Why it is so unlikely that Family Feud is scripted

Family Feud is filmed in front of a live studio audience, and this, along with a few other formatting decisions, would make the show difficult to fake.

Family Feud has been on the air for nearly 50 years, and it is still one of the most popular game shows on television.

And while the show may seem impossibly funny at times, there are multiple details about the Family Feud format which indicate that the show is likely not scripted.

All about Family Feud

There is nothing quite as entertaining as watching regular people attempt to guess the answers to various survey- and trivia questions while they are under pressure.

But when you add two teams of competing families and the hilarious host, Steve Harvey into this mix, it is really no wonder that Family Feud is still one of America’s most popular game shows.

Family Feud first started airing way back in 1976, but even though the show has seen a multitude of format- and host-changes since then, it is still a fan-favorite almost five decades later.

In fact, Family Feud was recently even renewed for the 2025 to 2026 television season, after it was established as one of the few shows that saw a growth in audience demand, early in 2023.

Why it is so unlikely that Family Feud is scripted

Even though Family Feud still brings in tens of thousands of viewers to this day, this game show has not been exempt from the criticism that there is no such thing as an unscripted television show.

And while it is true that you should not always believe what you see portrayed on your television screen, Family Feud may be the one exception to this rule of reality television fabrication.

One of the main reasons why it seems so unlikely that Family Feud would be scripted is because the show is filmed in front of a live studio audience.

Cole Simmons, a former Family Feud contestant who answered some burning questions about the show on Reddit, estimated that this studio audience consisted of “probably a hundred” people.

This amounts to thousands of eyes watching the show’s every move in the last few decades, and would make it incredibly difficult for the show’s producers to hide any scripting and orchestrating taking place behind the scenes.

The show also uses regular people as its contestants, and it just seems like most of the off-the-cuff answers that the host elicits (see: the question “Name something that follows the word ‘Pork’” and the answer “Pork…Upine”) would be quite difficult to come up with beforehand.

On top of that, a The Wall Street Journal investigation into Family Feud’s surveys found that they use a legitimate polling company called Applied Research-West to call real, random people in order to think up the most common answers which are then used in the show.

Are Steve Harvey’s jokes scripted?

Family Feud has had quite a few hosts over the years, but none have been quite as funny and quick-witted as the show’s current host, comedian, Steve Harvey.

However, while it might seem miraculous that Harvey can come up with all his witty responses right there, in the moment, Simmons has confirmed that this is exactly how the host operates, saying, “Steve’s jokes are made up on-the-fly.”

The Family Feud contestants do get a practice round

Having to answer rapid-fire questions in front of a live studio audience for a show that will be aired on national television, is certainly a daunting task.

But Family Feud does give most of its participating families a chance to get the first jitters out before the cameras roll.

Both Simmons and another former contestant who appeared on the Canadian version of the show, Alex Cyr, confirmed that their families ran through a practice round with mick games and the show’s special effects before the filming of the actual episode began.

Family Feud has some non-negotiable rules

While Family Feud may not be scripted, there are a few key rules that families who want to participate in the competition have to follow.

Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, the groups who enter to participate on the show really do have to be related to each other.

And although there is no strict age limit for contestants, all families will have to choose five members to compete on their team on the show.

There is also a list of people who will be regarded as ineligible to appear on the show.

This includes politicians, people who have been on the show before, people associated with the show’s production company or Steve Harvey, and people who are not legally allowed to work in the United States.

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