It was among the most popular game shows in the country, leading to a nighttime syndicated version that eventually was broadcast five days a week. Television executives at times tried to get Mr. Dawson to stop the kissing, he said. Some viewers complained when he pecked the cheeks of women of different races.
Mr. Dawson said he actively fought any discrimination in this regard.
“It’s very important to me that on “Family Feud” I could kiss all people,” he said in a 2010 interview for the Archive of American Television. “It sounds crazy, but when I first came here, Petula Clark was on a show with Nat King Cole, and he kissed her on the cheek, and 81 stations in the South canceled him. I kissed black women daily and nightly on “Family Feud” for 11 years, and the world didn’t come to an end, did it?”"