Although recent kudos have been given to primetime television for its recent inclusion of minorities, FremantleMedia North America says it has made an effort to recruit minority personalities in daytime programming for quite some time. The production company has received praise for its diverse programming with a 2016 NAACP Image Award, which acknowledges its very own Steve Harvey in the host category for “Family Feud.”
“The nomination represents both recognition of the quality of programming and that ‘Family Feud’ is succeeding in representing and attracting a diverse audience,” says FremantleMedia North America co-CEO Jennifer Mullin.
The standup comic’s revamping of the show sent an uptick in ratings when he became the first African-American to host the program in 2010. Harvey recalled the launch of his daytime television reign during his NATPE 2016 speech.
“I’d been trying to tell the WB and everybody else to stop categorizing me, to stop pigeonholing me as just the black. I’m general — I’m black, white, I’m everybody,” Harvey said during a NATPE speech. “Once you can make people laugh and tell them, the truth they don’t care what color you are.”
Not only did ratings skyrocket during Harvey’s tenure, but he also prized “Feud” with another historical moment. In June 2015 the long-running program ascended to No. 1 on the syndication ratings chart for the first time in show history. Harvey’s performance bested competitors “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” as the most-popular syndicated game show, marking the first victory for “Feud” since the advent of Nielsen People Meters in 1987.
“While television viewing has been rapidly changing as new platforms emerge, we’ve seen record-breaking audiences tuning in to ‘Family Feud,’ ‘The Price Is Right’ and ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’” Mullin says. “These are family-friendly shows that continue to attract diverse and multigenerational audiences, and are more popular than ever.”
That said, “Feud” has adapted many changes since it originally aired in 1976, with another updated classic game show produced by FremantleMedia North America following suit. “Let’s Make a Deal” host Wayne Brady is another African-American to be the first in his position.
Mullin also notes that acknowledgement from organizations like the NAACP helps to validate FremantleMedia North America’s continuous push to diversify its onscreen and behind-the-scenes talent. The goal is to make sure that the viewing audience sees itself represented on the programs they tune in to watch.
Says Mullin, “All dayparts have the same opportunity to deliver programming that represents the diversity of audiences across the U.S.”