EDtv is a 1999 American satirical comedy film directed by Ron Howard. An adaptation of the Quebec film Louis 19, King of the Airwaves (Louis 19, le roi des ondes) (1994), it stars Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, Ellen DeGeneres, Martin Landau, Rob Reiner, Sally Kirkland, Elizabeth Hurley, Clint Howard, and Dennis Hopper.
The movie received mixed reviews and was a box office flop (grossing only a little over $35 million compared to its $80 million budget).
The film was screened out of competition at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.
EDtv starts off with the television channel True TV commencing interviews for a TV show that shows a normal person's life 24/7. This idea was thought up by a TV producer named 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 (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 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 thinks this means Al, but it actually is his real father and that Ed's mother was cheating on Al.
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 camera man stays with Shari saying that it is the producers' new idea. The main camera man tells him that all his family are being filmed, but they show the most interesting person.
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.Matthew McConaughey as Edward "Ed" Pekurny
Jenna Elfman as Shari
Woody Harrelson as Raymond "Ray" Pekurny
Ellen DeGeneres as Cynthia
Martin Landau as Al
Sally Kirkland as Jeanette
Elizabeth Hurley as Jill
Rob Reiner as Mr. Whitaker
Dennis Hopper as Henry 'Hank' Pekurny
Viveka Davis as Marcia
Adam Goldberg as John
Wendle Josepher as Rita
Merrin Dungey as Ms. Seaver
Ian Gomez as McIlvaine
Clint Howard as Ken
RuPaul as Himself
Rick Overton as Barry
Gedde Watanabe as Greg
Alexandra Holden as College girl
Donnie Most as Benson
Geoffrey Blake as Keith
Harry Shearer as Moderator
Michael Moore, Merrill Markoe, and George Plimpton as Panel members
Bill Maher as Himself
Jay Leno as Himself
Arianna Huffington as Herself
The film was a box office bomb, grossing only $35.2 million from an $80 million budget.
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 63% of film critics gave the film a positive review, earning a "Fresh" rating. The film currently has a rating of 48 out of 100 on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews".