EDEN PRAIRIE -- Tune in to the Comedy Central cable channel later this summer and you'll see a former Brainerd resident at play and (some would say) work.
The all-comedy network, a Time Warner-Viacom partnership, has picked up "Let's Bowl," starring Twin Cities comic-actors Rich Kronfeld and Steve Sedahl, a 1976 Brainerd High School graduate.
Described as a "campy, goofy spoof" on one of America's favorite pastimes, "Let's Bowl" will debut Aug. 19, with a Comedy Central commitment to purchase nine additional 30-minute shows, Sedahl said.
All will air in prime time, so check your local listings. Comedy Central is available to an estimated 72 million cable subscribers across the country.
Former Brainerd resident Steve Sedahl has a leading role in "Let's Bowl," a bowling-for-dollars spoof picked up for distribution by the Comedy Central cable network.
Created by former Twin Cities television producer Tim Scott -- with lots of help from Kronfeld and Sedahl -- "Let's Bowl" received a Comedy Central green light after network officials saw the pilot program late last year.
To get an idea of the show's tone and format, think "People's Court" meets "Bowling for Dollars" with a Midwestern flavor, Sedahl said in an interview this week.
"It derives its humor from the banter of Wally (Kronfeld) and Chopper (Sedahl) as play-by-play commentators" of a semi-serious, 10-frame bowling match between contestants with a score to settle, he said.
Chopper is the "old-school commentator who keeps the action going with his useful and steady insight," while Wally, "a neurotic, uniformed color man breaks every rule of sports broadcasting, including laughing at contestants when they miss the pins," Sedahl said.
In keeping with the Midwestern themes of the show, the commentators are clad in blue polyester suits and oversized headsets, circa 1970.
The match between the two contestants is punctuated with prizes -- a $500 Polish sausage or a $2,000 used car, as examples -- for knocking over a polka-dotted pin.
The program also features comedy skits by the commentators, including an "Inside Bowling" segment in which Chopper and Wally attempt to dispose of a bowling ball by flushing it down a toilet or mailing it to Wally's ex-wife, all in good humor, Sedahl said.
The show will swing into full production next month at a yet-to-be-determined Twin Cities bowling alley with a 1960s or 1970s motif, Sedahl said.
If the show succeeds -- and "Let's Bowl" has received rave reviews from focus groups across the country, Sedahl said -- the network stands ready to order an additional 16 shows for a full season.
"The network is looking to build up its prime time audience, and this was one of four projects green lighted last fall," said Sedahl, who has appeared in numerous stage productions at Central Lakes College.
Sedahl's father Loran was a longtime Brainerd businessman. His mother Georgia for many years directed the community services department at the Brainerd Regional Human Services Center, known then as the state hospital.
The Sedahl Center at the regional facility is named in her honor. The actor's daughters -- Staci, 18, and Lauren, 14 -- still live in Brainerd with their mother.
Sedahl broke into television as a reporter for the U.S. Armed Forces Network during a military tour of duty in Germany. He returned to civilian life in 1980, landing a similar on-air position with a Fargo television station and eventually a Twin Cities home shopping television network.
After a brief return to Brainerd in the late 1980s -- he operated a video data service -- Sedahl joined the highly successful Value Vision home shopping network, both as an on-air personality and Web site manager.
Over the years, Sedahl has appeared in television commercials and community theater productions, including CLC's staging of "Wait Until Dark" in the late 1980s.
During the production, he met his second wife Kris Kuelbs, a Brainerd native who served as stage manager. The couple lives in Eden Prairie with 8-year-old son James.
Sedahl hooked up with Scott, who now lives in Los Angeles, and Kronfeld to make the original pilot of "Let's Bowl" in 1995. The program -- the format of the original has been altered by Comedy Central -- received airtime on various Twin Cities broadcast channels, including Channel 11.
It also enjoyed a brief but successful syndication deal that brought the program to television audiences in Nevada, Wisconsin and Illinois. But major distribution eluded the show until the Comedy Central pickup in December.
"If the show takes off, then I have to make a decision about which way to go," said Sedahl, who has been with Value Vision for nine years. "I may have to make a career move.
"I don't want to be a television actor per se," he added, "but perhaps I could parlay it into something else that would be cooler. I think I have age and maturity on my side -- or at least age -- and if it ("Let's Bowl") all goes away tomorrow, I still have a job and life will go on."
In the meantime, Sedahl and his pals will be making occasional appearances on Comedy Central talk shows to promote "Let's Bowl" to network viewers.
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