Southland fans head to ‘Family Feud’
By Jessi Virtusio email@example.com October 17, 2012 12:02PM
"Family Feud" host Steve Harvey (third from the right) welcomed Kyle Travis (from left), Carla Travis, Elise Brown, Yevette Brown and Michael Brown to the game show.
WHEN TO WATCH
The Brown family’s appearance on the TV show “Family Feud” will air at 5 p.m. Friday on WPWR-TV (Channel 50).
Updated: November 19, 2012 3:05PM
A love of “Family Feud” is what led the Brown family to try out for the newest incarnation of the classic TV game show.
“You can call my son the superfan,” Flossmoor resident Yevette Brown said of her son Kyle Travis.
“He not only watched the show but played the computer game.”
Brown, too, is a “Family Feud” fan.
“I’ve seen the show since a long, long time ago from prior hosts. The whole family was very familiar with the show,” she said, noting that she remembers original host Richard Dawson and is also a fan of current host Steve Harvey.
“Kyle being younger, he loves the Steve shows and he also watches the reruns of the old show.
“Steve is so warm and gracious. What you see is what you get. He was very patient with us and very comforting.
“Part of the job is to keep contestants calm and make sure we stay pumped up and are not getting nervous.
“He’s very good in calming you down and helping to give you direction. He was a lot of fun. We enjoyed our time there.”
Brown said Travis’ wife, Carla, was the one who got the ball rolling on the family participating in the Chicago-area tryouts in March.
In addition to the Travises and Brown, the team hoping for a shot to appear on the show consisted of Brown’s daughter, Elise, and Brown’s husband, Michael.
“(Producers) set up a table, had a little bell and actually ran each family team through mock games, and the rest of the families was the audience,” Brown said of the tryouts.
“The producers were there taking notes. Based on that tryout, you were selected to go to the next level, which was them interviewing you on camera.”
The producers must have liked what they saw because the Browns received the call to head to Atlanta to tape the show.
Brown said she was nervous because the live taping was different from the low-key tryouts.
“We wanted to do a good job,” said Brown, who has been an associate professor of media at Governors State University in University Park for 17 years.
“You walk into the studio in Atlanta. It’s bright and noisy and cameras are everywhere. The audience were actually people who got tickets to come to the taping.”
Due to an agreement Brown signed to appear on the show, she can’t spoil what happened, but the family competed for $100,000 in prize money and the chance to win a new car.
Plans for the potential prize money included helping team leader Travis and his wife, who are in the process of moving from Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood to Matteson, with their plans to buy a house.
The Travises also wanted to set up college funds for their children, Emerson, 4, and Chase, 2.
And the prize money could help Brown’s daughter with the transition of graduation from Yale University in Connecticut and moving to Los Angeles.
“The big goal was to do a good job, to have fun with our son and go as far as we could,” Brown said.
The family did plenty of prep for the competition.
“We had family dinners and watched the game,” Brown said.
“We’ve all seen the game, but we decided to do marathon watching and played the computer game that Kyle had been playing so we could get used to the pace and the questions.
“Nothing could truly prepare us for it.”
Regardless of what happens on the show, the Brown family have a bright future.
Brown’s husband is an attorney with Clark Hill PLC in Chicago.
Travis recently started work as a branch director with Favorite Healthcare Staffing in Hillside, while his former stay-at-home wife now works as a senior account manager for telecommunications company Windstream in Chicago.
“We all went to support Kyle’s dream,” Brown said.
“Steve Harvey was wonderful. They were gracious. It was exciting, but it’s much harder than it looks.
“It was one thing playing the computer game at home with our family on the sofa or screaming at the TV when it airs.
“It’s quite another thing when you’re on stage when people are screaming and the other team is making faces and you have to answer quickly.
“It was a wonderful family memory. We’ll talk about it forever. It was major fun.”
Families interested in being on the show can call the “Family Feud” hot line, (323) 762-8467, for an audition interview.
Brown encouraged other families to try out for the show.
“It builds those bonds. It’s plenty of fun, and you have this wonderful video archive,” she said.
“We’ll look back and laugh at it for years. Emerson and Chase will be able to look at their parents and the video and laugh along with us.
“We’ll play it many times. We’re going to try and look at it as much as we can. There’s no memory like it.”