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Family Feud
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Family Feud

Family Feud is a popular television game show in the USA that pits two families against each other in a quiz format.

Broadcast history

The longest running and most popular version of the show was hosted by Richard Dawson. It debuted on ABC on July 12, 1976, and a nighttime syndicated version debuted in September 1977. The game was based on the bonus game portion of another popular game show, Match Game. Dawson was a regular panelist on that show and was most frequently consulted by contestants for aid in naming the most popular response to a prompt.

The first pilot in 1975 had a similar set to the 1976 version. The carpeting, podiums, and answer board were different but the theme song, cues, and the doors on the sides along with the orange background were the same.

Family Feud was the highest-rated daytime game show for two seasons (1977-78 and 1978-79) until The Price is Right surpassed it. It was also the highest-rated syndicated game show from 1978 until 1984, when Wheel of Fortune took over the top spot. During the height of the show's popularity, ABC ran several prime time specials where teams of celebrities -- often the cast members of a television show -- played the game for charity.

The last ABC episode aired on June 14, 1985, and the syndicated version ended that September.

On July 4, 1988, the show was brought back by CBS, and a syndicated version premiered with host Ray Combs shortly afterward. The CBS version was expanded from 30 minutes to one hour on June 29, 1992, and renamed "The New Family Feud Challenge." It was cancelled on September 10, 1993. Dawson became host of the syndicated version in 1994 but the show only lasted one more season with him as host. Sadly, Combs committed suicide in 1996.

In 1999 a third version premiered in syndication with host Louie Anderson. In 2002 Anderson was replaced as host by Richard Karn.

Gene Wood was the original announcer of Family Feud, with Johnny Gilbert, Charlie O'Donnell, Bob Hilton, Art James, and Rod Roddy filling in on occasion. Burton Richardson has been the show's announcer since 1999.

Rules of the game

Representatives of the family are posed questions that have already been answered by 100 persons. An answer is considered correct if at least two people in the survey had answered the question in the same way, with more points given for answers that had been given by more persons (one point per person).

The participants are not asked questions about what is true or how things really are. They are asked questions about what other people think are true. This sometimes gives funny distortions. For example, in a question about "which TV shows are live," none of the families in a certain show replied "game shows", while this answer was provided by many of the people polled earlier. This is because, as participants, they knew that their show, at least, was being pre-recorded for later broadcasting, while most people do not realize that TV games are usually not live. Someone once commented that Family Feud measures the social fitness of contestants.

Main game

Two family members face off to see who would gain control of that particular question. Whoever guesses the more popular answer on the survey has the option to play the question or pass it to the other family. If a family guessed an answer that was not on the board, they would get a "strike"; three "strikes" would cause the family to relinquish control of the board. The other family then gets the chance to steal the points in the bank if they guessed one of the remaining answers. Questions are played for double and triple points toward the end of the game.

Fast Money round

The winner of the game goes on to play the Fast Money round, where the host asks two different family members the same five survey questions (duplicate answers are not allowed; the host asks for another answer if a duplicate is given). If one or both family members accumulate a total of at least 200 points, the family wins the top prize; if they score less than 200, they earn $5 for every point. From the show's beginning until 1992, the top prize a family could win in Fast Money was $5,000 on the daytime version and $10,000 on the syndicated version.

Rule changes

In the original version of the show, the first team to score a total of 200 points was the winner of the game. After a few years the target score was increased to 300, and during the last season that Richard Dawson hosted, the target score was 400.

The "play or pass" option was eliminated when the show was revived in 1988, and the target score to win the game was reduced to 300 points.

In 1992, a "bullseye" round -- where contestants tried to build up the amount of money they could win in Fast Money -- was added to the show. The jackpots for both families started at $5,000 and could go up to $20,000 by guessing the most popular answers to all five questions in a face-off round that preceded the regular first round.

When the show was revived in 1999, the "bullseye" round was eliminated and the "play or pass" option was reinstated. Three regular rounds were played, and a fourth round was played for triple points -- but the family in control would only get one strike before they lost control. Some felt that this rule was unfair, as a family who won the first three rounds could still lose the game in the fourth round. The one-strike rule was eliminated in the fall of 2003, and the format of the game reverted to that of the previous versions, where the first family to score 300 points wins. If neither family scores 300 points after four rounds (including one round in which points are doubled, and one round in which points are tripled), a "sudden death" face-off is held in which the first person to ring in and guess the number one answer wins the game for their family.

In 2001 the top prize in Fast Money was doubled from $10,000 to $20,000.

Versions outside the USA

The Australian version aired on the Nine Network from 1977-1984 and was hosted by Tony Barber, Daryl Somers, and Sandy Scott. It was revived on the Seven Network in 1989 and aired until 1996. It was hosted by Rob Brough. A celebrity version aired in primetime in 1990-1991.

The British version of the show, which started in 1978, is called Family Fortunes. The producers reportedly claimed that they considered the word "feud" too confrontational. It has been hosted by Bob Monkhouse (until 1985), Max Bygraves (until 1987), and then Les Dennis before the show was moved to daytime (in 2002) with Andy Collins as host.

The French-Canadian version is called La Guerre des clans ("War of the clans").

The title of the French version, Une famille en or, means (literally) "a golden family" and (figuratively) "a family to treasure".

The German version is called Familienduell ("Family Duel"). The host was Werner Schulze-Erdel. The show was cancelled in 2003 because of low ratings.

A Mexican version of this show is called 100 Mexicanos Dijeron, which means "100 Mexicans Said".

The Polish version is called Familiada (a merging of the words familia and olimpiada (i.e. "Family Olympics"). The host is Karol Strasburger, a popular actor.

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