Windsor-Essex Families Appear On
the Next Season of Family Feud Canada
Story by Michael Seguin
Photography courtesy of CBC
On December 16th, 2019, the Canadian Broadcasting Centre (CBC) premiered their own version of a classic American game show: Family Feud Canada. The second season began airing on October 12th, 2020. And for Windsorites, this season might just contain several familiar faces. Five local families: the Teves, the Simpsons, the Chittles, the Micelis and the Favaros are slated to appear on stage, competing for the cash prize:
One evening, during the summer of 2019, Bella Silva Cacilhas was enjoying a late night chitchat with her cousin, Nancy Teves.
“Hey, I heard Family Feud came to Canada,” Nancy told her.
“Cool,” Bella said.
That summer, the family underwent Family Feud Canada’s rigorous audition process. The Teves even made it to the second round, which involved going to Toronto, meeting the producers and competing against other families.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get picked at that time,” Mike Teves explains. “So, a year later, we decided to get their attention. We made videos! We shot skits! We made a Facebook page that collected over 1,000 followers! We put so much time and effort into creating content we could tag Family Feud in.”
“When the application process opened again last summer, Nancy said, ‘Should we do it?’” Bella recalls. “And I said, ‘Go ahead.’ We sent in the same exact video and we got selected again. We actually had a producer the second time around who remembered us. To the point where he actually remembered my answers from last year!”
Luckily, the Teves family’s shock-and-awe tactics worked. After a couple brief Zoom auditions—and five weeks of waiting!—the family was accepted.
This past October, the Teves travelled up to Toronto for their small screen debut.
“When we finally got on stage, we had to do a couple practice rounds,” Mike recalls. “We just played a couple practice games with the family we were competing against before we actually started taping. It was a great way for us to ease our nerves. And then, all of the sudden, Gerry Dee just sauntered out from backstage.”
“Me and my sister hissed at each other through our teeth,” Bella states. “She said, ‘I think we’re filming!’ And I said, ‘Yeah! I think we’re on TV!’”
Mike found the experience to be an electric one. “We had what was called ‘stage mommy’ with us at all times,” Mike explains. “He stood across from us during the entire shoot. He would hold up big signs saying stuff like, ‘Good answer!’ or ‘It’s up there!’ He’d also yell at us to X the other family out! There was so many things we had to pay attention to. There was so much going on at once!”
The Teves appeared on Family Feud Canada on January 11th.
The three generations of the Simpsons family always wanted to compete on Family Feud.
“When my daughters were little, we would talk about going on the show,” Lorraine Gourley explains. “My Dad, especially once he became a widower, would watch it every single day. I always considered appearing on the show to be a dream come true.”
When Family Feud Canada began scouting for participants during their debut season in 2019, Lorraine quickly filled out their application. Unfortunately, the family was turned down for the show’s maiden voyage. However, their initial video must have caught the eye of someone. A producer reached out the following summer and encouraged them to reapply.
And the Simpsons made sure to wear their home team colours during the application process.
“My husband and I used to be billets for the Windsor Spitfires,” Lorraine explains. “So, I had contacted the team during the initial application process. I asked them if they had anything I could use to show them that I was a true Windsor Spitfire fan. So, they gave us all hats that we could wear during the filming! We also contacted the City of Windsor, who gave us a city flag. It was hanging proudly on our back wall while we filmed our audition videos!”
After two interviews (complete with a dance routine set to “I Feel Like A Woman” and a solo rap while virtually competing against another family), the Simpsons were accepted.
“It was extremely exciting!” Lorraine recalls. “We were all ecstatic!”
Last October, Lorraine travelled up to Toronto with her daughters Candice O’Rourke and Kelly Calhoun, her granddaughter Kadeasha Calhoun, and her niece Jennifer Brouwer.
For the Simpsons, the taping was everything they had ever dreamed of. “Your competitive nature certainly kicks in,” Lorraine laughs. “You forget that thousands of people will be watching. You just sprint towards victory as hard as you can. And everyone, the crew and the producers, were excellent. And Gerry Dee was outstanding. Very personable.”
The Simpsons appeared on Family Feud Canada on January 18th.
Heather Richardson, owner of the Little House of Cupcakes in Essex, first heard about Family Feud Canada’s recruitment process on social media.
“It just popped up on Facebook,” Heather recalls. “So, I just thought I’d answer all the questions. Then, when I went to hit submit, it asked me to do a Zoom video. So, I did. I started talking about us, the family and why we wanted to be on the show. Four days later we had our virtual audition.”
After a couple more interviews (one of which featured an improvised version of the Brady Bunch theme song), Family Feud Canada lifted the proverbial velvet rope.
“I had everyone who was going to be on the team show up at my parent’s house,” Heather explains. “And I said, ‘Why don’t we do some more videos? Or post some more pictures on Facebook?’ And they said, ‘I’m so tired of this! Why do we have to keep doing this?’ So, once we started filming, I told them all that we were going to the show. They were thrilled.”
A couple months later, the Chittles were in Toronto shooting their episode. “It was crazy,” Heather states. “You go up to this big warehouse and walk through these doors. And then, all of the sudden, you’re in another world. With all of the lights and the cameras and the sets. It was pretty cool. They made the whole process very easy and very safe. And meeting Gerry Dee, of course! He is very comical!”
The Chittles will appear on Family Feud Canada on February 15th.
The Miceli’s self-identify as competitive.
When Family Feud Canada first began scouring social media for contestants during their first season in 2019, Rita Miceli leapt at the call.
The Micelis were invited down to Toronto to complete the audition process. Unfortunately, extenuating circumstances prevented the family from appearing on the shows debut season. However, the producers strongly encouraged them to apply again the following year.
One year and a couple virtual auditions later, and the Micelis secured their spot!
And, in some ways, this competition represents the continuation of an unofficial intergenerational tradition.
“The background story behind this whole thing is that my Mom’s godfather was on Family Feud,” Carolina Miceli explains. “The American version. That’s when Richard Dawson was the host! So, ever since Mom was a little girl, she’s wanted to compete on Family Feud. That was the drive for us to do this.”
The Miceli team consisted of Rita and her husband John, the oldest daughter Lauren and the twins, Carolina and Maria.
“Because of COVID the experience was now completely like we pictured,” Maria admits. “We had to social distance. We had our own little stall. There was no studio audience. But still, walking into that room—it was like walking into TV itself. It was so cool. It was very exciting!”
The family describes the experience as exhilarating.
“I hate being on the spot!” Lauren exclaims. “I’ve been in school for so many years. Beforehand, I said to myself, ‘You know what? I’m smart! I got this!’ Then the cameras are on you and you’re staring at Gerry Dee and it’s hard!”
“It was the true test of family!” Carolina laughs.
As with all contestants, the Micelis were asked what they would do with their earnings.
“If we won, we decided to donate our earnings to charity,” Rita states. “We are very dedicated to Autism Ontario because of our son, Giaci. It’s very important to us to support that organization.”
But again, for the Micelis, this was all written in the stars.
“Listen,” John stresses. “All I can say is that they wanted us the first season. And they wanted us even more the second season.”
The Micelis will appear on Family Feud Canada on March 1st.
When 26-year-old Joanna Ioannidis heard that Family Feud Canada was hunting for applicants, she immediately conscripted her fiancé’s family: the Favaros.
“I thought that his family would be a lot of fun to take on the show with us!” Joanna states.
The two submitted their application during the summer of 2019. After almost a year of radio silence, one of the producers encouraged them to reapply. Inspired, they submitted a new video interview.
“It was surreal, this time around,” Robert Favaro explains. “Especially because it was our second time applying. It was like going through all those old emotions again. Back in August 2019, when we initially applied, we wondered if we were going to get accepted. We were constantly thinking and asking ourselves: ‘Are we actually going to get picked? What are we going to do if we go on? Oh my God.’ It just seemed so farfetched.”
On October 2020, only a couple weeks prior to filming, the Favaros were asked to make the trip up the 401.
And when it comes to the most rewarding part of the whole process, Joanna and Robert give significantly different answers.
“For me, just playing the game was the most rewarding part of the experience,” Joanna explains. “I’m just so competitive. I totally forgot that there was a camera and lights on me. I was just so focused on playing the game. Because, I mean, you play at home, you play with your friends, you play online—it’s all fun! But then you’re on stage, and it’s intense! It was such a rush.”
“The most rewarding part of the experience was the time I got to spend with my family,” Robert states. “There’s definitely been some cabin fever this year. But, being locked in a hotel room with your family, with all the conversations and the games? We were laughing constantly. It was a lot of fun, because even without the pandemic, once you’re an adult, you never get to spend that much time with your immediate family. I’m very grateful for that.”
The Favaros will appear on Family Feud Canada on March 15th.