After some part time announcing jobs, he got his big break in 1938 with a fulltime job for the Columbia Broadcasting System on WABC (now WCBS-AM), where he worked with two other young announcers who would become broadcasting fixtures - Mel Allen and Andre Baruch.
The young broadcaster had an assured, professional manner, and in a few short years he was well established as a nationally famous announcer. It was Edwards who introduced Major Bowes every week on the Original Amateur Hour and Fred Allen on Town Hall Tonight. Edwards perfected a chuckling delivery, sounding as though he was in the midst of telling a very funny story. This "laugh in the voice" technique served him well when 20th Century Fox hired him to narrate the coming-attractions trailers for Laurel and Hardy movies. He later used the conspiratorial chuckle frequently when surprising someone on his programs.
The show was originally based in New York (with Allen as announcer), but later moved to Los Angeles. Its radio run started on CBS, Edwards' and Allen's home network, then moved to NBC. Its TV run started with a one-time special on July 1, 1941 as part of the inaugural broadcast day of television's oldest commercially-licensed station, WNBT in New York (now WNBC).
Occasionally the show played for sentiment, as contestants were surprised on stage by a sweetheart in the military, a family member, or a long-lost friend. During a May 22, 1948, broadcast, Edwards interviewed a young cancer patient in Boston who loved baseball and dreamed of having a television to watch his favorite team, the Boston Braves, then the city's National League ball club. At the end of the broadcast, Edwards asked listeners from his studio in Hollywood to donate money for cancer research, as well as to buy a TV for the boy, whom he called "Jimmy" to protect his privacy.
"Let's make Jimmy and thousands of other boys and girls happy who are suffering from cancer, by aiding the research to help find a cure for cancer in children," Edwards said on the show.
By the end of the week, $20,000 in donations were made to "Jimmy" and the fund was born. It was the Braves' favored charity until their move in 1953 to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since then, the Jimmy Fund has been adopted by the Boston Red Sox.
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico was named after Edwards' most popular game show. The city in southern New Mexico features several public parks and facilities that bear his name.
Edwards burnished the career of another game show host -- his protege, Bob Barker. The TV version of Truth or Consequences had featured Edwards, Jack Bailey and Steve Dunne in the 1940s and 1950s. When the show returned for another NBC run in late 1956, Edwards enlisted Barker, a popular West Coast radio and TV personality. During the 2001 Daytime Emmy Awards, Barker told backstage reporters that Edwards told him to be no one else but himself.
Barker would host Truth on NBC until 1965, and later in daily syndication until 1975, by which time he had also taken over a revival of The Price is Right on CBS from 1972 onward. As a result, thanks to Edwards's "be yourself" admonition, Barker became as familiar with a generation of Truth and Price viewers, as earlier fans had with Edwards and original Price host Bill Cullen during the original versions of the shows in the 1950s and 1960s.
Until his death, Edwards had lunch with Bob Barker every December 21st at exactly 12:05 PM, according to Bob Barker, for Barker's December birthday, and the anniversary of Edwards hiring Barker as host of Truth or Consequences, which according to Barker, started a long and enduring friendship between the two men.