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Richard Dawson hosted this TV game-show, which pitted members of two families against each other. Each team tried to guess the results of survey questions faster and more accurately than the other team. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
During one practice of the show, the producers put in a survey question at the end of the game. After the run-through, Michael Brockman went to Mark Goodson and his staff and told them the front part of the game isn't that good, but he thought the survey question was terrific and asked Goodson if he could reformat the game around the survey material. Goodson agreed to change the structure of the game. In the new structure, two families would square off to guess the answers of survey questions, the first team to reach 200 points won the game and had a chance at more money. However, there was controversy over the fairness of the "steal". ABC president Fred Silverman wanted the "steal" to be dropped from the show Goodson however said the "steal" is what makes the game work and is the penalty for not having cleaned the board. In the end Goodson prevailed and the "steal" remained in the game. See more »
Since Family Feud debuted in 1976, it has become of the best game shows of all-time as well as very durable. It's a very simple game and most important, it involves the home audience who can't watch without playing along. Richard Dawson's unique hosting style was also a key to the show's success. His kissing the female contestants was under fire early in the run, but viewer response was strongly in favor of his kissing. The diversity of the families was a positive representation of America's melting pot. Also memorable was announcer Gene Wood's introductions of the families.
In addition to the nine year ABC run, there was a syndicated version that began as a once a week show, expanded to twice a week and eventually Monday through Friday. Also, there were celebrity prime time specials.
As for the Ray Combs version, it went very well until the producers added the Bullseye round, tampering with a great format. Also, the death of creator Mark Goodson and his son Jonathan hiring a consultant to improve the show's ratings by bringing back Dawson didn't do any good. Ray Combs was an outstanding host and he shouldn't have been let go.
The current version fortunately stuck to the basic game but Louie Anderson was terrible as a host, despite his sign off "Be good to your family!" Richard Karn was an improvement over Anderson, despite his inexperience and John O'Hurley is a much better host, keeping the game moving and bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Through all the hosting changes, there has been one constant, the show's announcer, who is one of the best, Burton Richardson.
Hopefully the O'Hurley version will keep the classic game on the air for more years to come.
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