America's silliest question and answer game has a special spot in our hearts.
Since 1976, the show has been entertaining us with really dumb answers (even though we probably couldn't do any better). If you watch Family Feud every day, you may be surprised by these 11 secrets about the show.
1. Boring families need not apply
“There’s no such thing as too over-the-top,” she explained. “Pick the most outgoing members of the family when putting together your team. We love loud and energetic contestants.”
2. They cut out a lot of wrong answers
Each round begins with a face-off question where members of the competing families go head-to-head. What you don't see on TV is that both players will often get a wrong answer.
If neither player gets their team on the board, both of them go back to their original positions, and they re-start the round with a new question, like nothing ever happened.
3. There's a practice episode for both teams
Like Wheel of Fortune, the format of Family Feud can be a little complicated. To get players warmed up and familiar with the studio, both teams play a practice game on the set. There's even a stand-in Steve Harvey who hosts the phony game.
4. Thank a host for raising the grand prize value
Older viewers will remember the Fast Money round used to award just $10,000. Producers didn't want to raise the show's grand prize until host Louie Anderson insisted.
Anderson grew up watching the show, and understood why people tune in at home: to see families win big bucks. "You’re rooting for those people who are playing, you really are,” he said.
5. They don't tell you the survey is for Family Feud
Have you ever been called by Applied Research-West on the telephone? That's the firm that takes the polls for Family Feud. They usually call and ask 30-40 questions which appear on the show in a month or less.
The bland name keeps people from giving really outrageous answers just to throw off the show.
6. A host got in trouble for his kissing habit
As the show's host in the '70s, Richard Dawson was known for his bizarre habit of kissing the female contestants. Complaints poured in about Dawson's behavior, and the host was forced to poll the audience to ask if he should stop.
The show's producer, Howard Felsher, told The Washington Post, “I don't remember the exact totals, but it was something like 14,000 who said ‘kiss’ and 300 or 400 who said ‘don't kiss.’ It was that lopsided.”
7. But Dawson said he smooched for a purpose
To defend himself against the kissing backlash, Dawson revealed the first time he kissed a contestant:
I got to a lady and I could see her hands just shaking, so I always grabbed a hand and said 'it’s not open heart surgery.'
She’s still shaking, so I’m going to do something that my mom would do to me whenever I had a problem of any kind. I kissed her on the cheek and I said ‘That’s for luck’ and she said ‘Asparagus.’ It’s like I whispered in her ear, but you can see I didn’t.
8. And he never stopped kissing one contestant
Dawson met his second wife, Gretchen Johnson, when she competed on the show in 1981. Their relationship began with a kiss, and they were married in 1991, staying together until his death in 2012.
Johnson's family also took home $12,659, so it was a real win-win.
9. The show settled a real-life family feud
The famous feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families, which dates back to the Civil War, was finally settled on a 1979 episode of the game show. Sort of.
The Hatfields won more prize money, while the McCoys won three of the five games the families played. In the end, the McCoys took home the live pig that was the episode's grand prize.
10. Steve Harvey has heard a lot of dumb answers
As the show's host since 2010, Harvey has heard enough silly responses to fill a book. But he also knows which answers are his favorite.
One was an answer for "Name a word that follows pork." A contest answered "cupine," as in pork-cupine.
But, as Harvey reveals in this video, one contestant had an even more bizarre answer:
11. Steve Harvey is not interested in signing autographs
The game show host is apparently a little tired of "surprise" run-ins with the show's cast, crew, and contestants. A memo Harvey shared with his crew last year went viral and made things pretty clear:
There will be no meetings in my dressing room. No stopping by or popping in. NO ONE. Do not come to my dressing room unless invited.
The host explained that he was just "seeking more free time for me throughout the day," but we hope his crew got the message.
Do you have a favorite answer from Family Feud?