By Martin Lenkowsky
Parkland residents Jan and Jeff Shandler described their recent appearance as contestants on Family Feud using the exact words: “an unbelievable experience.”
Jan, Jeff, daughter Rachel (32), and son Craig (35), both graduates of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, along with their Uncle Saul from Brooklyn, appeared on Oct 4 and 5 episodes of a game show.
Jan says their journey on TV started during the pandemic when Rachel was at home in quarantine and was very much into watching game shows.
She applied to appear on Family Feud. Then, in September of 2021, while the Covid pandemic was still in full swing, the family was asked to appear in a Zoom interview with the show’s producers. The family gathered for the interview at the Shandler’s home, except for their uncle.
Before the interview, the rest of the family had to fill out their own applications. During the interview, they answered questions about themselves and played a little game, and each had to share a fun fact about themselves.
In February 2022, the Shandlers were informed the producers liked them and that they would be put on “their list.”
But life went on, and things happened. The Shandlers forgot about the game show. However, in January 2023, they received an email asking them to fly out to Atlanta, where the show was taped.
The show paid for their flights and hotel rooms.
They looked forward to being on the show and knew it would be a great family experience even if they didn’t win. After the show was taped, they received an email informing them it would air Oct. 4 and 5.
“We had a huge watch party at our home the first night,” Jan said, adding Uncle Saul had his own watch party in Brooklyn.
Rachel was the Shandler team captain, and she and her mom did win some money on Fast Money. The Shandlers won one game; however, they lost their second game.
Jan said they did particularly well when asked to “name something special you might buy for a night of lovemaking.”
Jan describes host Steve Harvey as amazing, funny, and enthusiastic. “He kept everyone calm,” she said. “He went up to the audience and did his standup routine.”
Jeff said the entire experience was wonderful. He enjoyed traveling with his kids and the family. However, he admits he was a bit reluctant at first. “I was afraid I’d have a deer-in-the-headlight stare. But that did not happen.“I didn’t freeze up,” he added.
Looking back on the entire experience, Jan believes her answer to the question on the Zoom interview about revealing a fun fact about herself might have helped them get on the show.
“Jeff and I actually auditioned for Family Feud in New York when I was pregnant with Rachel. She always said Family Feud was in her blood. “We were in a hotel in Manhattan versus another family. We did terrible.”
- Martin Lenkowsky moved to Coral Springs from NYC in 1982. He has a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College. He has been both writer and editor for a number of South Florida publications since 1983. He considers features writing his specialty.
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