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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Monkey See
3:33 am
Sat February 28, 2015

Leonard Nimoy's Mr. Spock Taught Us Acceptance Is Highly Logical

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in the Star Trek episode, "Plato's Stepchildren" in 1968.
CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

For this Star Trek fan, Leonard Nimoy was more than the guy who played one of the most popular characters in the most popular science fiction franchise on American TV.

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Television
5:07 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

'Battle Creek' An Attempt To Break CBS's Formulaic Lineup

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 7:13 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Television
2:39 am
Fri February 27, 2015

This Season On 'House Of Cards,' It's Tough To Be The Boss

Kevin Spacey's President Frank Underwood is embattled and often frustrated in the third season of Netflix's House of Cards.
David Giesbrecht Courtesy of Netflix

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 10:13 am

When House of Cards' third season opens, Kevin Spacey's murderous politician Frank Underwood is fooling the world again.

From the very first scene, he's bringing a presidential motorcade to his tiny hometown of Gaffney, S.C., pretending to honor his father's grave for the press.

"Nobody showed up for his funeral except me, not even my mother," Underwood says in one of those sly asides where he speaks directly to the audience. "But I'll tell you this: When they bury me, it won't be in my backyard. And when they pay their respects, they'll have to wait in line."

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Monkey See
12:41 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

As CBS' 'Two And A Half Men' Ends, Questions On How It Lasted So Long

Jon Cryer, left, and Ashton Kutcher in a scene from Kutcher's 2011 debut on CBS' "Two and a Half Men."
DANNY FELD ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 3:12 pm

As CBS' Two and a Half Men airs its final episode tonight, capping its 12th season, critics like me are stuck trying to answer a single, niggling question:

How did a show like this end up as the longest-running multicamera comedy in television history?

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Television
4:28 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Missing Your 'Breaking Bad' Fix? 'Better Call Saul' Will Hit The Spot

Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman on AMC's "Better Call Saul."
Ursula Coyote AP

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 1:24 pm

Here is something that seems like a spoiler, but really isn't.

The first few minutes of Better Call Saul will answer a question that nagged Breaking Bad fans since the show ended in 2013: Whatever happened to fast-talking lawyer Saul Goodman?

Bob Odenkirk, who plays Goodman, says Better Call Saul had to answer that question first so viewers could focus on the new story.

"To satisfy that a little bit gets that out of the way," he says. "Now let's go and do this journey about who is Saul Goodman, really?"

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Television
2:01 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

ABC Tones Down Author's 'Fresh Off The Boat' For Sitcom Audience

Constance Wu, Forrest Wheeler, Hudson Yang and Ian Chen star in ABC's new family comedy, Fresh Off the Boat.
Jordin Althaus AP

This story contains language that may be offensive.

When they built a sitcom around a hip-hop-loving child of Taiwanese immigrants in Orlando, the producers of Fresh Off the Boat probably knew they would face some uncomfortable questions about culture and race.

But they may not have expected what they heard in the very first — very awkward — question at a press conference with TV critics in Los Angeles a few weeks ago.

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Code Switch
4:16 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

The Success Of Fox's 'Empire' Reveals A Few Do's And Don'ts For TV

Taraji P. Henson, left, and Terrence Howard star as Cookie and Lucious Lyon in the Fox TV show Empire.
Chuck Hodes Fox TV

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 10:12 am

The TV industry is scrambling to understand the runaway success of Fox's Empire, the story of a family-run hip-hop music company that has set ratings records in its four weeks on air.

The questions, as always, are simple: Why are people drawn to this show? And how can a TV network pull it off again?

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Sports
3:40 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

NBC Courts Women In Hopes Of Record Super Bowl Broadcast

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 8:59 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Television
4:20 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

NBC's 'Parenthood' Ends As A Family Drama Built On Small Moments

The stars of Parenthood include, left to right, Erika Christensen Peter Krause, Bonnie Bedelia, Craig T. Nelson, Lauren Graham and Dax Shepard.
NBC Justin Lubin/NBC

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 9:07 am

It happens at least once every episode: A scene in Parenthood carefully crafted to make you cry.

Like the moment when devoted parents Adam and Kristina Braverman try to console their son Max — who has Asperger's syndrome — after a school camping trip goes bad.

"Why do all the other kids hate me?" Max Braverman asks, voice wavering, just before telling his disbelieving parents a classmate relieved himself in his canteen during the trip. "Asperger's is supposed to make me smart. But if I'm smart then why ... why don't I get why they're laughing at me?"

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Television
2:24 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Intended For Millennials, Dish's Sling TV Is A Cord Cutter's Dream

Joe Clayton, president and CEO of Dish Network, introduces the Sling TV earlier this month at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 5:57 pm

A few days ago, I entertained myself for a few minutes watching ESPN's Stephen A. Smith lose his cool — this time, over an "incompetent" NFL for not interviewing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady regarding the team's deflated-football controversy.

But what made this moment noteworthy, was where I was watching Smith: not on a TV connected to a cable box, but on my iPad. Thanks to Sling TV.

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Television
5:19 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Sling TV Could Be Cable-Cutter's Dream

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:03 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Television
2:44 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Larry Wilmore's 'Nightly Show' Brings A New Voice To Late Night TV

Larry Wilmore at the TV Critics Association's Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif.
Richard Shotwell Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 12:22 pm

Larry Wilmore nearly succeeded Stephen Colbert with a TV show called Meet the Rest.

The title was a cheeky reference to the way Sunday politics shows tend to feature only one kind of guest. But it was also a reminder that his new Comedy Central series — which he eventually settled on calling The Nightly Show — is also a distant parody of all the panel shows and group discussions that clog Sunday morning television and cable news.

At least, that's the plan for now.

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Television
3:51 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Amazon Gains Ground With Online-Only Shows

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 5:33 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Television
3:29 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Woody Allen Is The Latest Hollywood Star Director To Try TV

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 5:47 pm

Amazon has announced that Woody Allen will write and direct a new half-hour series for its video-streaming service — news that feels a little like hearing Mad Men's Don Draper just founded an Internet advertising agency.

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The Two-Way
6:41 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Big Wins For 'Transparent' Make It Clear: TV's Undergoing A Revolution

Tina Fey, Margaret Cho and Amy Poehler talk onstage during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards. Fey and Poehler hosted the awards for the third (and, they say, final) time.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 10:25 am

Surrounded by his cast mates and the show's executive producer, Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor faced a crowd of journalists backstage at the Golden Globe awards Sunday, and made the case for why his win as best actor in a comedy meant more than a typical Hollywood honor.

"This is about changing people's lives," said Tambor, who won his award playing a 70-year-old coming out as transgender. Earlier, while accepting his award on national TV, he dedicated his award and performance to the transgender community.

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