How Long Has Steve Harvey Hosted ‘Family Feud’?

It’s hard to believe that several generations exist who’ve grown up watching Family Feud, either in its original ABC days, or in syndication. It’s now strictly a syndicated show with Steve Harvey as the host. He’s still on the heels of the original and most iconic host, Richard Dawson.

Forty-four years have passed since the show originally debuted with Dawson on ABC, including a syndicated version simultaneously. If one only considers Dawson the definitive star, it’s worth reiterating the show has seen five other hosts over the years before Harvey began.

Nowadays, many consider Harvey to be the second-best host in the game show’s history. The amount of years he’s hosted will probably surprise you. Also, he’s about to break the record for Dawson’s time hosting.

It’s been a decade since Steve Harvey began hosting ‘Family Feud’

Steve Harvey speaks onstage
Steve Harvey | Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Those who can only remember back one decade at a time might remember when Harvey first began as Family Feud host after actor John O’Hurley stepped down. Latter had hosted the show from 2006-2010 after a string of unusual hosts in years prior.

At the time of Harvey taking over, the comedian was known primarily for his sitcom and standup comedy tours. Little did anyone know he’d become one of the most respected and ubiquitous TV hosts of the decade and the next.

Not that many skeptics didn’t think Harvey would ever surpass the comedic wit of Dawson. Even if Dawson’s famous kisses of women contestants wouldn’t fly in today’s time, he hosted the show from 1976 to 1985, then a brief time back in 1994.

In total, it was a decade, currently matching Harvey’s run. It’s in stark comparison to many of the other prior hosts who were far less popular.

A quick look back at prior ‘Family Feud’ hosts since the ’80s

The immediate successor to Dawson was comedian Ray Combs. This comic had the unfortunate turn of having to follow Dawson three year after the latter’s exit.

While it kept the show going for seven more years, not everyone thought Combs was the perfect host. All the fun and games didn’t give the reality of Combs’ fight with depression. He committed suicide two years after his hosting run on Family Feud ended in 1994, with some saying his firing precipitated his mental decline.

This tragedy didn’t keep the show from reviving. In 1999, it was rebooted again with Louie Anderson as host. Everyone knows Anderson as being a great standup comedian, but not everyone loved him in the Family Feud role.

Richard Karn, John O’Hurley, and Al Roker followed into the early 2000s, paving the way to Harvey. Now it all comes down to how long Harvey wants to stick around at this iconic game show. Based on how continually popular he is in reacting to absurd situations, it might be another decade to go.

‘Family Feud’ works when the host reacts to the hilarious survey answers

As time goes on, the contestants guessing answers to the survey questions seem to become funnier. Usually this happens when celebrity teams are playing, though it also occurs with regular contestants.

Thanks to Harvey being the best reactor to situations in the world (hence many memes on social media), he was born for this hosting role. More classic moments have already occurred in the Harvey era of Family Feud than even Dawson had in his time there.

How long Harvey will want to stay will depend on the public’s mood. Since he’s seen virtually everywhere the last five years, public burnout is always a risk. Also, with Harvey’s talk show being canceled last year, it doesn’t mean he’s not vulnerable with his game show duties.

One can still argue his Family Feud stint is the best thing he’s doing right now in showing off his affability and comedy skills, all within 30 minutes.