CUYAHOGA FALLS — A local family was involved in a feud, but not the Hatfield and McCoy type. They were contestants on the game show "Family Feud" and their episode will be broadcast at 3 p.m. April 18 on WOIO (Channel 19).
The Pallotta family team consisted of Emily Pallotta Anderson and Brandyn Anderson of Akron, Matt Pallotta of Macedonia, Kristin Pallotta Oravec of Sagamore Hills and Diana Pallotta of Cuyahoga Falls.
Diana’s husband, Vic Pallotta, could not be on the team because he was running for political office at the time of the taping. Vic is the Cuyahoga Falls City Council member for Ward 3. He began serving in 2013 and plans to retire at the end of 2019.
First aired in 1976, the game show is hosted by Steve Harvey, who moderates as two families, comprised of five members each, compete to match the answers given to survey questions to win cash. The team with the most points advances to the fast-money bonus round. Contestants are not allowed to discuss the show before the airing.
The Pallotta family is familiar with the game. Every Thanksgiving, Matt hosts the Family Feud game between family members.
“There would be 20 people playing and we’d divide them into two teams,” Matt said. “And everybody had a lot of fun.”
The journey to be on the game show began with an advertisement Kristin saw about auditions at Kalahari in Sandusky. They needed to submit an audition tape and Matt, who owns Frame One Media in Macedonia, wrote a scripted and the team spent four hours filming a demo.
For the audition tape, Matt came up with the idea of a mockumentary like "Modern Family."
“We all played parodies of ourselves,” Matt said. “The youngest, Emily, was bratty, Kristin was a diva, my mom thinks her kids are crazy and Brandyn was scared of everyone. We tried to make it something that was different from the ones they normally saw.”
Family Feud liked the audition tape and gave them an audition time on Oct. 29, 2017 in Sandusky, Vic said.
The family did a second audition and Emily did a Steve Harvey rap act, which Matt credits for her being chosen captain of the team.
“Emily was the most bubbly and goofy of us,” Matt said. “They wanted to highlight that.”
Emily said she wanted to go and have a good time but didn’t expect to be chosen captain of the team.
“It was a lot of fun to take charge, especially of my older siblings,” Emily said.
They received word they would tape a show in June 2018 and flew out to Los Angeles to tape on the NBC Universal set in Hollywood.
Matt almost didn’t make it.
“I was in hospital three days prior [to the taping] for an emergency appendectomy and my face was green,” Matt said. “Everyone was concerned that I had to be on Family Feud. The doctors made sure I made it. I was throwing up the day before taping, but the day of show, I was fine.”
Matt said some of the family members were nervous and said the hardest part was thinking on the spot with everyone looking at you and focusing on coming up with a good answer.
“It’s a totally different game with all the lights and camera on you and hundreds of people in the audience and tons of people watching,” Matt said. “I feel like I have no shame. The camera certainly doesn’t scare me, but I prefer to be behind it.”
Although Matt said his sisters loved the idea of being on television, he was more about the competition.
“I wanted to win some money and play the game,” Matt said.
The crew on Family Feud was wonderful, Diana said.
“We met some of them at Kalahara and Steve Harvey has a big heart for God and people,” Diana said.
Diana said the audience claps and music is played before the cameras roll to get the players ready. She said they got to know the other family backstage when makeup was being done.
“They were a wonderful family,” Diana said. “The show has a lot of appreciation and respect for families. They prep you ahead of time and tell you that once you get the question, don’t listen to Steve’s conversation. And you need to have two answers in case another person has the same one.”
Diana said the show will be as much of a surprise to her as to others because she was thinking of answers and wasn’t listening to her team members.
Emily said Harvey was as amazing off screen as he was on and entertained the audience between the taping of the episodes.
“I thought it would be more intimidating than it was, being Hollywood where they film all those other shows,” Emily said. “But the production team treated us like family the whole day. It was great.”
Vic was in the audience with daughter Tiffany Pallotta of Ellet and son Andrew Pallotta who lives in Los Angeles. Matt’s wife Lindsay was also in the audience, which is encouraged to participate.
“It was a lot of fun,” Vic said. “They have a guy who spurs you on. He tells jokes and you practice clapping. I did so much clapping, I didn’t want to clap for the rest of my life. He encourages you to shout out ‘good answer’ or laugh.”
Emily, who owns Good Co. at 2146 Front St. in Cuyahoga Falls told Harvey that owning her own salon was her dream, which resonated with him.
Cuyahoga Falls turned out to have special meaning to Harvey, who grew up in Cleveland. Vic isn’t sure the story will be included in the show, but Harvey told them that his dream was to be a stand-up comedian.
In October 1985 the former Hilarities Comedy Club in Cuyahoga Falls called and invited him to do his routine. He took first place, which he said was a pivotal point in his life to becoming the success he is today.
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org