Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. More often than not, Americans are interested in seeing how their favorite game shows are doing abroad. Formats that are popular in this country are often exported to other countries, but you already knew that. One of those countries is Australia, the land “down under” and home to a good friend of mine, Cameron Shields. Where one name reigns supreme in game shows, and that name is Grundy. One of that company’s formats I’d like to mention is Family Feud. A revival of the show launched recently on the Ten Network, and here is the first episode. I would show it to you, but FremantleMedia Australia has put a copyright claim on it.
Before I give my opinion on this new version, I think you should know about the previous ones.
Family Feud premiered on the Nine Network in 1977, less than one year after the American version. Tony Barber, the man who would later go on to be “Mr. $ale of the Century”, hosted for the first three years. The gameplay was nearly identical to ours, with the exception of the prizes for Fast Money. In America, it was $5,000 ($10,000 in syndication) in cash for reaching 200 points (or $5 a point for anything under 200 points). In Australia, it was a prize package worth over AU$8,000 for reaching 200 and jack squat for going under 200.
In 1980, Tony left the show in the capable hands of Hey Hey It’s Saturday’s Daryl Somers. And here’s an episode of his so you know how well he did.
Nice safe choice, I’d say. He lasted until 1984, when Sandy Scott ( a Canadian professional wrestler who won the IWA World Tag Team Championship in Australia three times with his brother between 1966 and 1968) replaced him. The show was soon cancelled. Yes, Australia had their own Rolf Benirschke five years before America had theirs. And it wasn’t even the same show.
Fast forward to 1988, in a move that parallels that of the American version. Just as Ray Combs replaced Richard Dawson when the American Feud moved to CBS, Rob Brough replaced Sandy when the Aussie version moved to the Seven Network. The prize was upped as well by adding a cash jackpot that started at AU$2,000 and went up by AU$1,000 a night until won. Here’s an example of a 1993 Fast Money and a 1994 episode.
Rob lasted for seven years, when he was replaced by John Deeks, who was one of the most recognizable voices in Australia. I would compare him to Jack Clark, in fact.
Now I don’t know where the AU$5,000 gold and the trip to London referenced here fit in. If anyone does know, I’ll be happy to edit it in.
It went off the air for an entire decade until Nine brought it back with Bert Newton at the helm. Now, for those of you who aren’t Australian, Bert Newton could best be described as the equivalent of Bob Barker or Peter Marshall. The man was everywhere, hosting morning talk shows, playing second banana to American Don Lane and Graham Kennedy, and in general gracing TV screens and phonographs with his wife, Patti. And he’s still working. He even made an appearance on their version of Big Brother last year.
I digress. What really set this 2006 version of Feud apart, aside from Bert himself and the “Mad Mondays” (where celebrities or people dressed in costumes played), was the prize money. Depending on how many #1 answers the first player scored in Fast Money, a family could play for as much as AU$100,000. Just watch a few episodes and you’ll see.
Out of the three versions of the Aussie Feud, I like this one the best. Not just for the big cash prize, but also because Bert Newton is so gosh-darn entertaining. He’s an entertainer, first and foremost. You know when you’re watching him, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. It’s a shame the show didn’t last as long as it did.
That brings me to 2014 and this current version. I saw the premiere and I could not wait for it to end. Grant Denyer, who previous to this point had raced cars and walked away from Million Dollar Minute, is trying to be charming and witty. I’ve discussed this with my friend from Oz, Cameron Shields, who has told me that Ten is trying to copy the formula used by the Steve Harvey version here. Here are some clips.
Ladies and gentlemen, the spirit of Steve Harvey’s Feud has indeed gone down to the Southern Hemisphere and put itself at 6 PM against the news. I should take the advice of LMFAO and stop because hating is bad. However, I would not watch this show. I’m still holding out for a $ale revival.