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Team Keogak-Etitiq represents Iqaluit on Family Feud

Family Feud fans in the Northwest Territories might spot a few familiar faces on the popular game show this January.
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From left, Nicole Etitiq, Paani Zizman, Irniq Lecompte, Heather Tucker and Cheryl Melanson stand on the set of the game show Family Feud. Etitiq is from Iqaluit, but the rest of the family is originally from Sachs Harbour. Photo courtesy of CBC

Family Feud fans in the Northwest Territories might spot a few familiar faces on the popular game show this January.

Earlier this year, a family of five from the NWT and Nunavut headed to Toronto to appear on an episode of the show, which is set to air at 7:30 p.m. MST on Jan. 10, on both CBC television and the CBC Gem streaming service.

“They guided us through everything and that made it easy peasy,” said family member Cheryl Melanson, who is from Sachs Harbour but now lives in Yellowknife. “We knew how everything was going to go down, so that made it really easy to enjoy ourselves and have fun.”

Melanson was joined in Toronto by her extended family members Paani Zizman, Irniq Lecompte and Heather Tucker, all of whom are also from the NWT. The fifth member of the team was Melanson’s cousin Nicole Etitiq, a comedian from Iqaluit.

Because Etitiq took the lead on applying for the show, the family agreed to represent her home city of Iqaluit.

“How good of a sport my family is for representing Iqaluit even though they are from Sachs Harbour,” Etitiq said.

Family Feud has been broadcast in the United States since 1976, and has most recently been hosted by American comedian Steve Harvey. Canada got its own spinoff of the show in 2019, which is hosted by Scarborough-born comedian Gerry Dee.

“I always watched the Steve Harvey one,” said Melanson. “I wasn’t sure what to expect with Gerry Dee.”

“Gerry Dee was awesome, and the staff were freaking amazing,” she added.

Each episode of the game show pits two families against each other. Melanson and her family played against a family from Port Au Port Peninsula, Nfld.

Each family member takes turns answering questions from the host – but they are not conventional trivia questions. Instead, the same questions are posed to a 100-person survey panel, and contestants must guess the most popular answers.

There is some strategy involved, but Melanson said she found the game pretty straightforward.

“It was a little easier [than I expected], I found,” she said. “We had a great time. The questions weren’t too hard.”

The winning family on each episode takes home a cash prize, which varies in size depending on their success in the game.

We will have to wait until January to see if Melanson and her family left Toronto with prize money in their pockets, but she insists that was never the motivation.

She and her family members now live all over Canada, and they seldom get opportunities to spend time together like they did when they were in Toronto filming the show.

“It wasn’t really about the money,” she said. “It was more about us getting together as a family. We were supposed to go to a baseball game and we weren’t able to, but we just rolled right through. As long as we’re together, we’re going to have a great time.”

From left, Irniq Lecompte, Heather Tucker, Nicole Etitiq, Cheryl Melanson and Paani Zizman pose for a photo backstage on the set of Family Feud in Toronto. Etitiq is from Iqaluit, but the rest of the family is from Sachs Harbour. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Melanson
From left, Irniq Lecompte, Heather Tucker, Nicole Etitiq, Cheryl Melanson and Paani Zizman pose for a photo backstage on the set of Family Feud in Toronto. Etitiq is from Iqaluit, but the rest of the family is from Sachs Harbour. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Melanson