Howard, R. (Director). (1999). Edtv [Motion picture]. United States of America: Imagine Entertainment
Edtv is a film that focuses mainly on the issue of privacy in the entertainment industry. The story centers around Ed Pekurny, who was a nobody in his society up until he agrees to have his life recorded and broadcasted to the entire country on a television show called Edtv. Throughout his short-lived television fame, he comes across many ethical issues regarding the privacy of himself and the people around him (Edtv, 1999). This film is a great example of the struggle that reality television stars face when it comes to privacy.
Ed’s issues with privacy begin in the very beginning of his filming, when his drunken brother accidentally spills family secrets about his sister and her boyfriend on the air. Unlike the reality television shows that we are familiar with, the Edtv footage is not edited and everything is shown in real time, so this mistake could not have been taken back (Edtv, 1999). The problems continue as Ed still is not used to the fact that he is living with the camera crew. He shows up at his brother’s apartment to find that his brother is cheating on his girlfriend. This situation is also aired on live television, which creates problems in the relationship between Ed and his brother (Edtv, 1999).
Because Ed had signed a contract to be the star of the television show, his basic right of privacy was taken away from him. The only time that he gets the privilege of privacy is late at night for a couple of hours before he wakes up again in the morning. From the moment he wakes up until he falls asleep everything that he does as well as everything that the people around him do is broadcasted to the nation. This unfortunately, and naturally, creates a strain on his close relationships between his family, his friends, and his girlfriend. It is unnatural to have your life displayed to the public 24/7, and although the personal aspects of Ed’s life were entertaining for a while, the audience soon understood the struggle that he had been put through and were supportive when he decided that this life was too much (Edtv, 1999).
Edtv is different from reality shows that we know because his content was not edited. However, we get to see some sort of truth in the story when we see that the directors and producers begin to dabble in Ed’s life by setting him up in situations without his knowledge just to gain ratings (Edtv, 1999). This is similar to the reality television that we know, where stars are often told what to say or what to do to enhance the story line. Edtv is definitely a dramatic version of what we see on television every day, but it does make the audience think about the rights of privacy that these stars are being deprived of.