He still connects with the dead, but now John Edward
is getting up close and personal with the living. On his just-debuted documentary-style WE series, John Edward Cross Country
(Fridays at 10 pm/ET), the famed psychic is conducting public séances — just as he did on Crossing Over
— only this time he'll go home with the people who get readings.
TV Guide: Clearly this new format is a cooler experience for the "chosen," but what's in it for you?
John Edward: It's grounding me. I've always done my readings and split, but Cross Country is forcing me into a deeper realization of what I do. I follow up on the people, hear their personal stories, and learn how the reading affected their lives and changed their views on spirituality. There's a lot of emotion and healing. I've never had this kind of intimacy in my work.
TV Guide: Crossing Over started six years ago on Sci Fi, home of the weird. Now you're on a more general-interest channel. What's changed?
Edward: People are more open to psychic phenomena. They're thinking about the bigger picture. They're looking for answers — and hope — during a time when you can't turn on TV without being hit with terrorism and death.
TV Guide: But this is still mostly a chick thing, right?
Edward: That's changing, too. My audience used to be only 5 percent men; since metrosexuality came along, it's more like 30 to 35 percent. But I think women will always be more in tune with it, more in touch with their emotions and intuition. Once a month they get a "friend" and become more electromagnetically charged. That makes them more open to the energies around them.
TV Guide: It's no secret you weren't a happy camper toward the end of Crossing Over.
Edward: WE is not the biggest brand on the block but I go by feeling, and every day that I've worked with these people has been a gift. My limited experience with WE has blown away four years of working with Universal on Crossing Over. They respect me as a producer and as a person, whereas at Universal it was, "Shut up. You're the talent. Let us do what we do."
TV Guide: Perhaps not coincidentally, Universal will add a new show to the Sci Fi schedule on March 29 that's strikingly similar to Cross Country — Psychic at Large with Char Margolis. Then there's Medium and Ghost Whisperer. Even Court TV has a psychic show. The more the merrier, or too much of a good thing?
Edward: I would hope all these shows are complementary rather than competitive. It's phenomenal that the subject matter has gotten into the consciousness of our culture in such a big way, but I also have concerns that people are being misled. With Medium and Ghost Whisperer, it's important to remember that these are scripted dramas. I see more and more people taking them for reality. They watch Ghost Whisperer and then get worried that their loved ones are trapped here and can't cross over. In my experience that rarely, rarely, rarely ever happens. Still, Ghost Whisperer is my favorite TV show. Each episode has a lot of heart and ultimately there's healing and closure. I just wish they wouldn't dress Jennifer Love Hewitt like a country bumpkin. We need to see her in a tight sweater!
TV Guide: How realistic is Medium? It seems like Allison Dubois' gifts are all over the map — she sees dead people, hears voices, and has psychic flashbacks and psychic dreams. She time-travels and has the psychic touch like Johnny on The Dead Zone. That broad does it all.
Edward: In her universe there are no rules. Steve Austin can't go into the cold because he'll lose his abilities. With Superman, it's Kryptonite. But you haven't seen that with Patricia Arquette's character.
TV Guide: And she's not in control of her gifts. Half the time she doesn't know what the hell is going on. How accurate is that?
Edward: For me, not accurate at all. But then, I'm Mr. Control Freak, the person who's gotta be in charge in any situation. But I can see that happening to other mediums. How many celebrities end up having breakdowns? They go out of control or whatever because they can't handle their gifts. Why should psychics be any different?
TV Guide: So unlike Allison Dubois, your psychic abilities never intrude on your married life?
Edward: Well, I did have a little dead boy show up when I was on my honeymoon. And I used to conduct my private readings in my home, but my wife, Sandra, made me get an office elsewhere. Energies were showing up at our home when I wasn't there and she wasn't wild about that. But that's about it. If anything, Sandra is my rock. I could not have accomplished half, or even 80 percent, of what I've accomplished without her love and support and her willingness to kick me in the ass.