Gerry Dee: One Hundred People Surveyed. Top 5 Answers On The Board. Survey Says …
Get ready, everybody: we’re getting our own Family Feud Canada with families coming from across the country — and a Canuck host.
It’s a simple format: a TV show featuring two families competing against each other to guess the most popular answers to survey questions for cash and prizes. Now we’re getting our own version of the renowned show, Family Feud Canada, starting Dec. 16. And the host is Canadian actor and comedian Gerry Dee, well known as Mr. D on the sitcom of the same name that he wrote and starred in on CBC Television.
The game show will broadcast four nights a week, airing Monday through Thursday on CBC. “I’m up for the challenge,” says Dee. “I grew up watching Family Feud, going back to the Richard Dawson, Ray Combs and Louie Anderson days. It was one of those shows that was just always on.”
Premiering in 1976, the show has been on the air for more than 40 years. Actually, TV Guide ranked the show third in its list of the 60 greatest game shows of all time. Since Steve Harvey became the host, Family Feud has regularly ranked among the top 10 highest-rated programs in daytime television programming and third among game shows. Board games, interactive films and video game formats of the show have followed.
This past summer, Canadian families hoping to compete in the first season got busy making five-minute videos, with messages like “We’re the Cena family and we’re ready to play … Family Feud” Or this message from the Henderson family, who are not an actual family, but a work-family from Cabin Radio NWT in Yellowknife: “Please, please, please, just pick us.” From these videos, successful families were invited to audition in person, in front of the show’s producers at a city nearby.
Why is it so popular? “Well, you can win money; I think that’s pretty cool,” says Dee. “And it’s something you can watch with your family. I always remember trying to see which family members we would pick to win.” The entire family would get into it, says Dee, talking about who would get left out and who would be good. “It was funny, and the only show like that where the whole family is a team. I think that’s why people can relate,” he adds.
Dee’s hoping to bring his own brand of humour to the show. “Someone said it’s really a comedy show. I believe that and I think that’s a good way of approaching it,” says Dee, adding that it isn’t so much that people care about the answers themselves. “It’s the guy that goes up and gets no points on the money round … so many opportunities to have fun.” Take, for example, the episode in which Steve Harvey once asked a contestant, “Khanh, what do you do for a living?” And the answer: “I’m a recovering vegetarian.”
Really, the host is at the mercy of the families on the show, says Dee. “The families feed you funny stuff, then you can roll with that,” he says. “My job is to take the funny moments and exaggerate them and build on them and not let anything go by — you have to be on your toes.”
One family that won’t be making an appearance as they did in Mr. D is Dee’s own, as the show’s rules prevent that. But he hopes that people get a chance to see their own family on the show. “It’s pretty special for Canadians to have that opportunity,” he says.
Dee is just flattered to be a part of it all. “It’s a great buzz in the country that this game show is going to hit us for the first time ever,” he says. “It’s something that I’m very lucky to host and I just can’t wait to walk in on the first day.”