Who did the producers of Family Feud originally want to host their show?
The game show Family Feud made its television debut in July 1976. Its host was Richard Dawson, the person who’d man the mic for the next nine years. However, the first choice for the role was someone completely different: actor William Shatner.
Shatner’s popularity led game show mogul Mark Goodson to eye the actor for his next project, Family Feud. Besides
1his congenial nature, Shatner had another factor in his favor: his wife. In 1973, the actor married Marcy Lafferty, daughter of CBS executive Perry Lafferty. CBS was working with Goodson to create Feud.
But unknown to Shatner, another conversation had gone on behind the scenes. When
Richard Dawson heard Family Feud was targeting Shatner as its host, he was livid. Dawson immediately scheduled a meeting with Goodson and demanded an explanation. The TV executive offered to give Dawson an audition, but the aspiring host declared that Shatner’s wife would make such a move pointless. “ Perry Lafferty was the one who was going to make a decision whether this show would go on or not,” Dawson noted. “And he doesn’t have any daughters left for me to marry!”
Goodson promised an even playing field, and Dawson eventually won the gig. He’d go on to host Family Feud for nine years, earning a Daytime Emmy in the process.