Aside from a few years in the ’90s, Family Feud has aired continuously on American TV since original host Richard Dawson first emerged from the wings of the faux-cross-stitched set in 1976. In the ensuing decades, the show has trotted out one family after another to feud, shamelessly, in public. As these battles tore asunder the fabric of our nation’s middle class, community activists and clergy members across the country asked: Is all this feuding worth it?
Now Variety ratings guru Rick Kissell reports that yes, it is at long last worth it, for the producers of Family Feud, at least. For the week of June 8-12, Family Feud finally claimed the top spot in national syndication ratings, ousting Wheel Of Fortune—typically the best-rated game show—from its throne. It’s the first time Feud has topped Wheel since Nielsen installed its People-Meter tracking devices in 1987. (The survey-fueled battle royale also beat Judge Judy, a regular in the overall No. 1 spot, and it has long outpaced both Wheel and Judy in the 25-54 demographic.) Feud’s coup doesn’t come as a complete surprise, as the show’s popularity has been on a steady build since Steve Harvey took over as host in 2010. Viewers are drawn to Harvey’s warmth, his relatable wit, and his ability to appear scandalized when contestants offer the obvious answer to actual Feud questions like “What’s something a man likes to see a woman bouncing on?”