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City natives to appear on 'Family Feud'

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Members of the Battle family stand with 'Family Feud' host Steve Harvey. From left, Wesley Battle, Stephon Battle, Jasmine Battle, Harvey, Schquita Battle and Donald Battle. The segment featuring the Battles is set to air at 7 p.m. Friday on Fox 50.

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Viewers of “Family Feud” who tune in at 7 p.m. on Friday are going to see a participating family proclaiming themselves from Rocky Mount.

Five members of the Battle family, three of whom have roots in the city, are going to be among the contestants on one of the nation's longest-running game shows.

The show, which dates back to 1976, features competing families seeking to win the game by figuring out the most popular answer to survey questions about topics.

"‘Family Feud’ is one of those shows that we just watch all the time," Donald Battle, who works in the Triad region, said over the phone on Monday. "It's fun. It's competitive, but you get to laugh. You get to joke. You get to work as a team."

Steve Harvey is the host of the show, which is based in Los Angeles.

Battle said he and his fellow family members are big fans of Harvey and he particularly had kind words for Harvey after the filming for the show.

"He treats everybody like you're his relative," Battle said. "He talks to you a lot. He's very personable."

Battle can't disclose in advance how the family fared on the show, saying with a chuckle, "You have to watch and see."

At the same time, he said he feels he and his family performed well.

Viewers on Friday evening are going to get to see Donald Battle, 31, and his wife, Schquita Battle, 33.

They're also going to get to see Donald Battle's brother Stephon Battle, 28, Donald Battle's sister-in-law Jasmine Battle, 29, and Donald Battle's cousin Wesley Battle, 25.

Three of the team members were raised in Rocky Mount.

Donald and Stephon Battle are alumni of Rocky Mount High School and Wesley Battle is an alumnus of Northern Nash High School.

Donald Battle said he and his wife were watching the show one night when an announcement was made about upcoming auditions in Charlotte.

So he and the other four family members decided to try out.

He said the first step was to submit a demonstration tape, which was followed by a call expressing interest in the five going to the Queen City.

He said by the time he and his fellow family members arrived for the audition, which was in November 2017, approximately five ballrooms full of people were there.

"And they basically set up, like, a test run," he said.

That test run, he said, involved families being called in for mock games, which gives each family the chance to have fun and gives each family member the chance to show off his or her personality.

He said the audition leaders either pull families off to the side or tell families they're free to go.

Actually, he said, families selected to go off to the side, including his family, ended up having to wait in another room.

He said he and his four fellow family members next did a video to be submitted to the producers.

The video focused on each family speaking more about themselves and why they believed they would be good candidates for being on the show.

By May, Battle and his four family members were on a flight to Los Angeles.

For the trip, Battle's wife had T-shirts made showing the five Battles were going to be on “Family Feud,” which attracted a lot of attention at the airports.

"It was kind of like we were celebrities," with people wanting to chat and take pictures, Battle said.

Still, Battle said once a family arrives in the City of Angels for the filming of “Family Feud,” the family has to audition again on stage with all the other families chosen to be brought in.

He said at this point, there were approximately 10 families at the studio each day, with “Family Feud” filming four shows each day as well.

"You're waiting in a green room to see if they're going to pick you next," he said. "And unfortunately, three or four families go home every day" after having been on the set, still yet to be filmed.

"And in some cases, they ask them to return the next day, depending on what their travel reservations are," he said. "Sometimes they say, 'We'll try to bring you back next season.'"  

What also made the Battles' experience interesting was Donald Battle's wife and sister-in-law at the time were both in the latter stages of pregnancy.

He told of his wife and the sister-in-law having to wait more than eight hours in the green room the first day the Battles were there. 

On the second day the Battles were there, the five were filmed for the show.

Battle emphasized the producers made sure his wife and his sister-in-law had chairs and water and took good care of them.

Battle said the experience was awesome.

"Everybody treated us well," he said. "They really rolled out the red carpet."

In the Twin Counties, “Family Feud” airs on Fox 50.

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