In 2013, TV Guide gave Family Feud third spot on its list of 60 Greatest Game Shows of all Time. The first episode of Family Feud aired on July 12, 1976, on ABC, with Richard Dawson as the host. Dawson hosted the show for 9 years until 1985. In 1988, CBS revived the show with Ray Combs playing the host. However, in 1994, Dawson replaced Combs and continued to be the Family Feud host until 1995, when the show went off the air once again.
Family Feud then made a comeback in 1999 with Louie Anderson serving as the host until 2002. Louie was replaced by Richard Karn in 2002 and Karn, in turn, was replaced by John O’Hurley in 2006. In 2010, Steve Harvey joined Family Feud as its host and continues to host the show to this day. Under Harvey, the Neilsen ratings of the show have gone significantly higher and the show is now one of the most popular game shows in the country. Though Steve Harvey has the highest number of single consecutive tenures to his credit, Dawson continues to be the host who has hosted the maximum number of episodes. More importantly, of all the six hosts, Dawson is the one with the maximum number of controversies to his credit.
In this video, we will tell you about the different Dawson controversies as well as some interesting facts about Family Feud and its various hosts.
Facts Verse Presents Richard Dawson Ruined Family Feud. Before we go ahead and share with you these controversies and fun facts, we want to remind you to like and subscribe to our channel and press the bell icon to stay updated about all our latest videos.
Here’s How Richard Dawson Ruined Family Feud
Other than being incredibly handsome, Richard Dawson was also an intriguing man in every way. Back in the 1970s, game show hosts generally maintained a serious demeanor and did not dilly-dally with contestants. Dawson, on the other hand, was the exact opposite of how a game show host was expected to be. He kissed all his female contestants on their lips.
Apparently, Dawson had an interesting story behind this. In one of the interviews, Dawson reiterated a story from the first season. He was shooting an episode with a very nervous female contestant. Dawson wanted to comfort the contestant and therefore, he grabbed her shaking hands and told her she was in a game show and not going for open-heart surgery. However, the contestant did not find much comfort in Dawson’s words and her body kept shaking vigorously. Dawson, therefore, did what his mom used to do to calm him down — he kissed her on the cheek. After this, Dawson started welcoming his female contestants with a kiss on the hand or the cheeks, and eventually, he started kissing them on their mouths.
Before we tell you about the audience’s reaction to this bizarre Dawson tradition, we want to remind you to like and subscribe to our channel and press the bell icon to stay tuned about all our latest videos.
This practice of kissing female contestants did not go well with many of the audience members, who absolutely hated Dawson’s liberal kisses. Only after a month or so after Dawson started his kissing ritual, many of the show’s viewers began complaining that the kissing bit stopped the show from being a family watch. More importantly, Dawson did not care whether a woman was married or not — he kissed them all, which made this tradition even more objectionable to some people. Thus, the producers of the show decided to put an end to Dawson’s kissing game. The makers of the show called Dawson and informed him about the complaints from the viewers. More importantly, they also informed Dawson if he did not stop kissing women, the show would lose many big sponsors.
In response to this, Dawson launched a casual survey on his show. He asked his viewers to vote, based on their opinion, in favor of or against his ritual of kissing female contestants. A total of 14,600 viewers voted in favor of Dawson kissing female participants and 704 viewers voted against this habit of Dawson’s. Though the survey settled the debate back then, it certainly left the makers of the show as well as the sponsors squirming and blazing. More importantly, Dawson’s habit of kissing the contestants continued to be a controversial topic throughout his stint as the game show host.
And then, in 1981, 24-year-old Gretchen Johnson appeared on the show and Dawson was completely smitten by her, so much so that during the taping of the episode, the game show host ended up kissing Gretchen a total of four times, which was a lot. This was the 80s and such openness was unwelcomed. If the kissing wasn’t enough, at the end of the episode, Dawson asked Gretchen for her number, and Gretchen, very smartly, left her with a fake one. Dawson then tracked her down and convinced her to go on a date with him. Dawson was 49 at the time and Gretchen was only 24. Once again, inadvertently and unknowingly, Dawson had thrown himself in the face of another storm. The viewers of the show were not okay with the host dating such a young woman. However, Dawson had never really cared about what others said or thought of him and he went ahead and married Gretchen in 1985.
Dawson’s kissing and dating life caused considerable damage to the image of the show. However, if that wasn’t enough, Dawson also maintained a rather rude attitude towards the show’s sponsors. During his stint as the game show host, Dawson would often make anti-Nixon jokes. Apparently, this did not go well with some of the sponsors, who complained to the show’s makers. When Dawson came to know about this, he went on-air and told the sponsors that they were welcome to pull out since Dawson wasn’t planning on stopping the anti-Nixon jokes anytime soon. Well, of course, this did not go well with the sponsors. Safe to say, Dawson’s attitude cost the show many sponsors, time and again.
Dawson has the credit of hosting the maximum number of episodes of the Family Feud and while he was a charming host, he was also very stubborn very often. Unfortunately, this stubbornness wasn’t good for the show. During his tenure as the Family Feud host, Dawson did many things and took many decisions that were controversial and harmed the image of the show.
Now that we have given you our take on how Richard Dawson ruined Family Feud, let us tell you some more interesting facts about the show.
A Good Host Is Everything to a Game Show
The host sets the tone and mood for any game show. Contestants take their cue from him/her in terms of how to behave and what’s considered acceptable. For example, Ray Combs was warm, funny, and witty; on the other hand, Richard Dawson was charismatic but inappropriate. John O’Hurley also did a great job – funny but not too loud and outgoing yet professional.
From a viewer perspective, the host is the one who most appeals to you and keeps you hooked. But Family Feud’s producers attribute the show’s success to the risqué questions. When you think of it, it does make a lot of sense. The questions are designed to incite the funniest responses that have everyone cracking up. For instance, one contestant was asked what a rabbit might do in a magician’s hat; her answer was ‘fly away’!
Survey Respondents Are Unaware the Questions Are for Family Feud
Family Feud’s questions are based on survey questions, and interestingly, those responding to the survey are not aware that the results are used on the show. As per the Wall Street Journal, the show uses a polling agency, Applied Research-West, to conduct the surveys. Each phone survey has about 30-40 questions, which are picked from a set of 100, which in turn is created by the show’s writers and consultants on a daily basis.
Host Louie Anderson Got the Producers to Increase the Prize Money
The prize for the ‘Fast Money’ round on Family Feud was $10,000 until 2001. The then host, Louie Anderson, managed to convince the producers to double the prize money to $20,000. He was an ardent fan of the show much before he went on to host it, and he believed that viewers live vicariously through the show. And of course, everyone’s always rooting for contestants, hoping that they win big.
Be Over-The-Top If You Want a Spot
A lot of families would love to be on Family Feud, and what’s not to love? You get to be on TV, and you have a chance to make big money real quick. The number of people interested in participating begs the question as to who gets picked. Sara Dansby, co-executive producer and head of casting, sheds light on this through the show’s website. She stresses that being energetic is a big plus, and you want to get the loudest and most outgoing members of your family on your team. The show loves energy, and in this case, over the top is the way to go.
As a Host, You Hear a Lot of Dumb Answers
All of the hosts on the show have heard some hilarious answers. On the show Late Night With Seth Meyers, Steve Harvey was asked what the stupidest answer he had heard on the show was. Harvey promptly replied that when asked what’s the most unexpected thing a robber would hate to run into in your house, a contestant replied, ‘a naked grandma.’
In another instance, a contestant who was asked to name a word that followed the word ‘pork’ answered ‘upine.’ Another great example can be the episode where a contestant was asked to name a type of bear, and he said ‘papa.’
Family Feud Is Global and No Longer Just American
The overwhelming response to Family Feud prompted the show’s expansion to different countries. The gameshow format has now been used in around 70 countries, spanning a wide range of languages. Fremantle Ltd still handles most of the international productions. Most recently, Family Feud started in South Africa on April 5, 2020, hosted by none other than Steve Harvey. Prior to that, the show’s English version in Canada went on air in 2019. In the same year, the game show was aired for the first time ever in Jordan and Norway.
So, did you enjoy this video? Do you remember Dawson hosting the show? Did you support his kissing ritual or were you against it? Who is your favorite Family Feud host so far? Please do let us know in the comments sections.
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