When Tim Fennell decided to do a video spoof in honor of his brother Eddie's 60th birthday, he used the popular TV quiz show "Family Feud" as a template.
Little did he know it would help land him and four other family members on the show.
In a Charleston vs. Columbia matchup, the Fennells go feuding with the Jordan family at 7 tonight on WTAT-TV.
"We all enjoyed 'Family Feud,' " so last summer we created a segment with questions dealing entirely with Eddie's major interests, like the Beatles," said Fennell, director of television and video production at the College of Charleston.
"My family is so accustomed to being in my short comedy films that they were up for anything. And we had such a good time doing it we sent the video to the producers of the show just to see what might happen," he said.
Within three weeks he got a call requesting that the family come to Orlando, Fla., for a formal audition.
Brother Eddie, a reporter for The Post and Courier, couldn't make it due to scheduling conflicts. But Tim Fennell was joined by wife Liz, his brother-in-law Tim Roylance (head of digital imaging at the Medical University of South Carolina), and Roylance's daughters Jessica Goric and Caroline.
"I wanted my daughter to experience this, too," Fennell said. "But after we got invited for the audition, they told us you had to be 16 to be onstage. She could not even be in the audience.
"Of course, we went down to Orlando with no promise of even being on the show. We were one of 11 families auditioning, from which they were going to choose eight. We wound up being the second family chosen. Eddie's son Kirill Shapovalov also makes an appearance on the show, wishing us luck."
Twelve shows were taped over a Friday and Saturday in front of a live studio audience at Universal Studios in Orlando. The Fennells appeared in three.
"The (installments) are not being aired consecutively," Fennell said. The first episode was aired in the fall. "Tonight's broadcast is our second show, and the next will be on May 5. Our goal was to do our best to get on the show and go home a winner. Let's just say we're happy."
Contestant hopefuls are encouraged to call the show's hotline at (407) 224-3410 for an interview.