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Game show syndication is often dominated by the likes of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, but this month the Steve Harvey-led Family Feud actually landed in the #1 slot in the ratings for the first time since the eighties, at least regarding syndicated programming. During the week of June 8-12, the show averaged a 6.1 rating, edging out both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!.
This is a bigger deal than you might guess. Family Feud has been dealing with other syndicated juggernauts for quite some time, often landing just slightly below Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! in the numbers, also facing competition from the long-running series Judge Judy. Variety notes that the ratings win marks the first time since the Nielsen People-Meter came together in 1987 that the series has beat out Wheel of Fortune in the ratings, although the outlet does mention Family Feud did manage to tie Jeopardy once during that time. The show is quietly becoming TV’s most popular game show.
The advent of Celebrity Family Feud has also given the show a bit of an edge. On June 21, the show premiered a six-week summer version of Celebrity Family Feud on ABC. The premiere drew 8.5 million total viewers and a 2.4 rating on the network. Adding celebrities and their families should certainly help to raise the profile of the series even further in the coming weeks.
Clearly, adding Steve Harvey has helped to make the show even more recognizable and memorable to audiences. The popular host has been adding viewers to the series since he took the job way back in 2010. He’s also made Family Feud a bit more viral-friendly, taking every opportunity to highlight dirty jokes and make funny faces at the contestants who appear.
That's the type of thing he's great at. Harvey's experience as a host has really taught him how to sell a moment and play up the craziness of whatever is happening. In that very specific way, Family Feud, while still keeping the same format, has evolved with the times and become something a lot more modern. That makes it uniquely interesting to both younger viewers and older fans who have watched the show since Richard Dawson laid kisses on like half the women in the United States.
If Harvey can continue pushing the ratings forward, he'll have a job for many years to come and more than likely, he'll net a hefty raise. Not a bad gig, at all.