Back in 2002, The E! True Hollywood Story did a two-hour program on the game show Family Feud, whose hosts dealt with extortion, womanizing, bankruptcy, divorce, and suicide. It was dubbed the “curse of the Family Feud hosts”.
Well, the curse has struck again! – somewhat. And unlike the Tonight Show situation, no one is getting stabbed in the back to reclaim his job.
John O’Hurley, the actor and comedian who has hosted the game show for four years has stepped down to focus more on the stage, which includes a touring production of Chicago. In comes Steve Harvey, who becomes the sixth host in the show’s history (and the first African-American), which dates back to 1976. There have been very few black game show hosts – only Nipsey Russell (Juvenile Jury), Amhad Rashad (Caesar’s Challenge) and Lynn Swann (To Tell The Truth) has emceed game shows. In 2008, Al Roker hosted a “celebrity” version of Family Feud on NBC.
Harvey – who already has a very successful radio show in syndication (heard locally on WVAZ-FM, or V103) – takes over for O’Hurley in September.
Harvey has a wealth of television experience – he appeared on two sitcoms (Me and the Boys and The Steve Harvey Show), and hosted It’s Showtime At The Apollo. He is also a successful stand-up comic and is the member of The Original Kings Of Comedy.
Debmar-Mercury is making the change as ratings for the program has declined over the years in this current run of the program, which is entering its twelfth season this fall.
With the renewal of Family Feud, its certainly more bad news for new syndicated shows and a few on the bubble like Deal or No Deal, which takes at least two daily time slots off the market.
Thought: Yours truly thinks installing Steve Harvey as host is a good idea. No, really! Despite yours truly’s misgivings on replacing WGCI-FM morning host Howard McGee in 2007 before moving to WVAZ last March (in Clear Channel’s own version of The Tonight Show/NBC debacle), the anger was more at Clear Channel and its brain-impaired executives replacing a successful morning host with a nationally syndicated one – not at Steve Harvey personally. Steve Harvey is funny, talented, and should make a good host for Feud (and much better than Louie Anderson, who helmed the show from 1999-2002.)