MIAMI BEACH — Carnival Cruise Line’s decision to add “Family
Feud Live” to its entertainment lineup on the Mardi Gras is the latest in
a series of TV game shows and competitions repurposed for Carnival Corp.
The show, based on the long-running TV series in which
contestants guess the most popular answers to questions such as “Name
something with teeth,” will be rolled out on the Mardi Gras when it begins
sailing from Port Canaveral in 2020.
It follows other TV contests such as “The Voice of the
Ocean,” now being played on Princess Cruises, and “Dancing with the
Stars: At Sea,” which was popular on Holland America Line during its run
from 2012 through 2015.
Chris Nelson, vice president of entertainment at Carnival
Cruise Line, said one thing that is very attractive about taking games from TV
is that guests already understand the dynamic. “When we play the game
onboard, guests already know what to expect. They’ve always envisioned
themselves being in those kind of games,” he said.
The line already has a deal with toy company Hasbro to offer
“Hasbro the Game Show” on its ships. Since 2011, passengers have
played giant versions of Yahtzee, Operation and other Hasbro board games in
front of an audience.
The Hasbro games will continue on other Carnival ships but
will not be offered on the Mardi Gras, Nelson said.
Some previous game shows lifted from television have been
talent competitions, along the lines of “American Idol.”
In “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea,” passengers
participated in a dance-off, and professional dancers on the ship picked out
the most talented guests for further competition.
“The Voice of the Ocean” takes its inspiration
from the weekly NBC show “The Voice,” in which celebrity musicians
select teams of singers after blind auditions. On 11 Princess ships, passengers
can audition and participate in mentor rehearsal sessions in hopes of winning
prizes and performing in a “Voice of the Ocean Live” finale where
fellow guests pick the winner.
“Family Feud Live” will be offered in formats for
kids, families and adults. There will also be one with “insta-families”
formed on the spot from strangers in the audience, Nelson said.
The attribute that really makes “Family Feud Live”
work for Carnival is that it gets guests participating, Nelson said.
“They’ll be cheering; and the competitive nature back
and forth, that’s something that we’re really going to play off of,”
Nelson said. “When you see someone you know up there, and the crowd is
cheering for them, and they’re maybe making a fool out of themselves. Or maybe
they’re nailing it. Either way, it’s fun.”
Other lines have tried TV game shows. In 2012, Norwegian Cruise Line introduced a
version of the Howie Mandel vehicle “Deal or No Deal,” which lasted
several years, president Andy Stuart said.
Royal Caribbean International hasn’t gone in much for
copying game show formats from TV, but president Michael Bayley said the line
has nothing against them and is exploring an idea for a game show but isn’t
ready to talk about yet.
“Family Feud” is produced for TV by Fremantle, a
British production and distribution company that was also behind “American
Idol.” “Carnival’s audience is perfectly aligned with our show,”
said Rick Glankler, president of commercial operations for Fremantle.
Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said Carnival
is very attentive to what resonates with guests.
“We’re very much focused on families, on fun, on people
who just want to have a great time,” Duffy said. “These sorts of things
work on short cruises, long cruises, and we think it just has a great, broad
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