By James Manning
Network Ten and FremantleMedia Australia (FMA) are celebrating the first birthday of the latest incarnation of Family Feud in mid-July. The program now screening six days a week at 6pm on TEN (and still simulcasting on ONE and ELEVEN) launched in 2014 in a move that saw the channel wanting to offer a news alternative and something that is guaranteed family friendly. Judging by the numbers they have succeeded.
The show is made in Melbourne at the NEP studios where five episodes are recorded in a single day. The production is under the watchful eyes of Pam Barnes for FMA and Maria Michael for Network Ten.
Speaking to Mediaweek on the eve of the first anniversary, Barnes said they usually tape three shows in the afternoon and then two in the evening on record days.
“It is a well-oiled production machine to knock over five episodes in a day, and we have a great team working on it.” Barnes added the only things that might slow records on the day are technical glitches. “We record the shows as-live and might only have to edit little pieces out to make sure each episode is the right time. We have to stop a couple of times during each record and it can take about 45 minutes to record an episode.”
With six episodes airing every week, Barnes noted they chew through quite a few families. “We are constantly auditioning. We are always auditioning in Melbourne and also travelling interstate looking for contestants too.
“When we hold auditions we hold them in two parts. We interview all the families we ask in first and then we invite some back in the afternoon to play the game. On the day of the record when they arrive on the set they are given time to prepare with some test questions.”
Barnes said they always have stand-by families waiting in the wings – “But we have never had to use one,” she explained.
Barnes has worked on some challenging TV projects including major live events, but she said this was one of her most enjoyable projects and was keeping her happy.
The Family Feud birthday week commences on Sunday July 12 with a week of special episodes. There will be bonus prizes for both contestants and viewers during the birthday week.
[blockquote style=”3″]↘ PAM BARNES has worked on Family Feud previously when Bert Newton was the host. Other game shows include Nine’s Sale of the Century and the ABC’s Einstein Factor. Barnes previously worked with Denyer on Australia’s Got Talent. Amongst her body of work is 10 years as EP on Hey Hey It’s Saturday. “I have friends from every show I have ever worked on,” she told Mediaweek. [/blockquote]
>> Working with Grant Denyer
“Fantastic, so good, such a professional” are just some of the words Barnes uses when asked about host Grant Denyer. “His energy is amazing. The show was meant more for him than anyone else I have seen host it. He embraces it completely and he is so at ease with it all. Right at the beginning I told him that once he learnt the format he can have as much fun as he likes and that is where he is. Everyone loves working with him and he is so good with the families.”
>> Ten’s best 6pm ratings since 2009
Network Ten chief programming officer Beverley McGarvey told Mediaweek: “Family Feud has firmly established itself as Australia’s #1 game show since its successful launch a year ago. Australians have fallen in love with Network Ten’s fresh and re-energised version of one of the world’s best game shows. It brings fun and excitement, six nights a week, that the whole family can enjoy. It has given us our best 6pm to 6.30pm weekdays audience numbers since 2009. Its success provides a consistent and compelling lead-in to our primetime schedule and has helped boost The Project’s audience.
“Family Feud regularly wins its timeslot in under 55s and last month it achieved its biggest audience ever, with 728,00 capital city viewers. Grant Denyer is a fantastic host and we’re delighted to celebrate Family Feud’s first birthday. We look forward to even more success in its second year,” she said.