‘Family Feud’: How the Show Discreetly Finds 100 People for Its Surveys

One of the most unusual game shows on TV must be Family Feud. Viewers never know what will happen next, and the result is an experience so funny that even celebrities can’t wait to appear on the famous stage. Between the contestants’ unexpected answers and host Steve Harvey’s outsize reactions, Family Feud is one of a kind. But how do the show’s producers come up with so many questions and answers?

The show has a long and unusual history

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Steve Harvey hosts a 2015 episode of ‘Celebrity Family Feud’ | Adam Taylor/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Since its first episode on July 12, 1976, Family Feud has been a fan favorite. It began its reign on ABC, but the network canceled the game show in 1985. That would have been the end, but CBS picked up the series and relaunched it in 1988. There was another break when it went off the air from 1993 to 1999, but it’s been going strong ever since. 

Family Feud has had six hosts along the way, beginning with Richard Dawson. He was known for kissing the women contestants — on the lips — which some viewers didn’t appreciate.

However, when Dawson asked viewers to vote on whether he should continue the kissing, most said yes. It seems to have been a good idea for him because he ended up marrying one of the contestants he kissed. 

Today, Steve Harvey hosts the show, and the comedian keeps contestants and viewers laughing. Fans love when he loses his composure in reaction to the contestants’ answers.

The entire show is unscripted, including Harvey’s jokes. But sometimes the contestants’ off-the-cuff responses are hilarious, especially when they’re blatantly wrong.

The best bad answers on ‘Family Feud’

Some of the funniest moments on Family Feud aren’t the host’s jokes but contestants’ outrageous answers. And when family members let their nerves get the best of them, they blurt out something ridiculous.

Many of these answers are funny just because they’re so wrong. For example, one person was asked to name an animal with three letters in its name. Their response? Frog. 

Another time, the best example of a yellow fruit someone could come up with was “orange.”

And in one episode, a contestant must have misheard the question, “Name a kind of suit that’s not appropriate for the office.” The response was “chicken noodle.”

Where do ‘Family Feud’ questions and answers come from?

How do the show’s producers come up with so many questions and answers for Family Feud? According to Mental Floss, the show’s writers submit about 100 questions daily to the executive producer, Gaby Johnston. She winnows down the choices to 30 or 40 of the best and passes them along to the next step. 

Family Feud uses the polling firm Applied Research-West. It calls people randomly to ask questions. To keep the process discreet, the callers don’t tell the people they speak to that they’re collecting responses for the TV show. In about three weeks, the show uses those questions. 

Family Feud is unlike any other game show, which is why fans adore it. A lot of work goes into preparing for each episode, but once the pieces are in place, anything could happen — and often does. 

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