What Is Family Feud?

What Is Family Feud

Family Feud is a game show in which two American families compete to guess the most popular answers to survey-style questions. It is one of the most popular game shows in America and has been on the air for nearly half a century. Read on to learn all about the history, objectives, setup, gameplay, and rules of Family Feud.


The well-loved American game show Family Feud began airing in 1976. The show was created by Mark Goodson, who also created the highly-successful game show Match Game. The first host of Family Feud, and to this day one of the most beloved, was Richard Dawson. Dawson ran the game show from 1976 to 1985, and after taking a nine-year break from the show, he returned for one more year in 1994.

Family Feud has had six total hosts over the years (seven if you count Al Roker, who hosted a 2008 edition of Celebrity Family Feud). The current and former hosts of Family Feud are:

  • Richard Dawson (1976-1985; 1994)
  • Ray Combs (1988-1993)
  • Louie Anderson (1999-2002)
  • Richard Karn (2002-2006)
  • John O’Hurley (2006-2010)
  • Steve Harvey (2010-Present)

Arguably the most popular, and even the “face” of Family Feud, is current host Steve Harvey. Hosting since 2010, Steve Harvey is now the longest-running Family Feud host. Recently, Family Feud was renewed until 2026, meaning by then, the game show will have been running for 50 years by the end of the planned upcoming seasons. The spin-off game show, Celebrity Family Feud, has also been renewed and will be going on its ninth season this coming year. Steve Harvey is also the host of this ABC show.


The main objective of Family Feud is to take home the cash prize awarded for winning the game. The cash prize totals $20,000 and is to be split between each family member participating (five members). This prize can only be won if you beat both the opposing team and score at least 200 points in the Fast Money Round of Family Feud. There is also a chance to win more than $20,000. For example, if a family is able to win five consecutive games of Family Feud, they often win an even larger prize, usually a new car.

On a smaller scale, the objective of Family Feud players is to answer each question with the most popular survey answers. In each round, questions are posed, which the contestants must fill in with what they believe are the most popular answers among the show's survey-takers. Each team tries to be the first family to 300 points, which will mean that they win the game and get their shot at scoring 200 Fast Money points to collect the prize.


Besides correct guesses, there is a slight element of speed to Family Feud. When each round begins and the question is first posed, the two players at the center table each have a buzzer, which they must try to hit as fast as possible. Whichever player buzzes first, if they give the highest-ranked answer, takes “control” of the game for their team. Control is maintained, meaning the family continues guessing until they receive three “Xs” for incorrect answers. The game continues on for four rounds, though sometimes two additional “lightning rounds” are added.

Once a team reaches 300 points, they may move on to the Fast Money Round. In this round, one team member is given 20 seconds to provide the five answers on the board, while the second teammate is isolated in a place where they cannot hear the answers given. Once finished, a second team member takes center stage and is given 25 seconds to fill in answers to the same questions without repeating the answers their fellow family member gave. If they repeat an answer, they must give a different answer before moving on. Any questions that are not answered in time, in either round, receive no points. A minimum of 200 points must be earned by both family members in this round to receive the grand prize.

How to Play

Family Feud questions are compiled via surveys of 100 people (who are sometimes also groups of men, women, or other specific groups). There are four main rounds of play, each with different questions and a different number of answers on the board. Round 1 generally starts with seven answers on the board, Round 2 with seven, Round 3 with five, and Round 4 with four, though the number of answers can be different depending on the game being played.

At the start of each of the game’s four main rounds, the two opposing teams are tasked with “facing off” against one another in a one-on-one format. In a face-off, one member from each team comes to the buzzer table at center stage, where the host asks them a question. The players then try to buzz in as fast as possible, with the person who buzzes first getting to answer. If the first buzzer answers with the highest-ranked answer on the board, they immediately win the face-off and can choose to either “play” (continue answering the question with their family) or “pass” (give the question to their opponents). Passing is extremely uncommon. The goal of each team is to guess the answer most people who were surveyed recorded for any given question.

If the first buzzer on a face-off gives an answer that is not the top answer on the board, their opponent gets a chance to answer. If the opponent gives a higher answer, they will win the face-off; if not, the first buzzer wins. Once the winner of the face-off is decided and play moves on to one of the families, the host proceeds to that family’s side and goes down the line of contestants, asking them the same question as the face-off. Family members give answers that try to fill in the remaining slots on the board.

The most popular answers from the survey are ranked and assigned points depending on how many survey-takers provided each answer. When a team guesses an answer, they receive the number of points assigned to the question. In other words, if 46 people surveyed gave “Answer A” and Team 1 guesses “Answer A,” they will receive 46 points. However, if 12 people surveyed submitted “Answer B” and Team 1 guesses “Answer B,” they will receive 12 points, and so on.

When a player provides an answer that is not on the board, their team receives an X, which is one of three strikes. If the team answers three questions incorrectly before completing the board, they lose the question, and the other team has the opportunity to “steal.” Stealing means that if the other family can provide a single remaining answer on the board that the first family did not get, they will win all of the points on the board. The first team to score 300 points wins. That team then moves on to the Fast Money Round, where they must earn 200 points to collect the grand prize. Even if they do not win Fast Money, the winning team is automatically entitled to return on the next episode as returning champions, where they can win again and try to make it to five wins.

Summary of Rules

  • Family Feud pits two families, of five members each, against each other.
  • There are four rounds and a Fast Money Round; each of the first four rounds begins with a face-off.
  • In the face-off, two opposing contestants must buzz in first to answer a question. Answers are assigned point values from 1-100 based on the popularity of the answers in the survey.
  • Whoever answers with the higher-ranked answer wins the face-off and “controls” the question.
  • Winners of the face-off can play the question or pass it to the other team. If they play, they continue to answer the question until they clear the board or receive three strikes for wrong answers.
  • The control team is given three wrong answers before control is transferred to the opposing team, who can then steal all of the points on the board if they answer with a single correct answer.
  • If teams are tied at the end of four rounds, a single sudden death round occurs, where two contestants must face off and give the top answer to a single question to win the game for their team.
  • The first team to 300 points advances into the Fast Money round, and the other team is defeated, whether the winning team is victorious in Fast Money or not.
  • The Fast Money round consists of two rounds: a 20-second attempt and a 25-second attempt. The first family member answers five questions in 20 seconds, and the second (who is placed in another room during the first round) answers the same questions in 25 seconds and must not repeat any answers their family member gave.
  • If the two Fast Money participants score 200 combined points with their answers, they win $20,000.
  • A family must first beat the opposing team, then earn 200 or more points in the Fast Money round to collect the $20,000 prize.
  • Even if they do not win Fast Money, the winning family gets to return for the next episode as returning champions.


What is Family Feud?

Family Feud is a question-and-answer-style American game show that has aired since 1976. Family Feud features two families racing towards 300 regular-round points and 200 Fast Money points, hoping to earn a grand prize of $20,000. This game show is known for its “survey style” answers, meaning players hope to guess the most popular answer, not necessarily the “correct” one.

How do you play Family Feud?

Family Feud, just as the name suggests, features two dueling, five-person families competing to earn the most points for answers guessed. Family Feud is broken up into rounds, in which contestants compete two-at-a-time to answer a question prompt. Points are awarded each time a player guesses one of the most popular answers to a question. During the Fast Money Round, speed and accuracy are the name of the game, as players receive only 20 and 25 seconds to answer questions, respectively.

Who hosts Family Feud?

Steve Harvey has been the host of Family Feud since 2010. Born in Welch, West Virginia, Harvey grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. In the 1980s, Steve Harvey began a career in stand-up comedy, eventually opening doors for Harvey to enter the TV, radio, and game show scene. Harvey replaced previous Family Feud host John O’Hurley in 2010. As host, Steve Harvey has received 14 Daytime Emmy nominations and has won the Outstanding Game Show Host Award in both 2014 and 2017.