Family Feud (ABC, 1976-1985, CBS, 1988-1993)
This is another game show that began in America before coming to the UK, but unlike just about the all others that I have reviewed so far, this one is a very-long running and popular show. Family Feud (which was renamed Family Fortunes when it launched in the UK in 1980, because the idea of two teams competing against one another on a game show being described to British viewers as a “feud”, ugh, how ghastly!) launched in the mid-70s. I didn’t know much about the American version beyond the parody in Family Guy, and, as ever, I was intrigued to discover more on YouTube.
The way that Family Feud is played is just about the same as the British version, it’s a simple but effective format that has endured on American TV for many decades. Two related teams of five take part and they have to find the most popular answers to a question in a survey of 100 people. Some things that I definitely noticed as different in this version is that for the first stage of the game the board isn’t computer-generated, and it’s rather strange to not hear the famous incorrect answer sound effect. It does seem that the US version can be as good value for silly answers as the UK version though!
In the next round, the point values are doubled, can you believe it. The first team to get to 300 points makes the final called Fast Money (Big Money in the UK version). If two of the five contestants on the team can score 200 points between them they can win lots of money, ($5,000 in the earliest version, again much more than the 80s UK version could offer) and this version also had returning champions, so five-figure sums were possible to win.
There have been several versions of Family Feud over the years with several hosts, although the basic idea remains the same, and the current version features a lot of questions that seem to be deliberately phrased to practically encourage contestants to offer rude or silly answers leading to loads of daft “you won’t believe what this contestant said!” headlines alongside endless celebrity specials.
As I do enjoy the original version of Family Fortunes, I thought that Family Feud was an interesting variation. It was definitely good seeing the show played with more money on offer, and it’s great to know that the format is as much loved in America as it is in the UK and indeed many other countries around the world. I’ll take a look at some more American game shows soon.