?: If a contestant gives a very stupid answer, some hosts (read: everyone except Karn) have been known to either call them out for it, or give them a "prize". Before Steve Harvey took over, Richard Dawson was the undisputed king of this.
    • When Anderson hosted the show, if a contestant gave a very stupid answer, they would receive a Dunce Cap for the stupidest answer of the day.
    • Harvey will call the contestant(s) out if they give a very stupid answer. For example:
    Steve: this bad economy, what might Santa have to do to one of his reindeer?
    Michael: Eat one.
    (audience laughs)
    Steve: ...
    (family applauds Michael)
    • Of course, the family gets the last laugh when it's on the board.
    Steve Go get yo' ass over there and you go get your ass over there. I'm gettin' sick of this now, damn it, hell.
    (minute-long "The Reason You Suck" Speech follows)
    • There are times when, due to grouping similar or synonymous answers together, a contestant will give a response that is already showing on the board. Oftentimes Steve Harvey will sarcastically ask them if they think it's up there, patiently waiting until the contestant realizes their mistake. See him in action Here.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Steve Harvey often calls out the survey writers whenever a raunchy question comes up, especially if it forces contestants to think dirty.
  • Younger and Hipper: The reason for the drastic set and theme song change when Dawson returned in 1994, as reasoned by Mark Goodson's son Jonathan, who had become CEO of Mark Goodson Productions upon his father's death in 1992. Notably, Jonathan Goodson did the same thing for 1994's The New Price Is Right for similar reasons. Also one of the reasons behind the 1999 Re Tool seen above.

"Love ya, see you here on the Feud, buh-bye."