The turning point in the life of Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey) comes thanks to the misfortunes of the NorthWest Broadcasting Company. After two years on the air, their flagship cable channel, True TV, has slid into obscurity due to competition from the The Gardening Channel. Program director Cynthia Topping (Ellen DeGeneres) brainstorms a last ditch effort to save the channel: broadcast one ordinary person's life 24 hours a day, unedited (while he sleeps, the day's highlights will be shown). When the network agrees to the idea, Topping must find the subject of her program. After endless auditions, she lucks upon Ed, a goofy but good-looking video store clerk. Ed has little time to get used to his new shadow, a three man video crew, before the show becomes a hit. Suddenly Ed's a cultural icon with fan clubs, stalkers, and imitators, but the media saturation has it's effects on his friends and family, who are now part of the program. Ed alienates his proud brother, Ray (Woody Harrelson), by falling in love with his girlfriend, Shari (Jenna Elfman). His estranged father Hank (Dennis Hopper) reappears after abandoning the family and creates tension between Ed and Ray's mother, Jeanette (Sally Kirkland) and her wheelchair-bound second husband, Al (Martin Landau). When Ed realizes the phenomenon has turned on him, he convinces Topping to stop the ordeal, but not her boss, Whitaker (Rob Reiner). To regain his life, Ed must find a way to cancel EDtv.