The Newman family knew they needed to stand out when auditioning for “Family Feud.” So instead of submitting a traditional introduction video, the Newman siblings took a different approach: They dressed up in skin-tight, muscle-man superhero costumes, weaving in clips of host Steve Harvey’s signature expressions, to explain why they should be chosen for “Family Feud.”
“My whole family are a bunch of extroverts … they all decided they were going to do this fun, big video. We all like dressing up (for) Halloween, (so) we already had costumes. So we just decided that the superhero thing would be fun,” said team captain Ken Newman, one of the five Newman siblings who participated on the show.
You can catch the Newman siblings, who grew up in Sandy, on their third “Family Feud” round Monday night.
‘We’re all a bunch of hams’
Newman has his younger sister, Lisa Aldridge, to thank for rallying his extroverted family to audition for the show last year.
“She said, ‘Hey, it’s always been my dream (to be) on ‘Family Feud.’ I would like to go audition for this thing,’” Newman recalled. “I think all of us somewhere in our psyche had a desire to be on national TV. … We’re all a bunch of hams.”
After submitting their video, the Newman siblings — Aldridge, Ken Newman, Dave Newman, Michelle Ellsworth and Joe Newman — went through a mock round at the Shops at South Town in Sandy.
“If you’ve got high energy, they’re going to send you to the next phase,” Ken Newman said. “We just decided we were going to blow it out. We got up with a ton of energy, a lot of clapping, a lot of excitement and they sent us to the next phase.”
“Family Feud” spares no expense to ensure the families selected are going to provide good television. After the mock round, the next step on the family’s journey to the game show involved doing a video recording for the show’s producers.
The family stuck to the game plan that had already brought them so far: energy, energy, energy.
It paid off. Producers gave the family a list of potential dates in March 2017 for them to show off their high energy to Harvey. The siblings were devastated when they realized none of those dates would work.
“We felt like we had just lost our opportunity, so we were all super bummed,” Newman said. “When the new season came around, we didn’t think … anything could happen.”
But then the unthinkable did happen. When January 2018 rolled around — on Aldridge’s birthday, more specifically — the Newmans received an email from “Family Feud” with a fresh set of show dates. It was a birthday wish come true, as producers booked the Newmans a flight to the show’s Los Angeles studio. Soon the siblings were brushing shoulders with Harvey.
“In-between takes when we had down time … (Harvey) walked to the front and just engaged the audience. He’d tell jokes, he’d stand and talk about personal stuff, talk to them about his philosophies on life,” Newman recalled. “This isn’t … what (most) game show hosts do, they don’t engage the audience like this. But he engages the audience and I think he really cared.”
An entertaining family
Though Newman wasn’t allowed to confirm how many rounds or how much money his family won, he didn’t skimp on retelling memorable moments — especially when they involved his youngest brother, Joe Newman.
“Joe kept saying great things to Steve about St. George because he was working for the tourism department (there) at the time,” Ken Newman said. “So he would say things like, ‘It’s just like Vegas, only better,’ and Steve would say, ‘Wait a minute, do they have gambling in St. George?’ And my brother would say, ‘Well, no.’ And Steve said, ‘Do they have strip clubs in St. George?’ (And my brother again responded), ‘Well, no,’ (to which Harvey exclaimed), ‘Well it’s not like Las Vegas then!’”
Another entertaining moment for the Newmans came during their first episode, which aired Wednesday, Oct. 3. Things got interesting when Harvey asked them to “Name a kind of ball that people chew.”
“My brother said gum balls and we went down the line,” Newman said. “My sister couldn’t think of anything, so (she) … said, ‘A sandwich!’ super energetically. We all had to pretend it was a good answer, even though it didn’t make sense.”
But that answer made more sense to the Newmans than it did to Harvey, as it was actually part of a running joke in the family — one that began during the “Family Feud” audition process when Newman’s brother blurted out “A sandwich!” when asked, “What is something you can eat without your teeth?”
Newman believes that one-of-a-kind humor and entertainment will make his family one to remember on the longtime game show. In fact, he said the executive producer told them, “Of all the families we’ve had on the show, we’re going to get more fan mail, more texts, more emails than we probably ever had because of the energy that your family had.”
That’s pretty bold coming from a show that has been around for more than 40 years.
When asked if he would ever go back on the show, Newman was emphatic: “It would be a dream come true.”