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EDtv is a 1999 American satirical comedy film directed by Ron Howard. An adaptation of the Quebecois film Louis 19, King of the Airwaves (Louis 19, le roi des ondes) (1994),[3] it stars Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, Ellen DeGeneres, Martin Landau, Rob Reiner, Sally Kirkland, Elizabeth Hurley, Clint Howard, and Dennis Hopper.

ED TV written in large red letters. A camera lens has burst through the middle of the poster.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRon Howard
Produced byRon Howard
Brian Grazer
Written byLowell Ganz
Babaloo Mandel
Music byRandy Edelman
Bon Jovi
CinematographyJohn Schwartzman
Edited byDaniel P. Hanley
Mike Hill
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • March 26, 1999 (1999-03-26)
Running time
123 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$80 million[2]
Box office$35.2 million[2]

The movie received mixed reviews and was a box office flop, grossing only a little over $35 million compared to its $80 million production budget.

The film was screened out of competition at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.[4]


Television channel True TV is commencing interviews for a TV show that shows a normal person's life 24/7. This idea was thought up by a TV producer Cynthia (Ellen DeGeneres). They interview Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey) and his brother, Ray (Woody Harrelson). When the producers see the interview Cynthia decides to use Ed and interviews only Ed. The show hits the airwaves under the title "Ed TV." It is a total failure at first, as only boring things happen and the producers want to pull the plug, except for Cynthia.

Ed TV gets interesting suddenly on Day 3 when Ed visits Ray. Ed (along with the cameramen) discovers that Ray is cheating on his girlfriend Shari (Jenna Elfman). Ed then visits Shari to apologize to her for Ray's actions. Shari is very drunk and starts insulting Ray, by talking to the camera. She makes everyone laugh and gasp by saying "Ray was a bad lay." Ed tries to comfort Shari, and he reveals he has feelings for her. She then reveals she has feelings for Ed as well. They slowly move their faces closer and finally kiss each other. Ed then locks out the camera crew and proceeds to passionately kiss Shari for a while. Ed TV thus becomes extremely popular. At Cynthia's insistence Ed starts a relationship with Shari which is short lived, as Ed grows more interested in staying on TV and Shari is abused by viewers who find her unappealing.

Ed then goes on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and meets beautiful model/actress Jill (Elizabeth Hurley) who takes a liking to Ed. Ed then visits Shari and she tells Ed that she does not want to be with him until "Ed TV" stops airing. She then leaves town. Ed goes to the park with Ray and some friends to play football when Jill comes to talk to him, because Cynthia brought her in to earn more ratings. She invites Ed to dinner at her house. When he arrives at Jill's house, there is a massive crowd. They have a small talk, and then they kiss on top of a table. They are about to have sex, but then Ed falls off the table and squishes Jill's cat. Ed never sees Jill again.

Ed's father Hank (Dennis Hopper), who abandoned his family when Ed was 13, unexpectedly visits Ed and informs him that he left because Ed's mother was having an affair with Ed's current stepfather, Al (Martin Landau). Ed is furious with his mother Jeanette, who had previously claimed that she'd only met Al after Hank left, and argues with her. Next, Ed gets a phone call telling him to come to the hospital. The doctor says that his father is dead and that he died making love to his wife. Ed assumes this means Al, but it’s actually Hank, who was having an affair with Jeanette.

After the funeral, Ed becomes disheartened by the fact that the producers want him to stay on longer and that he cannot do anything to change their minds or he would be in breach of his contract. Ed is depressed until he catches a glimpse of Shari (in disguise wearing a wig and sunglasses). He chases her for a long time until she stops in the women's bathroom in a movie theater. She says she is staying with her brother as it is his birthday and she just wanted to see Ed. Ed vows to find a way to end the show to be with Shari. When Ed exits, one cameraman stays with Shari saying that it is the producers' new idea. The main cameraman tells him that all his family are being filmed, but they show the most interesting person, thus eliminating his family's right to privacy forever.

Ed gets an idea on how to stop the main producer from showing the show: he says that he will give $10,000 to the person who can give him the best amount of "dirt" on the producers and that he will announce it live, with the desired result being they stop airing the show before he can make the announcement. As Cynthia feels sorry for Ed, she tells him a secret of the main producer. Ed announces the secret (that the man has to pump a liquid into his penis to get an erection) but before he can announce who it is they stop airing the show.

After the camera crew finally leaves Ed's apartment, he and Shari renew their relationship and celebrate the fact that TV news panelists predict Ed will be forgotten in a short period of time.



Box officeEdit

The film was a box office bomb, grossing only $35.2 million from an $80 million production budget.[2]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 64%, based on 47 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10.[5] On Metacritic the film has a rating of 48 out of 100, based on reviews from 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6]

Ross Anthony of Hollywood Report Card questioned the plausibility of parts of the script but wrote: "Though the thunder of its big idea may have been lost to The Truman Show [...], this screenplay still has real and punchy dialogue. Despite its faults EDTV will engage from beginning till end."[7]

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, gave the film 2 and a 1/2 out of 4 stars. Ebert says that although they share the same idea, The Truman Show is a parable, and EDtv is an ambitious sitcom. Ebert wonders what type of person would sign up for a show like this, and doesn't believe Ed is that kind of person so "the film never quite feels convincing."[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "ED TV". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "EDtv (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  3. ^ "EDtv a fun, fluffy Truman Show". Montreal Gazette, March 26, 1999.
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: EDtv". Retrieved 2009-10-11.
  5. ^ "EDTv (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  6. ^ "EDTv Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  7. ^ "EDTV". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  8. ^ Roger Ebert (January 1, 2000). "EDTV". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2018-07-11.

External linksEdit