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.

Deggans is also currently a media analyst/contributor for MSNBC and NBC News. In August 2013, he 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. The same month, Deggans 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." And in 2019, he was named winner of the American Sociological Association's Excellence in the Reporting of Social Justice Issues Award.

In 2019, Deggans served as the first African American chairman of 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.

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.

Forget all that stiff-upper-lip stuff. If you're looking for evidence that the British have a big, beating heart underneath their reputation for reserve and restraint, look no further than Sunday's finale of their popular TV export, Downton Abbey.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Viceland is the new cable channel from Vice Media. NPR producer Andrew Limbong and our TV critic, Eric Deggans, watched three of their offerings, including "Gaycation," a travel documentary show focused on LGBT issues. It's co-hosted by actress Ellen Page. Here she is in Japan.

Host Chris Rock made sure Sunday's Oscars were about as black as they could be, given that no black people had been nominated in any high-profile categories.

Of course, Rock brought the pain, as he always does, in a razor-sharp monologue skewering sensibilities on all sides of the #OscarsSoWhite debate. And his comedy bits throughout the show kept up a steady drumbeat, reminding audiences in the hall and at home just who had been left behind.

A newly released study suggests diversity in TV and film is so bad, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite should probably be changed to #HollywoodSoWhite.

That's because of an "epidemic of invisibility" cited by researchers at the University of Southern California, who analyzed more than 21,000 characters and behind-the-scenes workers on more than 400 films and TV shows released from September 2014 through August 2015. They tabulated representations of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual status.

HBO's music industry drama Vinyl comes at you like a classic rock song you can't get out of your head.

Powerful. Emotional. But also kind of predictable.

It's obvious from one of the earliest moments in the first episode, when Bobby Cannavale's out-of-control record company owner Richie Finestra stumbles into a smoky club circa 1971 and finds the New York Dolls.

Sometimes it's better to leave more to the imagination.

That's the thought I'm left with after watching all of the ads that aired in CBS' Super Bowl broadcast Sunday night.

It may be an accepted truism that the commercials are often more exciting than the game. But this year, viewers watching for the ads sat through an uneven collection of spots — of which many of the best moments had already been revealed days earlier.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Ask James Franco why a movie star might want to work in TV, and he won't mention a television show. He'll talk about a book.

Turns out, like a lot of TV nerds, Franco geeked out over the book Difficult Men, a detailed look at how the creators and showrunners of classic "quality TV" series like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and The Wire shaped the shows that built the foundation for modern TV drama.

Before we get too far into 2016, it's worth taking one more look at what happened to media in the year that just ended. To paraphrase the old saying, ignorance of history dooms you to repeat it. And some of what happened in media in 2015, we really want to avoid repeating.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans spoke to Carrie Kahn on Weekend Edition Sunday about the plethora of television available on broadcast, cable and streaming outlets, and you can hear that conversation at the top of the page. Eric has, however, picked 12 shows that rose above the rest for this year-end wrap.

You may see a lot of teeth-gnashing from critics in year-end pieces lamenting how the flood of TV shows this year undermines the industry and makes picking out the best stuff of 2015 nearly impossible.

Don't believe it.

As the pilot episode for ABC's counter terrorism drama Quantico begins, one of the biggest stars in Bollywood is lying in the ruins of a bomb blast.

It's Priyanka Chopra, and she's playing Alex Parrish, an FBI trainee falsely accused of setting off the explosion. She's also making history as the first South Asian woman to play the lead in a network TV drama.

"The bomber knew exactly what they were doing," Chopra says as Parrish in a later episode. "They framed the brown girl."

As I watched each episode of the second season of Amazon's Transparent, the same question kept popping into my mind: Are the Pfeffermans the most dysfunctional family now on television?

The first episode of the new season begins with an awkward wedding photo. The family has gathered for eldest daughter Sarah's marriage to her lesbian partner. But the show's lead character, Jeffrey Tambor's transgender academic Maura Pfefferman, has a problem: Her homophobic sister is in the audience.

They won't actually get to host Saturday Night Live, but four GOP candidates have completed agreements with NBC allowing them to broadcast campaign messages on affiliate stations in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina over Thanksgiving weekend.

These deals resulted from "equal time" requests made after leading GOP candidate Donald Trump guest-hosted Saturday Night Live on Nov. 7.

SPOILER ALERT: Be warned that this post discusses details from Thursday's winter finale of ABC's drama Scandal.

ABC's buzzed-about drama Scandal dropped a bombshell episode Thursday, seeming to show lead character Olivia Pope secretly ending a pregnancy she may have had with her lover, President Fitzgerald Grant.

Earlier in the episode another character, former First Lady Mellie Grant – now divorced and the junior Senator from Virginia – filibustered a spending bill which might have helped Congress curb funding to Planned Parenthood.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

First there was "Chicago Fire," then "Chicago P.D." Last night came "Chicago Med." Chicago is taking over your TV.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

It's the moment fans of the horror comedy franchise Evil Dead have waited decades to see.

Starz's TV series, Ash vs Evil Dead, begins with a bracing blast of classic rock — Deep Purple's psychedelic anthem Space Truckin' — and the disquieting sight of star Bruce Campbell squeezing his midriff into a massive, leather corset.

That moment says everything about Campbell's character Ash Williams, a vain, aging low-rent ladies man whose only talent is killing zombie-like demons known as Deadites.

WARNING: The column contains numerous spoilers regarding Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead and how it connects to events in the graphic novel. If you wish to remain in the dark — and have somehow avoided the online explosion of fan anguish until now — be warned that this piece will discuss lots of details from Sunday's show.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Ari, look up in the sky.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

What? It's a bird.

SIEGEL: It's a plane. No, it's CBS's first superhero series of the 21st century. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says "Supergirl," which debuts tonight, reinvents the character from modern times.

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump is scheduled to host Saturday Night Live on Nov. 7. It's a hosting choice that has raised questions over whether TV stations will be required to give equal time to other candidates — and raised eyebrows, because of Trump's controversial statements about Mexican immigrants.

As debates over race and SNL swirl once more, NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans offers this commentary:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

From his first moments on air, new host Trevor Noah gave fans The Daily Show they have known and loved for years, with a few upgrades.

There were new graphics and a new desk, but the same old frat rock guitar music in the intro and the same show-closing Moment of Zen. Noah even began his hosting gig last night by talking about the guy he was succeeding, recently departed Daily Show host Jon Stewart.

One of the most painful ironies of the TV business is the way short term business needs force action that makes no sense in the long run.

Consider this week's start of the fall TV season. There's a heap of brand new programs coming to the networks just as broadcasters face more competition than ever from shows on cable and online. This means there's never been a greater need for ambitious, groundbreaking material to prove the broadcast networks haven't become the buggy whips of the media business.

In a year when more than 400 series will air on various television-like platforms, why should anyone still care about Sunday night's Emmy Awards?

The short answer: It's still the biggest honor in TV, handed out by the very people who make all the stuff we're watching on our smartphones, tablets, laptops and big-screen monitors.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For more than a decade, CBS Entertainment chief Nina Tassler seemed like the last woman standing in network TV, maintaining control of the most-watched broadcast network's drama, comedy and late-night offerings while executives at rival outlets rose and fell.

If there was a moment that best summed up the inspired, surprising and sometimes uneven nature of Stephen Colbert's debut as host of CBS' Late Show last night, it came toward the program's end.

That's when Colbert, known for his willingness to croon a tune or two, jumped on stage to belt out a version of Sly and the Family Stone's Everyday People with an all-star band that included bluesman Buddy Guy, gospel legend Mavis Staples and Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard.

It's tough to imagine a time when this country wasn't struggling with cocaine brought into the U.S. from Latin America, and the violence that often accompanies it. But when Netflix's new series Narcos introduces us to brash Colombian smuggler Pablo Escobar, it's the late 1970s and Escobar is busy with other contraband.

It's the one question fans of The Walking Dead have never really seen answered: What happened?

Music icon Prince is worried about the future of the music business for artists, and his top priority can be summed up in one word: Freedom.

"Record contracts are just like — I'm gonna say the word – slavery," Prince told a group of 10 journalists Saturday night, during a meet and greet at his Paisley Park Studios in Minneapolis. "I would tell any young artist ... don't sign."

Pages