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Trivia / Family Feud

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General trivia:

  • The format for Family Feud was derived from the "Audience Match" Bonus Round on Match Game.
  • Ray Combs and Richard Dawson both died on June 2 — Combs in 1996 from suicide, and Dawson in 2012 from esophageal cancer.
  • Paul Alter gained his fame as a producer and director of the show and in 1987 won Emmy Award for it.
  • The original Family Feud was ABC's longest-running daytime game show; the network hasn't had one since the 1990 version of Match Game ended in 1991.
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  • Said original ABC version was set to end on Friday June 28, 1985, according to newspapers via Associated Press. However, for reasons that remain unclear to this very day, it instead ended two weeks earlier on June 14.

Specific trivia:

  • Actor Allusion: Cedric the Entertainer appeared on Celebrity Feud, and of course, they reminisced and joked about their history together as friends, colleagues, and later, Kings of Comedy.
  • Adored by the Network:
    • All versions, save for Anderson and Roker, have aired religiously on GSN since the very beginning, but the network seems to be taking it to new heights with the Harvey version, which has gotten obscene amounts of ratings for the network since it began airing in March 2012. As a result, it's the only version of Feud to air on the network. Not only does GSN adore the show, but Steve Harvey as well, calling him their "favorite host". As of January 2018, the Harvey version airs roughly 100 times a week on the channel. Holiday marathons have been regulated into showing only Harvey Feud since it started airing.
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    • Any other network that has aired Harvey Family Feud, such as TVLandnote  and BET, pays special attention to it.
    • The Dawson version, for a time, was adored by Buzzr, though not too much anymore.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: It's "survey said", not "says", and it's only ever used in Fast Money (never in the main game). However, this is said in Family Fortunes in all rounds.
  • Edited for Syndication:
    • Originally, some episodes of the Ray Combs version ended with the contestant plug phone numbers being displayed as Ray signed off. In later reruns, this was replaced with a generic pixelated shot of the set and spinning Feud logo superimposing it, with Ray's voice left alone. This practice continued into the Dawson '94 version.
    • First season reruns of the Louie Anderson version edit out part of the end credits (namely the "Recorded at CBS Television City" and "Play Feud online at"), with Louie saying "Hey, you can play Feud online anytime at, get online!"
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    • Repeats of the Karn, O'Hurley and Harvey versions have the closed captioning vamp edited out.
  • Executive Meddling: Each version has seen shades of this.
    • Goodson and Todman wanted Jack Narz to host after their first choice, Geoff Edwards, turned them down.note  ABC Entertainment president Fred Silverman on the other hand pushed for Dawson whose contract at the time stipulated that he could emcee one game show developed by G-T. Goodson tried to avoid Dawson redeeming said clause but Silverman overruled him.
    • Later on, the original version increased the winning goal to $400 in Fall 1984. This wouldn't have been too bad (families tended to score over $400 anyway, and sometimes over $500), but they also added a fourth Single question. The reason for all this was to give Richard Dawson less time in his opening monologues and more time for gameplay, but this resulted in the games running much longer, the later rounds being more rushed, the episodes more subject to editing, and generally further emphasizing the show's age.
    • The reason Dawson wasn't invited to host the 1988 revival. After the backstage troubles Dawson had given the crew during his run, Mark Goodson explicitly refused to work with him ever again and suggested someone else when CBS bought Family Feud from ABC. Though football great Joe Namath was considered, Howard Felsher recommended Ray Combs during the 1987 auditions.
    • Ironically, this was also why Combs was kicked off the show. When the Bullseye round debuted in June 1992, the show had already begun a gradual downhill slide in ratings, but after the round's introduction on the syndicated version that September ratings nosedived even further (see They Changed It, Now It Sucks! on the YMMV page for more info). Instead of canning the round, producers found a way to insert more gimmicks into the show, such as celebrity contestants and special-themed weeks, yet still nothing worked. As a last-ditch effort, Combs was fired and Dawson rehired in 1994, revamping everything cosmetic about the show in addition, in order to try and win over a younger audience. This and the O.J. Simpson trial led viewers away from the series until it was finally killed off mercifully in 1995.
    • Very likely a regular practice in the current syndicated version.
      • Since Double questions returned, the question may be swapped out (or otherwise modified). If a family sweeps the first two rounds, a swept Double will almost always be less than the amount needed to win. If the Singles are split, a swept Double will always be enough for what would've been a winning scenario. If a team does win after the Double, a commercial break is added to the Fast Money round before the second contestant returns to the stage.
      • In past versions, rounds were discarded due to malfunctions (two answers being revealed at once), or outside influence (someone offstage yelling out an answer). In the Harvey era, rounds have been played with no problem, only to be abruptly discarded after the third Strike because not enough points were revealed. This is known to have happened with at least one Single and one Triple, the latter because the points revealed weren't enough to win and the opponents had 0 (although the reason cited was "not wanting to look like they were showing favoritism").
      • At least one team in the Karn era has entered sudden death with 0, and Richard himself stated that they would need to find the #1 answer for two sudden death questions to win the game.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Karn's run was sometimes referred to as "Flannel Feud", a reference to his typical outfit as Al Borland on Home Improvement.
    • "Phallic Feud" has been an increasingly common nickname for Harvey's run due to the show's gratuitous sex-themed questions.
    • Family Feud PM for the 1977-1985 Syndicated run.
  • Hey, It's That Sound!:
    • The answer-reveal sound in Fast Money, first used on the Combs version, was previously used on Trivia Trap.
    • Blurring the line between this trope and Recycled Soundtrack, the last bar of the original Feud theme is also used to introduce Grand Game on The Price Is Right, and was a victory cue on the aforementioned Trivia Trap.
    • The faceoff podium "ring-in" sound was later used on Child's Play and Bruce Forsyth's Hot Streak.
  • Hostility on the Set: Dawson was known for constantly being bitter and egotistical for most of the show's run, particularly in the later years. Mark Goodson later said that Dawson gave him tsoris (Yiddish for "trouble").
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • Both the Dawson and Combs versions ran on GSN for many years as companion pieces to one another before the Combs version was dropped from the network in the mid-2000s, with the Dawson version following suit some years later. They used to air regularly on Buzzr, although the Dawson version now airs in the most dead of hours. The network was slow to pick up the Combs episodes for a while before dropping that version all together..
      • In regards to GSN, episodes featuring the Bullseye round were rare even while the Combs era was running regularly. Family Feud Challenge hasn't been seen on the network (or at all outside of YouTube) since before the Dark Period. New Family Feud (Combs' last two syndicated seasons, with the Bullseye game) was last seen on the network in 2008, but has since also been aired sporadically on Buzzr.
    • In a case of Vindicated by History, the 1994-95 Dawson season has become one of the most highly-requested programs to air on GSN and Buzzr, partially due to this. It aired regularly on Game Show Network during its "Dark Period" from 1997-98 and disappeared sometime before 2000; its last television airing to date was an episode featuring Carol Burnett and Betty White that aired on Buzzr in 2019.
    • Louie Anderson's version was rerun on PAX from 2002-04 and was only ever seen on GSN once, as part of a Feud marathon aired during Thanksgiving 2013. It too would find a home on Buzzr, in November 2017, though it didn't last long on the network.
    • Richard Karn's version aired on the network beginning in 2007, with John O'Hurley's version coming to the network a year later. Both were dropped in the middle of the The New '10s.
    • Exactly one episode of the 2008 Celebrity Family Feud has been rerun; GSN aired it during the aforementioned Thanksgiving 2013 marathon.
  • Long-Runners: All together, Family Feud has been on the air for 45 years, save for a three-year hiatus from 1985-1988 and a four-year break from 1995-1999. Two different versions have ran concurrently from 1977-1985, 1988-1993 and 2015 onward.
    • Although it's on its fourth host, the current revival has lasted longer than both Richard Dawson and Ray Combs' tenures combined. It's easy to forget this version of the show started back in 1999.
    • Despite being surpassed by the current Syndicated run, the original ABC run lasted for almost 9 long years. The final episode tally for all three editions that were produced during the '76-'85 run were as follows: 2,311 half-hour ABC episodes, 976 half-hour Syndicated episodes, and 17 one-hour ABC Primetime episodes.
  • Missing Episode: For some reason, any episodes of the original Richard Dawson version with stars from ABC Soaps playing the game aren't included in Buzzr's rerun rotation.
  • No Budget: Feud has had its share of budget problems.
    • The first sign of this came in 1992 on both the network and syndicated versions. This was when the main game was first played for points instead of cash, and it has been ever since. Also, instead of playing for $5,000 or $10,000 in Fast Money, depending on the version, this changed to base values of $2,500 or $5,000 if one team failed to get any top answers in Bullseye. The 1994-95 season, which had the Bankroll round instead of Bullseye, had this even worse with the maximum potential jackpot decreasing to $7,000 (instead of $10,000) or $14,000 (instead of $20,000).
    • The current syndicated version screams of this.
      • The first two seasons which Anderson hosted had $10,000 as the Fast Money grand prize, which by 2001 had 34% of the buying power it had in 1977. Starting with the third season, which would be Anderson's last, the jackpot was increased to $20,000 which is still the grand prize to this day (if you don't count the one season where Bullseye returned).
      • If you win Fast Money at any point on the Harvey version, expect any return trips to consist of much harder questions. The number of families that have won even $40,000 in the current run is quite low. The fact that they tweak the difficulty of Fast Money became even more obvious during the Big Money Tournament, where Fast Money wins built the jackpot; it easily reached its potential $160,000 maximum, with quite a few #1 answers being worth over 40 or 50 points.
      • Since the very beginning, Fast Money losses have been $5 a point which has only a fifth of buying power in 2021 as it did in 1976. To put this in perspective, a single contestant who finishes in third on Jeopardy! can win more money than a family who loses Fast Money on their first appearance and gets defeated in their second game. Of course, that money has to be split among five people...
      • Since the Bullseye round was introduced in 1992, the main game has no longer been played for money, but for points. The original reason for this was to reallocate the budget previously used for main game winnings for the new potential top prize jackpot. Main game values have still been in points ever since, however, long after the Bullseye round was discarded, rendering the usage of "points" practically pointless other than for tradition's sake.
      • The staff only seems to want to pay royalties to a few snippets of the remixed Combs theme, resulting in the same loops being played every time it's used. It gets worse as none of the original Face-Off cues are even used. The music package's use during Karn's first season averted this particular aspect, with the entire Combs theme used in the intro and one original face-off cue even getting a remix.
      • Using a pre-recorded introduction and closed captioning plug instead of having a real announcer in the studio when it worked fine for Burton Richardson in the pre-Harvey era.
  • Old Shame: Since Steve Harvey gained popularity, Fremantle has been trying very hard to hide the versions hosted by other hosts. Perhaps justified with Anderson and Karn as their runs aren't that well-liked by the fan base. Dawson's original run is the only version to air on Buzzr, although it now airs in the most dead of hours. They also put a little-known blooper on their official YouTube channel the day after he died, likely out of pity. Dawson's 1994 return disappeared from GSN before 2000 and has come back sporadically (a pity airing after Dawson’s death, the 2013 Thanksgiving marathon, and the Halloween episode in a 2016 marathon as well as the Burnett vs. White episode on Buzzr).
  • Real Song Theme Tune:
    • Christmas episodes during the Combs run, right up until Family Feud Challenge, featured the Boston Pops' "Sleigh Ride" in the intro and at the end.
    • A special 1991 "Beauties vs. Beasts" week, featuring models playing against professional wrestlers, used Al Capps' "Olympic Fanfare" in the intro.
  • Recursive Import: The original Theme Tune was a remix of a new-car cue on The Price Is Right. Price has since used the last few bars as an introductory sting for the Grand Game.
  • Recycled Set: The same set from the original Dawson versions was used for the Combs version, with updated displays and a new color scheme. The 1994-95 set was a repainted and refurbished version of the set used when New Family Feud went to Opryland U.S.A. in 1993.
  • Screwed by the Network: Though it was far from the only problem this version had, Dawson '94 suffered from frequent pre-emptions due to the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
  • Scully Box:
    • On a Super Bowl Special, Ray stood on a folding chair from backstage and risked hitting his head against the game board in an effort to make himself the same height as the football players.
    • On a week-long Soap Opera special on the Anderson version, Josh Ryan Evans from Passions (who was only 3'2" due to dwarfism) stood on two of these: one for the contestant lecterns and the other to reach the Face-Off podium.
  • Throw It In!: The pre-1994 versions had three small lights situated high above each family's nameplate that indicated the number of Strikes a team had on any given question. For one set of Combs-hosted tapings from early 1992 (just before Bullseye was added to the game), the lights malfunctioned. The team members who played on those episodes were given sticks with the Strike logo on them, which they would hold up any time they got a Strike. These sticks were kept on for a few more weeks due to their usefulness, even after the lights had been fixed.
  • Troubled Production: Richard Dawson was constantly at odds with both Mark Goodson and show producer Howard Felsher, even barring the latter from the set.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • In a 2011 interview, Richard Dawson said that William Shatner had gotten a crack.
      • Shatner reportedly was the original choice and Goodson-Todman had no interest in Dawson until Dawson's agent threatened to have Dawson no longer say anything on Match Game. (Granted, that's pretty much how Dawson behaved AFTER he got the Family Feud job...)
    • On the newsgroup, Geoff Edwards confirmed that he had been tapped to host the original Feud, but declined for two reasons: one was that at the time, he had a deal pending with Bob Stewart for what became Shoot for the Stars on NBC; the other was that he'd seen The Neighbors and thought Feud would've been like that. After Edwards bailed, Goodson and Todman pushed for Jack Narz to host before ABC Entertainment president Fred Silverman countered with Dawson.
    • In late 1982, The Great Game Company (which would later become GameTek) announced plans to adapt seven game shows into video games for the Atari 2600, Feud among them. Unfortunately, they were being developed just as The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 started and the plans were put to an abrupt end. Of the seven games, only Feud got far enough for a prototype which is presumed to be lost.
    • Richard Dawson's contract was originally extended through the end of 1985. Competition from Wheel of Fortune influenced the staff to make a last-ditch effort by introducing a $400-goal. Ratings nose-dived even further to the point where the series was cancelled six months before Dawson could renew his contract.
    • Joe Namath tried out for the revival that ended up being hosted by Ray Combs.
    • The original Ray Combs pilot from August 1987 contains a few - most notably, losses in Fast Money would've been $10 a point.
    • Believe it or not, Family Feud Challenge had three pilots, all taped in 1992 and containing a huge amount of differences from the eventual finished product:
      • The Bullseye round was played with a drastically different set of rules. The main gimmick of "hitting the Bullseye" with #1 answers, the bank being built up for Fast Money, and (a form of) the Bullseye board were the only things that carried over. Instead of each family member facing off at the podium to give the #1 answer, each family got their own individual set of five questions, and each member was asked a question of their own. Further, the #1 answer for each question was worth the same amount of money - $1,000 - and wasn't the only answer on the board, with the #2 and #3 answers below the #1 answer for $500 and $250, respectively. (Coincidentally, this made the game seem more similar to the Audience Match on Match Game that spun off Family Feud in the first place.)
      • The main game "points" in each individual survey were still in dollars, not points.
      • The second half, the "high stakes championship match", saw no Bullseye round played at the start, but all main-game values were instead multiplied by multiples of 10 (e.g. the first round's points were multiplied by 10, the second round's by 20, etc.) to become the family's Fast Money bank in its stead. The families then played the game-deciding Bullseye round at the end; whoever had the bigger bank won the game.
    • Dolly Parton did a pilot for what ended up being the 1999 revival, but didn't make the cut.
    • John O'Hurley was approached to host the 2008 Celebrity Family Feud. He declined in favor of participating in Secret Talents of the Stars, which wound up tanking after one episode.
    • The show experienced a high staff turnover upon moving from Los Angeles to Universal Studios in 2010. Burton Richardson was offered to come along for the ride but turned it down, ostensibly because of the commute he would have had to take.
  • Written-In Infirmity:
    • For two weeks in 1978, Richard Dawson wore tinted glasses after scratching his eye. He did likewise on Match Game at the same time.
    • One of Ray Combs' fingers was in a cast during a taping session; he had previously injured it playing baseball.


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