Monday, July 18, 2016

Other people's money

News has bounced around the game show Interwebs about Richard Dawson's contract for Family Feud. It's for sale at eBay.

The contract covers the 1983-84 season and two more years. Truth be told, Richard was past his prime on Feud by 1983. Wheel of Fortune was taking over as the number one game show. Richard was starting to seem, audibly and visibly, like a burnt-out case. His show would vanish in all its forms in 1985. Of course, the format has since arisen in Nielsen glory.

I have the usual prurient interest in other people's money. By any standard Richard was well paid for his services. Feud's producers agreed to pay his agency $1,040,000 for the 1983-84 daytime network season and $300,000 more for Feud specials. The inflation calculator says this would be about $3.2 million in today's debased money.

Sure, Richard's agents took their cut, but the host was doing just fine, thank you. And this contract does not cover the nighttime syndie that Richard was also hosting.

To be fair, today's top game show hosts - Steve, Pat and Vanna, Alex - reportedly earn far more. You hear $10 million-plus figures tossed around, but who knows how accurate those rumors are. Alec Baldwin is said to earn $200,000 per ep for ABC's Match Game.

Since these hosts are such an integral part of very profitable shows, it's hard to grudge them their money. If they can get it, they're worth it. By the way, the eBay seller is asking $199.00 for Richard's contract. Cheap?

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