The cast of Ed
The main cast
GenreComedy drama
Created by
Jon Beckerman
Rob Burnett
Theme music composerDave Grohl (seasons 1 & 3-4)
Eef Barzelay (season 2)
Opening theme"Next Year" by Foo Fighters (seasons 1 & 3–4)
"Moment in the Sun" by Clem Snide (season 2)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes83 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Merrill H. Karpf
  • Tom Cavanagh
  • Jude Brennan
  • Andrew Dettmann
  • Kathleen McGill
  • Andrea Newman
  • Kevin Dowling
Running time42 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseOctober 8, 2000 (2000-10-08) –
February 6, 2004 (2004-02-06)

Ed is an American comedy-drama television series that was co-produced by David Letterman's Worldwide Pants Incorporated, NBC Productions and Viacom Productions that aired on NBC from October 8, 2000, to February 6, 2004. The hour-long comedy drama starred Tom Cavanagh as Ed Stevens, Julie Bowen as his love interest Carol Vessey, Josh Randall as his friend Dr. Mike Burton, Jana Marie Hupp as Mike's wife Nancy, Lesley Boone as their friend Molly Hudson, and Justin Long as awkward high-school student Warren Cheswick. Other supporting cast members included Michael Genadry and Ginnifer Goodwin as Warren's friends Mark and Diane, and Michael Ian Black, Mike Starr, Rachel Cronin, and (later) Daryl Mitchell as the employees of Ed's bowling alley. Long term guest stars included John Slattery as Dennis Martino and Sabrina Lloyd as Frankie Hector. The show was created by executive producers Jon Beckerman and Rob Burnett.[1] David Letterman is also credited as one of the show's executive producers.[2]

Ed received casting, writing, and directing Primetime Emmy Award nominations in 2001. Tom Cavanagh received a Golden Globe Award nomination and a TV Guide Award for his work on the program.


The show revolves around Ed Stevens, a hotshot New York lawyer who, on the same day he is fired from his job (for drafting a contract with a misplaced comma that ended up costing his firm $1.6 million), comes home to discover his wife having an affair with a mailman that she claims she met at Starbucks. Dejected, Ed decides to return to his (fictional) hometown of Stuckeyville, Ohio, to spend some time. Upon his arrival, he is reunited with friends that he has missed, as well as Carol Vessey, his high school crush.[3] Determined to win her heart, Ed decides to stay, buying a rundown bowling alley and setting up a new law firm in the process,[4] earning him the undesired nickname "The Bowling Alley Lawyer" which leads him to make a distinction to a judge during one of his first trials: "I am a lawyer, I own a bowling alley. Two separate things."

Ed has a number of running gags, such as bowling alley employee Phil (Michael Ian Black) hatching ludicrous schemes usually to gain fame and fortune, ten-dollar bets between Ed and his best friend, Mike, that would require one of them to do something extremely embarrassing, mentions of Arbor Day as a big holiday, and various characters named "Godfrey" appearing in many episodes. The series also deals with issues of social popularity and self-esteem both through Ed—who was unpopular in high school and yet had a crush on stereotypically popular blond cheerleader Carol Vessey—and through Molly, Carol's coworker and friend who was similarly unpopular in high school and continues to have self-esteem issues due to her being overweight.


Main article: List of Ed episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
122October 8, 2000 (2000-10-08)May 23, 2001 (2001-05-23)
222October 10, 2001 (2001-10-10)May 15, 2002 (2002-05-15)
322September 25, 2002 (2002-09-25)April 11, 2003 (2003-04-11)
417September 24, 2003 (2003-09-24)February 6, 2004 (2004-02-06)




Guest appearances

The series has featured a number of guest stars, including, Janeane Garofalo, Marianne Hagan, Eddie Bracken, Joanna Going, Suzanne Shepherd, M. Emmet Walsh, Philip Bosco, Charles S. Dutton, John Goodman, Adam Wylie, Curtis Armstrong, Stephen Root, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Elliott, Vincent Pastore, Keir Dullea, Josh Duhamel, Danny DeVito, Jim Parsons, Tim Matheson, John Krasinski, Taye Diggs, Molly Shannon, Chris Isaak, James Barbour, Christopher Lloyd, Burt Reynolds, and Mädchen Amick.


The pilot

While the premise of the show hinges on the changes in Ed's life in New York and his initial return to Stuckeyville, the pilot which illustrated these events was not aired as part of the series. A summary using footage from the pilot, appeared at the beginning of the first regular episode.[3]

The pilot also contained some notable casting choices, with Donal Logue portraying Phil and Janeane Garofalo guest-starring as Ed's ex-wife Liz. Michael Ian Black replaced Logue as Phil in re-shot scenes of the first episode and for the entire series, and a number of different actresses played Liz in her few appearances (including Lea Thompson who played the character in several episodes near the end of the series).

The show was originally called Ed, then titled Stuckeyville when in development at CBS, and then renamed Ed again when it was picked up by NBC.[5]


Although set in the fictional town of Stuckeyville, Ohio, the majority of the series was actually shot in various towns in northern New Jersey including Montclair, Hillsdale, Haworth, Westfield, Cranford, Nutley, Ridgewood, Harrington Park, Allendale, Northvale, Demarest and Rockland County, New York (Tappan, Nyack). Many of the street names and towns mentioned on the show are real New Jersey street and town names. The opening sequence showed Ed driving past the Rialto movie theater in the downtown of Westfield. Stuckeybowl was actually the former Country Club Lanes in Northvale, NJ, and also served as the show's headquarters. Many of the show's other sets were built in a cleared out portion of the bowling alley such as the interiors of Stuckeyville High School, the courtroom, and The Smiling Goat. Country Club Lanes has since gone out of business, and was completely demolished in the late Spring of 2006, to make room for new housing.[citation needed]

Theme song

The opening credits theme song for the majority of the show's run was "Next Year" by Foo Fighters,[6] except during the entire second season when Clem Snide's "Moment in the Sun" was used. Season three reverted to "Next Year" in the United States, after resolving the "complicated business reasons" that prevented its use the previous year.[7] "Moment in the Sun" continued to be used outside the U.S., although the end credits list "Next Year" as the opening theme.

A framed Foo Fighters poster hung on the wall of Stuckeyville High School principal Molly Hudson's office.


Critical reception

The first season of Ed was met with favorable reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes for the first season it had an approval rating of 83% based on reviews from 24 critics, with an average score of 8.80/10. The site's consensus states: Tom Cavanagh's Ed is ready to try a little tenderness in this sweet-natured romantic comedy that will leave most viewers with a giddy sugar high.[8] Review aggregator website Metacritic, gave the show a score of 87 out of 100 based on 32 reviews.[9] Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Ken Tucker described it as "the best new show of the season...possess[ing] all the bright romantic magic and tart humor of a first-rate screwball film comedy," with particular praise for the performances of Cavanagh and Bowen.[10]

Nielsen ratings

Season Timeslot (EDT) Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 Sunday 8:00 P.M. (October 8, 2000 – November 19, 2000)
Wednesday 8:00 P.M. (December 6, 2000 - May 23, 2001)
October 8, 2000 May 23, 2001 2000–2001 #52 11.5
2 Wednesday 8:00 P.M. (October 10, 2001 – May 15, 2002) October 10, 2001 May 15, 2002 2001–2002 #58 9.8
3 Wednesday then Friday 8:00 P.M. (September 25, 2002 – April 11, 2003) September 25, 2002 April 11, 2003 2002–2003 #49 10.12
4 Wednesday then Friday 8:00 P.M. (September 21, 2003 – February 6, 2004) September 21, 2003 February 6, 2004 2003–2004 #76 8.25


  1. ^ Sullivan, Brian Ford (March 7, 2007). "On the Futon with... "The Knights of Prosperity" creators Rob Burnett & Jon Beckerman". The Futon Critic. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  2. ^ Owen, Rob (October 8, 2000). "It's prime time for 'Late Show' writers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Frost, Bill (November 30, 2000). "Dog Boy Saves NBC! Believe the hype: Ed is a good, weird time". Salt Lake City Weekly. Archived from the original on December 9, 2008.
  4. ^ Blackman, Lori (November 17, 2000). "Tom Cavanagh of 'Ed'". CNN.
  5. ^ Iorio, Paul (September 24, 2000). "'Ed' Has That Letterman Touch". San Francisco Chronicle.
  6. ^ Fries, Laura (October 2, 2000). "Ed (review)". Variety.
  7. ^ Vancheri, Barbara (September 25, 2002). "TV Preview: 'Ed' creators hope to keep show fresh". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on May 20, 2017.
  8. ^ "Ed: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 5, 2023.
  9. ^ "Ed: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  10. ^ Tucker, Ken (October 6, 2000). "Ed". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 5, 2015.