It was a simple question, but there wasn’t much time to provide an answer.
Fayette County native Cody Stapleton stepped forward and shook hands with Josh Smaha and the two anxiously awaited an all-important three-word question from a man with a thick mustache and a big personality.
“Walk the what?” said Family Feud host Steve Harvey.
In less than a second, Cody pounded his hand on the buzzer and confidently said, “Line.”
The Stapleton family, represented by sons Cody, Kyle, and Corey, daughter Chelsey and father Kenny, held a narrow 127-110 lead over the Smaha family during a Family Feud episode that aired in January. It was the fifth consecutive night the Stapletons, who had beaten the four previous families they faced, were able to watch themselves on television.
This was the final round, and when the word “Line” flashed on the screen as the number one answer on the board, Cody elected to put fate in his family’s hands and give his father, two brothers, and sister a chance to win a car, which is a reward given to the families who win Family Feud five straight times.
Meanwhile, Cathy Stapleton, the mother of the family and arguably one of the show’s biggest fans, watched from the audience.
“I am a Family Feud fanatic,” Cathy said. “I love the show, and I have watched it for a very long time.”
Kenny’s Family Feud fandom doesn’t lag far behind his wife’s. He said the “Ding” sound that the big board makes when a correct answer is given was a constant noise in the Stapleton household, as there wasn’t a night leading up to their taping of the show in July 2016 that Family Feud wasn’t on.
During Father’s Day weekend in 2015, Cody signed the Stapletons up to audition for Family Feud. There were hundreds of families at the audition, some dressed up in formal attire and others wearing Steve Harvey T-shirts. The Stapletons did not expect to hear a call back.
On Mother’s Day weekend in 2016, Cathy found out the show wanted her family on Family Feud. There was just one catch: They chose Kenny and the kids to be the five representing the Stapletons.
“They eliminated our best player,” Kenny said.
Although Cathy was cut from the roster, the Stapletons had a surprising superstar in youngest son Corey. Kenny said some of the answers Corey gave producers during the casting process were a key factor in getting the family on the show.
Once Corey got on Family Feud, he didn’t disappoint. Both Harvey and the fans watching in the audience and at home fell in love with him.
“I think Corey is destined for stardom,” Kenny said. “He should have his own show because some of his answers were just out-of-the-box hilarious.”
While it was all fun and games for the Stapletons through most of their run on the show — they made a living stealing answers from the other families to help them advance through the week — Kenny admitted his heartbeat started racing on their final round when the car was within reach.
“Plank,” Chelsey said.
There were only four answers on the board, and Cody had already nailed “Walk the Line.” “Walk the Plank” was the number four answer. Kyle was next up, and Kenny was sure Kyle was going to say “Walk the Dog” because Kyle was the only one with a dog in the family.
“You gotta walk the walk,” Kyle said with some attitude. That slotted in at number three, leaving only the number two answer on the board. With no strikes and Kyle passing on “Walk the Dog,” Kenny knew he had the winning answer.
When dog popped up on the board, the Stapletons burst into celebration.
“I think I jumped at least an inch off the ground a couple of times,” Kenny said. “My vertical leap was at an all-time high…It was like throwing a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl.”
Kenny said there was no secret formula for his family making it as far as a family can make it on the show.
“We just played the game like we were at home playing the game,” Kenny said.
Survey says it was an experience they won’t soon forget.