Dolly Parton Nearly Became Host of ‘Family Feud’: Here’s What Happened

by Josh Lanier

Survey 100 people to find out who they believe would make for a fun host of Family Feud and Dolly Parton is going to make that list. She’s smart, funny, and quick witted. She also has a big family, so she knows how to mine the intricacies of those relationships.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that she was once offered the job as host of the popular show.

Family Feud is currently hosted by comedian Steve Harvey. Before him comic Louie Anderson; actors John O’Hurley and Richard Karn; and game show hosts Richard Dawson and Ray Combs helmed the survey show. It’s been on and off the air since 1976.

But in 1999, after a five-year hiatus, producers wanted to revive the show and searched for potential hosts. Parton’s name was floated, but she quietly turned it down. She’s not publicly discussed why she said no to the project, but it’s clear why she was considered. Producers decided to go with Anderson after Parton declined.

Dolly Parton Knows Good Television

Video recently resurfaced featuring Dolly Parton and R&B icon Patti LaBelle carving out a musical niche live on air. On her popular show Dolly, Parton explained how sometimes when she doesn’t have her guitar handy, she’ll create rhythms for songs using her acrylic nails.

She demonstrated for LaBelle how she clicks them together in the 1987 clip. It’s similar to how to play a güiro. She slides and slaps her nail from one hand across the ones on her other hand. How hard and where she strikes the nail changes the tone and pitch.

“You know I write a lot of songs when I don’t have my guitar,” explains Dolly Parton. “You know, I beat around on my dashboard in my car when I’m riding around, writing songs. But then I have a little rhythm that we can do with these acrylic nails. Can you do that? Oh, good.”

“See, we did plan this, but we didn’t know how it was going to sound,” said LaBelle. “It sounds real cute!”

The two icons improvise a version of the famous E.C. Perrow song “Shortnin’ Bread.”

LaBelle even gets a nail solo at one point.