Entertainment TV Farewell, Family Feud: One contestant’s story

Farewell, Family Feud: One contestant’s story

Katie (far right) and her family on Family Feud, 2016. Photo: Ten Network
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In 2017, The New Daily staff member Katie Graham and her family were competitors on Family Feud. She explains why she, for one, is sad to see it go from Australian TV screens.

When watching Family Feud, thousands of Australian families sit at home and scream words at the screen thinking they know all the answers to each question.

But believe it or not, the questions are a lot harder to answer than they seem.

Apart from the nerves, imagine mixing your thought processes with a thousand shining lights, an audience, producers, cameras and a crew all watching you – and let’s not forget a cool $10,000 on the line or the Gold Logie-winning Grant Denyer acting like your best mate.

When my family and I hit the stage before the cameras started filming, Grant came over and introduced himself to us with a handshake.

He asked me how I was and I hesitantly told him I was nervous.

“Don’t be!” Grant exclaimed. “We’re here to have fun!”

While having fun was the ideal, for Grant it was just another day in the office.

The occasional tongue tie, mispronunciation, factual misstep or even an answer giveaway were the common mistakes of his job while filming. Cutting and shooting made up a majority of the event.

Whilst Grant’s persona is whacky and humorous on the screen, it didn’t stop off the screen either. During ‘ad breaks’, he treated us like we were colleagues – friendly yet professional.

Grant pumped us up by continuously saying: “You’ve got this Grahams!”. Or he’d say “you can do it!” under his breath, so the opposing family couldn’t hear him secretly cheering us on.

His encouragement was necessary. The Grahams went without a single point for the whole game

We were losing hard, and losing all hope of taking home a grand prize or making it to another episode.

the end of family feud
My brother, Mitch (left) and I (centre) with Grant Denyer acting like Wiggles.

In a miraculous turn of events (or a producer’s clever stunt), our opponent family, the Seeleys, bowed out from the final round, meaning my family accumulated enough points by default.

This put the Grahams and the Seeleys head to head for sudden death and, as team captain … well, it was up to me to bring it home.

The lights dimmed, casino music played and Grant became focused.

I approached the podium and took a deep breath.

We had been at the studio since 9am, it was now 6pm. The hair, the makeup, the nerves and anxiety, the audition a month back, preparation with producers, story practising, travelling to the studio and the nerves-induced lack of sleep all came down to this one moment.

I had to win. My family was depending on me to win.

“Name something a bird sits in”, Grant asked.

Despite slamming my hand down on the buzzer as quick as I could, the Seeley captain beat me to it.

“Nest”, she said.

I looked at my brother with dismay as Grant congratulated the Seeley family of their win.

My family had to spend the rest of the episode standing behind the stage backdrop, only to re-appear for the ending credits.

That day, the Seeley family had won $20,000. We were envious, but not defeated.

The Grahams were given an opportunity to showcase who we truly are on national television. My brother acted like a Wiggle and my mum told Grant about her love for dancing in the moonlight … naked.

We were able to make fun of ourselves and enjoy it. The experience itself was not worth $20,000. No. It was priceless.

As Grant said in his Gold Logie acceptance speech: “It has brought families together.” And he’s not wrong.

The Grahams had an experience that very few families ever get to have. And, unless Family Feud gets picked up again, no other Australian family ever will.

Lucky Grahams.

Family Feud screens for the final time on Ten, at 6pm, Sunday July 22.

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