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Ed Begley, Jr. & Rachelle Carson from Living With Ed
Actors Ed Begley, Jr. and his wife Rachelle Carson pose in front of one of their solar arrays on top of their small, Studio City, California tract home. 6.5kW of solar and thermal power provide nearly all the energy the couple need, including powering their electric car.

Living With Ed

Exclusive interview with Ed Begley, Jr. and his wife Rachelle Carson about their new HGTV series, 'Living With Ed'

By Bill Moore

Imagine being married to a man who despite being a successful film and television star regularly pedals a stationary bicycle to generate enough electricity for his battery bank to make morning toast.

Meet the Begleys: Ed and Rachelle. Ed is probably the better known of the two actors, appearing regularly on television and occasionally in films. For more than a decade, he's been the poster boy for the electric car movement, first driving converted EVs, then the GM EV1 and now the Toyota RAV4 EV. He also rides bikes (stationary and mobile) and drives a Toyota Prius when he needs to drive further than he'd care to pedal or beyond the range of the Toyota electric car.

By contrast, his petite, lovely wife finds herself drawn to a less unconventional lifestyle and a bigger, more spacious home, setting up the tension for what will initially be a six-episode television series entitled “Living with Ed.”

The producers sent EV World a copy of the pilot episode, which was shot in a single day and gives s sense of what the series will be about, or as Rachelle describes it, “Green Acres Meets George Burns & Gracie Allen” -- the old time radio comedians. The idea for the series came from friends of the family who thought Begley's eco-sensitive lifestyle in the middle of Hollywood would make for great reality television. Ed wasn't enthusiastic initially, but relented when, according to Ms. Carson, he saw the edited pilot, agreeing to do the series, which debuts on New Year's Day, 2007 on the Home & Garden cable television channel at 10 PM Eastern time.

During the course of our 15 minute interview with both Ed and Rachelle, we also discussed how much of the personalities we see on the show are their acting personas and how much reflects who they are in person and how they interact with each other. Both agreed that how they come across on screen is really who they are.

The pilot consists of vignettes around Begley's small, suburban tract home with its white, picket fence made from recycle plastic to the 6.5 kilowatts of solar panels that provide virtually all of the home's power. Instead of well-manicured lawns, the yard is xeriscaped with drought-tolerant shrubs, fruit trees and vegetable gardens. Much to Rachelle's frustration, Ed demonstrates how to cook dinner in a solar oven and later times his wife's shower with a stop watch.

It is all good clean fun, though as Begley himself muses – with obvious tongue-in-cheek – he wonders which will end first: the series or his marriage. If the initial 6-part series proves successful, the Begley's have committed to do more. They should be a fun way to help promote a more sustainable lifestyle.

You can listen to their interview by using either of the two MP3 Players in the right-hand column or by downloading the 4.1MB file to your computer hard drive for playback on your favorite MP3 device. Here's the URL to the file: http://www.evworld.com/evworld_audio/living_w_ed.mp3.

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Times Article Viewed: 11188
Published: 20-Oct-2006

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