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14 Behind-The-Scenes Stories About 'Family Feud' That The Survey Definitely Never Said

Updated August 11, 2021 6.3k votes 1.1k voters 116.8k views14 items

List RulesVote up the stories about 'Family Feud' that definitely deserve to make the survey.

Classic game shows like Jeopardy!, The Price is Right, and Wheel of Fortune have left us phrasing answers as questions, coming on down, and spinning that wheel alongside contestants for decades. Family Feud has been around just as long, first airing in 1976, and gave us the line "Survey Says!" to be used in all types of settings.

The longevity of the Feud has brought game show hosts like Richard Dawson, Ray Combs, and Louie Anderson to the podium, with Richard Karn, John O'Hurley, and Steve Harvey similarly refereeing the famous family face-off. There was much more going on behind the scenes of Family Feud than viewers realize, with a fair amount of drama at center stage, too.

The things about Family Feud that we never knew could round out numerous surveys. Here are some of the most surprising aspects of the show - vote up the ones that deserve to be at the top of the list. 

  • Photo: ABC Television / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Despite the fact that Richard Dawson had essentially been promised whatever producer Mark Goodson's next project would be (he was a staple on Goodson's Match Game), Dawson almost missed out on Family Feud entirely.

    When Dawson found out that William Shatner was in line to host the show, he went to Goodson directly. At the time, Shatner was married to Perry Lafferty's daughter, Marcy, and Lafferty was the head of CBS. Goodson told Dawson he was welcome to audition, but Lafferty "was the one who was going to make a decision whether this show would go on or not. And he doesn’t have any daughters left for me to marry!"

    Dawson did get the job, and Family Feud producer Howard Felsher described things on the set of the show as relatively calm for the first few years. By 1983, Dawson had become more and more difficult to work with, even banning Felsher from the set. 

    After Family Feud went off the air in 1985, Dawson appeared in movies like The Running Man and had smaller-scale jobs, but for the most part, was retired. When Goodson decided to revive Family Feud in 1988, he was adamant that Dawson would not be brought back. Ray Combs became the host and spent six years on the show. After Combs was fired, Dawson did return - but Goodson had passed by that point and had no say in the matter. 

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  • Video: YouTube

    Steve Harvey took over hosting Family Feud in 2010 and has remained on the show ever since. Ratings improved with him at the helm and the show has also branched out to international versions.

    His time on the Feud has been full of memorable moments, including ones that nearly sent him packing. On one occasion, he let out a "f*ck" when a celebrity contestant gave an absurd answer, while on another occasion he went so far as to threaten to quit when he had to ask contestants: "Name something a cheap person might use their earwax for."

    Harvey proved himself to be someone who really knows "how to handle everyday people," which is why he was chosen for the job. According to a former contestant on Family Feud: 

    Steve is a great guy. The only contact we had was while we were filming. When we lost on the final episode, he pulled me aside as we left and told me I was a bright kid and that I was going places.

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  • Photo: Family Feud / ABC
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    Richard Dawson And Ray Combs Died On The Same Day, 16 Years Apart

    After leaving Family Feud in 1994, Ray Combs's personal and professional lives suffered serious setbacks. A car accident that year left him temporarily paralyzed, but he was able to return to TV in 1995.

    Combs hosted Family Challenge in 1995, but his health problems caused limited mobility. His financial struggles forced him into foreclosure on one of his homes, and his marriage to his wife Debbie was under increasing strain. 

    He was placed in a psychiatric hospital in 1996 after he allegedly tried to take his own life. On June 3, he was found dead in his hospital room, having taken his life during the night before

    On June 2, 2012, Richard Dawson also passed, due to complications of esophageal cancer. He was 79.

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  • Video: YouTube

    Ray Combs was the host of Family Feud during the late 1980s and early '90s. He was at the podium for both the daytime version, called Family Feud, and the primetime show, The Family Feud Challenge, although the latter only ran from 1992 to 1993.

    Combs saw hosting Family Feud as a stepping-stone to bigger things. When he took the hosting gig in 1988, he explained:

    I realized, this was my vehicle... just as Carson had Who Do You Trust? Just as Merv Griffin had another show. Just as Groucho had You Bet Your Life. There’ll be some skeptics until they see it, but they’re going to have to love me. They’re not going to be able not to.

    Things didn't go as well as Combs hoped and, by 1994, he was about to be replaced by the same man who'd been his predecessor: Richard Dawson. In 1994, as Combs exited the show, he did so with gusto, delivering an insult to a contestant as he went. During the "Fast Money" round, Combs told one man whose answers resulted in no points:

    You know, I've done this show for six years and this [is] the first time I had a person that actually got no points and I think it's a damn fine way to go out. Thought I was a loser until you walked up here; you made me feel like a man!

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