Sandi Ray, Allison Combs, Becka McHenry, “Family Feud” host Steve Harvey, Sandy McHenry and Bill McHenry stand on the set of the famous game show.

Sandi Ray, Allison Combs, Becka McHenry, “Family Feud” host Steve Harvey, Sandy McHenry and Bill McHenry stand on the set of the famous game show.

Photo provided by the McHenry family


Metro Detroit family lives game show dream on ‘Family Feud’

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 19, 2018

FRASER — A metro Detroit family recently gave the top answers on the board, being chosen out of thousands of families to compete on the uber popular “Family Feud” game show.

The McHenry family — composed of father Bill, mother Sandy, and daughters Allison Combs, Sandi and Becka — traveled across the country to audition for their chance to make thousands of dollars.

Bill and Sandy, who live in Fraser, are the family’s biggest show fans. They’ve been addicted to the frenzied madness since Richard Dawson was giving female guests kisses back in the 1970s. Sandy was behind getting the family to submit an audition video.

“My mom, years ago in some magazine, found an article how to apply to ‘Family Feud,’” said Allison, who lives in Troy. Her sisters live in Sterling Heights. “She had that taped to her fridge for, like, three years.”

After the five of them, along with Sandi’s husband, Kyle, recently sent in an audition tape, they attended a ‘Family Feud’ event at Cobo Hall in November 2016. In a room full of 50 to 75 families, abridged versions of the game were played in front of TV producers and cameras.

The family was under the assumption that they would just play one game and head home — that was until a producer stopped them on their way out and told them they had advanced to the second part of the audition.

“We were like, ‘There’s a second part?’” Allison said.

After completing that portion and providing some general background information, the family was told they would receive a postcard from the show if the producers remained interested. Fast forward to December, and a postcard was received. A producer told them to go to Atlanta to film, adding that one person — who ended up being Kyle — had to stay home.

The McHenry family got the skinny on how the process works: Approximately 10,000 families from around the country audition just for one season of airings. Nothing is guaranteed, and the family learned that when they were told they wouldn’t play a game during their visit to Atlanta.

Instead, a producer advised the family to go and film in Los Angeles at a future date.

“‘Surreal’ is the best word to describe it the first time they bring you to the set. ... We’re honestly gonna be on ‘Family Feud,’ this is crazy,” she said.

They saw the lights, heard the famous music jingle, and even the set — which Combs said seems a lot smaller in person. She said that due to host Steve Harvey’s constant interactions — which she compared to a miniature comedy skit — episodes can take around 90 minutes to film. Four shows are taped per day, and families don’t know when or even if they’ll be chosen.

Once an episode concludes, a family waiting in the audience either gets the green light or is further ignored. Luckily for the McHenry clan, they got the green light and the green room.

“It was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I think it’s awesome we got to experience it as a family, as cheesy as it sounds,” she said. “It’s a lasting memory.”

While some funny responses to questions were issued, the most difficult part is actually not being allowed to tell anyone how they did on the show. Due to contractual obligations, each family member must stay mum.

“We didn’t know what to expect after the episode ended. … Everyone and their brother wants to know how you did, but you can’t say anything.”

The episode will air Feb. 28.