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A 'Family Feud' with West Newton ties

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Brothers John and Jim Christner react while watching “Family Feud” Friday night at the Hungarian Club in Pricedale. The Christners, their wives and brother Chris, were featured on the season premiere filmed in April in Atlanta where they competed for $100,000 on the long-standing TV show. . Stacey Federoff | The Times-Sun

During a commercial between the second and third rounds of the season premiere episode of “Family Feud,” Jim Christner gave a foreboding message for the final high-scoring round.

“It all goes downhill from here,” he said.

The Christner family “Feud” team comprised of Jim, a retail manager; his wife, Laurie, a nurse practitioner; brother Christopher, a deputy sheriff; his twin brother John, a Rostraver Township police officer; and his wife, Tracy, a mortgage originator.

Christopher's wife, Desiree, acted as an alternate for the team.

Parents of the men, West Newton District Judge Charles Christner and his wife Patricia along with nieces, nephews and other relatives gathered in Atlanta for the taping.

About a dozen members of the Christner family gathered at the Hungarian Club in Pricedale Friday evening to watch the showdown with the returning-champion Gallagher family on a large projector screen.

The Christners took both of the first two rounds with answers to questions they worried would include embarrassing answers.

Jim Christner said it was more nerve-wracking to wait for the episode then to compete because of the national stage.

“It was a blast preparing for it,” he said.

A fan of the show, Tracy Christner saw an ad during one episode for Pittsburgh auditions and immediately emailed the production company requesting an audition.

“I was like, ‘That's us!'” she said, confident that the Christners' personalities would work well on the show.

Chris Christner said the family often has positive attitudes and fun together, which helped them work their way to a second audition in Atlanta in April before getting called back to tape the episode.

“It was a fun couple days away with the family. It was a good experience,” he said. “Once you see that name go up in lights, it's a pretty proud moment.”

During introductions, Tracy cracked a joke about her job with host Steve Harvey, who fired back jokingly, “Tracy, Tracy, I do the jokes, OK?”

Harvey also commended John and Christopher for their work in public service.

“We need you, be careful out there,” the host said before launching into the game.

Laurie Christner also got a rousing reaction when Harvey asked what nurse practitioners do. A part of her reply was spur of the moment in the auditions and producers asked her to repeat it with the host, even though it was about a very personal type of exam she claimed to do well.

“For some reason it came out of my mouth,” she said. “I told them before we went up, ‘I'm not saying that again,' and then it just came out ... They said just go all out and do what you have to do, so I did.”

During the third round, the Gallagher family was able to sweep all the answers to the survey questions, leaving the Christners empty-handed as the Atlantic City, N.J., family played the fast-money round.

Charles Christner said he would have liked to see his sons capture the $10,000 prize money.

“Obviously, I wish they would've won, but I thought they did well,” he said. “How many other parents can look at their TV and see their children on it? I was proud; very proud.”

Patricia Christner said she was glad to see her family together having a good time.

“When it comes to my family, I'm proud all the time—win, lose, whatever,” she said. “It's fantastic; I'm so blessed.”

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 724-836-6660.

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