Eric Deggans

Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.

Deggans came to NPR in 2013 from the Tampa Bay Times, where he served a TV/Media Critic and in other roles for nearly 20 years. A journalist for more than 20 years, he is also the author of Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation, a look at how prejudice, racism and sexism fuels some elements of modern media, published in October 2012, by Palgrave Macmillan.

In August 2013, Deggans guest hosted CNN's media analysis show Reliable Sources, joining a select group of journalists and media critics filling in for departed host Howard Kurtz. Earlier in the same month, he was awarded the Florida Press Club's first-ever Diversity award, honoring his coverage of issues involving race and media. He received the Legacy award from the National Association of Black Journalists' A&E Task Force, an honor bestowed to "seasoned A&E journalists who are at the top of their careers." Deggans serves on the board of educators, journalists and media experts who select the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media.

He also has joined a prestigious group of contributors to the first ethics book created in conjunction with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies for journalism's digital age: The New Ethics of Journalism, published in August 2013, by Sage/CQ Press.

Deggans has won reporting and writing awards from the Society for Features Journalism, American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, The Florida Press Club and the Florida Society of News Editors. In 2010, he made national headlines interviewing former USDA official Shirley Sherrod at the NABJ's summer convention in San Diego, leading a panel discussion that was covered by all the major cable news and network TV morning shows.

Named in 2009, as one of Ebony magazine's "Power 150" – a list of influential black Americans which also included Oprah Winfrey and PBS host Gwen Ifill – Deggans was selected to lecture at Columbia University's prestigious Graduate School of Journalism in 2008 and 2005. He has lectured or taught as an adjunct professor at Loyola University, California State University, Indiana University, University of Tampa, Eckerd College and many other colleges.

His writing has also appeared in the New York Times online, Salon magazine, CNN.com, the Washington Post, Village Voice, VIBE magazine, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Seattle Times, Emmy magazine, Newsmax magazine, Rolling Stone Online and a host of other newspapers across the country.

From 2004 to 2005, Deggans sat on the then-St. Petersburg Times editorial board and wrote bylined opinion columns. From 1997 to 2004, he worked as TV critic for the Times, crafting reviews, news stories and long-range trend pieces on the state of the media industry both locally and nationally. He originally joined the paper as its pop music critic in November 1995. He has worked at the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey and both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Press newspapers in Pennsylvania.

Now serving as chair of the Media Monitoring Committee for the National Association of Black Journalists, he has also served on the board of directors for the national Television Critics Association and on the board of the Mid-Florida Society of Professional Journalists.

Additionally, he worked as a professional drummer in the 1980s, touring and performing with Motown recording artists The Voyage Band throughout the Midwest and in Osaka, Japan. He continues to perform with area bands and recording artists as a drummer, bassist and vocalist.

Deggans earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and journalism from Indiana University.

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3:27am

Thu December 18, 2014
Television

Boundary-Pushing Late Night Hosts Move On — Colbert Up, Ferguson Out

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 9:15 am

Craig Ferguson hosts The Late Late Show in 2011.
Sonja Flemming AP

1:26pm

Tue December 16, 2014
Monkey See

Deggans: 'Fargo,' 'True Detective,' 'Transparent' Top Best TV Of 2014

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 11:44 am

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star in HBO's True Detective.
Michele K. Short HBO

When I was a kid, I loved reading Gene Siskel's movie reviews for the Chicago Tribune.

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3:07pm

Fri December 12, 2014
Television

Even If Torture Doesn't Work In The Real World, TV Has Us Convinced It Does

Kiefer Sutherland (right) with Peter Weller and JoBeth Williams on Fox's 24.
Fox TV

As the CIA and Senate Intelligence Committee clash over whether so-called enhanced interrogation techniques are considered torture, another question arises: Have depictions of torture on TV and film helped convince us that it works?

Consider this warning that recently greeted viewers of ABC's political soap opera, Scandal:

"The following drama contains adult content. Viewer discretion is advised."

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4:26pm

Tue December 9, 2014
Television

'Sons Of Anarchy' Ends As A Macho Soap Opera Often Anchored By Women

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 6:47 pm

Charlie Hunnam co-stars with Katey Sagal (center) and Drea De Matteo on FX's biker drama Sons of Anarchy.
Prashant Gupta FX Network

Sons of Anarchy is probably the most macho drama on television, featuring a gang of gun-running, porn-making bikers.

But the biggest moment of the final season has featured a woman: Gemma Teller (played by Katey Sagal), mother to biker club president Jax Teller. Gemma admitted killing Jax's wife, Tara, and lying about it, which started a gang war.

When Gemma finally came clean, Jax insisted she pay the ultimate price.

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11:38am

Sat December 6, 2014
Code Switch

Four Lessons From The Media's Conflicted Coverage of Race

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 1:52 pm

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani appeared on the Fox Business Network earlier this year. He has been a frequent cable news commentator about the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.
Rob Kim Getty Images

Now more than ever, America needs productive conversations about race, stereotyping, police, crime and social justice. And too often, our national media continues to fall short.

After many years of dissecting how race works in media, I was both disappointed and but, sadly, not surprised by much of the coverage so far. It repeats many of the same mistakes we've seen for years in how we talk about race-fueled controversies in America.

We don't have the right conversations.

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3:17am

Thu December 4, 2014
Television

Hate The Idea Of 'Peter Pan Live'? NBC Is Counting On It

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 10:40 am

NBC is hoping you might just hate Peter Pan Live! (starring Allison Williams) enough to watch it.
Virginia Sherwood AP

It's one of the biggest ironies of NBC's gamble tonight with the blockbuster production Peter Pan Live!

This incredibly earnest TV musical just might succeed if enough people hate it.

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5:06pm

Fri November 28, 2014
Television

Diversity On 'The Walking Dead' Wasn't Always Handled Well

Originally published on Fri November 28, 2014 6:22 pm

Chad Coleman, left and Sonequa Martin-Green star as Tyreese and Sasha on AMC's The Walking Dead.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

Language advisory: Quotes from The Walking Dead in this story contain language some find offensive.


For The Walking Dead, it was less like a conversation between two characters and more like a mini manifesto.

The moment came during an episode called "Four Walls and Roof," as Bob Stookey spoke to hero Rick Grimes about a central theme this season: keeping your humanity in midst of a zombie apocalypse.

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11:26am

Thu November 20, 2014
Performing Arts

Mike Nichols, Award-Winning Director Of 'The Graduate,' 'Silkwood,' Dies

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 11:31 am

Mike Nichols was an ultimate Hollywood insider who won every major show business award directing for stage, film and TV. But his life in America began as an immigrant from Germany. Nichols was honored with an AFI Life Achievement Award in June 2010.
Kevin Winter Getty Images for AFI

5:10pm

Mon November 17, 2014
Television

Bill Cosby's Silence On Rape Allegations Makes Huge Media Noise

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 7:29 pm

Bill Cosby speaks at a press conference about African- American art on Nov. 6.
Evan Vucci AP

This may be the first time in a long while that Bill Cosby can't control the public conversation about Bill Cosby.

Read the recent biography Cosby: His Life and Times, and you see a portrait of a talented performer who took control of his business and career interests early on, forever suspicious of journalists and industry executives who might try to interfere.

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6:08pm

Wed November 12, 2014
Television

Farewell To Randy Jackson, An Example Of All That Ails 'American Idol'

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 7:09 pm

Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, the original judges on Fox's American Idol.
Michael Becker AP

Look up "show business survivor" on the Google machine, and you're likely to find a picture of Randy Jackson staring back at you.

That's a curious thought, as news breaks that Jackson is leaving Fox's American Idol singing competition after 13 years as a judge and mentor — the second-to-last person from the show's inaugural season left on the show, besides host Ryan Seacrest.

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3:11pm

Wed November 5, 2014
Television

'Daily Show', 'Colbert' Strain To Lampoon Democratic Losses

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 3:17 am

Jon Stewart (from left) and Stephen Colbert hosted live editions of their programs, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, on Tuesday.
Comedy Central

Jon Stewart may be the only media figure who started his election coverage Tuesday with an apology.

"I did vote today ... I was being flip and it kind of took off," said Stewart, who had told CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour in an interview earlier Tuesday that he wasn't voting because he "had just moved, and I don't even know where my thing is." The comment sparked loads of stories about how the comedian wasn't voting in an election he had been talking about for months.

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3:25am

Tue November 4, 2014
Television

'Sherlock' Star Benedict Cumberbatch: Show's Last Season 'Really Freudian'

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 12:35 pm

Benedict Cumberbatch, right, and Martin Freeman star as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson on the BBC's crime drama Sherlock.
Robert Viglasky © Hartswood Films

When I sat down with Benedict Cumberbatch to talk about Sherlock, the first thing on his mind wasn't exactly the show.

"I'm really worried about those Sherlock fans, because they have been here, probably, for a while," Cumberbatch says to his assistants, asking them to tell a small clutch of fans waiting outside the hotel where we were meeting that he would stop by to see them soon.

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2:22pm

Mon November 3, 2014
Television

HBO's 'Olive Kitteridge' May Be The Best Depiction Of Marriage On TV

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 4:44 pm

Frances McDormand, left, stars with Richard Jenkins, right and Devin McKenzie Druid in HBO's Olive Kitteridge.
Jojo Whilden HBO

Marriages, especially long ones, are among the most complex and misunderstood relationships regularly depicted on television.

On the small screen, marriages are usually static things; they are good or bad and continue along in whatever way is needed to further the week's plotlines, from Mike and Carol Brady's upbeat union to Walt and Skyler White's perpetually doomed partnership. But marriage veterans know it's often a complicated, evolving thing, as two people negotiate a continued relationship even as time and circumstance transform them into different people.

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2:15pm

Thu October 30, 2014
Television

Can Shows Like 'The McCarthys' Replace CBS' 'Thursday Night Football'?

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 4:47 pm

Tyler Ritter (center) stars in CBS's The McCarthys with, clockwise from top left, Jack McGee, Laurie Metcalf, Jimmy Dunn, Joey McIntyre and Kelen Coleman.
Monty Brinton CBS

Five weeks after the fall TV season started, the broadcast networks are still cranking out new shows.

And in the case of CBS's The McCarthys, you may wish they had stopped a bit sooner.

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5:15am

Tue October 21, 2014
Monkey See

Winners And Losers Of The Fall TV Season Begin To Emerge

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 9:34 am

Debra Messing stars with Robert Klein in NBC's The Mysteries of Laura.
Will Hart/NBC

What's most amazing about this point in the TV season is what hasn't happened yet.

One month into the new season, no new fall TV show has yet been canceled.

(By this point last year, several shows had already been put out of our misery, including ABC's Lucky 7 and NBC's Ironside remake.)

Still, despite programmers' patience this year, there are still lots of clues about what's working this TV season and what isn't. Here's a peek at what we know so far about the current TV season.

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