Coming to a TV near you


LEWISTON – Jake Sasseville, the 18-year-old host of a popular cable access show, is taking his act on the road.

And, he hopes, straight to national stardom.

Sasseville has a deal to air three episodes on the state’s Fox affiliate, Fox 23, in September. If successful, “The Edge with Jake Sasseville” could ultimately be picked up for syndication.

“I’m having a great time,” Sasseville said. “I feel like my life is a fantasy.”

Sasseville started his talk show on Great Falls TV in 2001. While his friends ran the cameras, produced segments and helped with editing, Sasseville worked as host and creative director. The show was taped at a small TV studio in the back of Central Maine Community College

Over the years, Sasseville’s show became known for its teenage crew and its energetic, over-the-top host.

“Off the cuff,” said Sasseville’s 16-year-old producer, Max Mogensen.

More than once, “The Edge” made headlines for a surprising ability to book nationally known guests, from best-selling South African author Mark Mathabane to “Survivor” contestant Zoe Zanidackis.

In March, Sasseville got his biggest names yet: the cast of NBC’s hit sitcom “Will & Grace.”

“I flipped out. I was like, Oh my God!'” Sasseville said.

With help from Lewiston High School alum and “Will & Grace” writer Adam Barr, Sasseville received full access to the show’s set. He laughed with actor Sean Hayes and commiserated with actress Shelley Morrison about family tragedies. Over two days, he got rare behind-the-scenes footage of the show in production.

Although still largely unedited, it was that footage that Sasseville and Mogensen brought to Fox 23 Vice President Mitch Lambert this summer.

Sasseville had approached the Fox affiliate the year before, but was too inexperienced to get far. This time, with the “Will & Grace” tapes in front of him, Lambert agreed to give the show a try.

“Whenever we have a chance to help local talent, we want to do it,” Lambert said.

He agreed to air three half-hour episodes of “The Edge” Sunday mornings in September. The shows will largely center around Sasseville’s time on the set of “Will & Grace.”

Sasseville and Mogensen said they already have four area businesses willing to pay $1,500 each for the right to advertise during the Fox episodes. Others have shown interest.

If the show can get both sponsors and viewers, demonstrating success, other episodes could air on Fox. “The Edge” could ultimately be picked up for syndication.

Sasseville’s Los Angeles manager (yes, he has a manager) has even higher hopes for the show and the teenage host he calls “zany” and “charismatic.”

“By 2005 hopefully he’ll be a household name,” said Rich Bruner, owner of NxGen Artists Management.

Although the show was based in Lewiston-Auburn for more than three years, Sasseville and Mogensen believe the “Will & Grace” shoot was a turning point. They now plan to bill “The Edge” as a traveling talk show, shooting on location across the country.

“I think we found something unique,” Sasseville said. “It’s TV talk on the road.”

Sasseville is working now on scheduling another shoot in Los Angeles. This one may be on the set of “My Wife and Kids,” an ABC sit-com.

An entering freshmen at New York Institute of Technology in New York City, he also plans to shoot in Manhattan while he attends college.

Sasseville knows that fame is a longshot. But as he and Mogensen spend this month rushing to write commercials, edit the September episodes and secure more advertisers before school starts this fall, Sasseville is optimistic.

“I have a feeling a world of opportunities are going to open up,” he said.