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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Television
5:41 am
Wed July 22, 2015

Syfy's 'Sharknado 3' Fails At Being Really Good Bad Television

Mark Cuban, left, as President of the United States, faces killer sharks with Ian Ziering in the Syfy film Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!
The Global Asylum/Syfy

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 5:12 pm

For connoisseurs of wonderfully bad television, there is a fine line between stuff that's so bad it's great fun to watch and stuff that's just bad.

And Syfy's latest Sharknado movie — the third one based on tornadoes filled with killer sharks terrorizing America, if you can believe it — has finally, unfortunately, fallen into that last category.

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Television
5:38 pm
Thu July 16, 2015

Emmy Nominations For 'Transparent,' Tatiana Maslany Showcase New Talent

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 6:56 am

If there is one complaint which has dogged the Emmy awards year after year, it is the repetition of beloved series and performers, time and again, as nominees and winners.

But all that bad buzz went out the window when nominations for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards were announced Thursday, revealing a roster of nominees with more new faces and new shows than the contest has featured in quite a long while.

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Code Switch
5:53 am
Sun July 12, 2015

In The Writer's Room, One Woman Quietly Makes Late Night History

Robin Thede is head writer for Comedy Central's The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. She's previously been a reporter for E! News, a writer for BET's Real Husbands of Hollywood and head writer for The Queen Latifah Show.
Jaxonphotogroup Courtesy of Robin Thede

Originally published on Tue July 14, 2015 12:00 am

How do you write jokes for a TV comedy about race and culture when there are riots over how police treat black suspects, and a gunman just shot down nine people in a black church?

If you're Robin Thede, head writer for The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, you think carefully about where you focus the joke.

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Television
5:47 am
Wed July 1, 2015

USA's 'Mr. Robot,' HBO's 'Ballers' Among Picks For Best Summer TV Series

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (right) stars opposite Rob Corddry in the HBO series Ballers.
Jeff Daly HBO

Originally published on Tue July 7, 2015 3:29 pm

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The Two-Way
2:37 pm
Thu June 18, 2015

4 Ways NBC Might Rehabilitate Brian Williams' Image

Brian Williams at an event in New Jersey in 2014.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Thu June 18, 2015 3:54 pm

NBC has worked out a deal to keep tarnished news anchor Brian Williams at the company, sending him to MSNBC to serve as anchor of breaking news and special reports.

But this brings a new question: How, exactly, can NBC get viewers to trust him again?

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Television
4:30 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Amazon's 'Catastrophe' Isn't One — Unlike Some TV Rom-Coms

Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney co-star in the new Amazon romantic comedy, Catastrophe.
Ed Miller Channel 4

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 8:06 pm

Amazon's new romantic comedy Catastrophe begins with a whirlwind tryst that could have been ripped from the latest contemporary romance novel.

Rob is a handsome, witty American advertising executive in London on business. After a chance meeting in a bar, he has an amazing week of romance and sex with a sharp, beautiful Irish schoolteacher named Sharon.

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Television
5:03 am
Fri June 12, 2015

A Good But Not Great New Season For Netflix's 'Orange Is The New Black'

Taylor Schilling, left, with costar Laura Prepon on Netflix's Orange is the New Black.
JOJO WHILDEN Netflix PR

Originally published on Fri June 12, 2015 7:33 am

The third season of Orange Is the New Black begins with middle-class slacker-turned-prison inmate Piper Chapman in a pretty dark place.

How can we tell? She's having a casual conversation about suicide with the prison's electrician. And when she suggests using pills instead of car exhaust in a garage, the electrician dismisses her for choosing a way out that's way too expensive.

"I didn't realize that my hypothetical suicide had a budget," Piper says, sarcastically. A moment later, she realizes, "this is not a healthy discussion."

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Television
3:25 pm
Thu June 11, 2015

Do Critics Of Violence And Sex In HBO's 'Game Of Thrones' Miss The Point?

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) on Game of Thrones.
Helen Sloan HBO

Originally published on Fri June 12, 2015 6:12 am

This is dangerous ground for a critic who has seen every episode of HBO's sword and dragon-fueled fantasy drama Game of Thrones but hasn't read one page of the books by George R.R. Martin which inspired the series.

But as the show winds up its fifth season Sunday, I'm beginning to wonder if some of the folks complaining about the extreme violence and controversial sexual content in recent scenes aren't missing the point a bit.

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Code Switch
10:17 am
Sun May 31, 2015

Racial Diversity Grows On Network Television, But Will Quality Lag Behind?

Ken Jeong, right, stars in the new ABC series Dr. Ken. Jeong appears with, from left, Kate Simses, Tisha Campbell-Martin and Jonathan Slavin.
Danny Feld ABC

The moment comes a minute or so into the trailer for Dr. Ken, Ken Jeong's new fall comedy for ABC.

He's playing a Korean-American doctor with no bedside manners and a wacky family; not a bad setup for a sitcom that will straddle the work/family setting. Dave Foley, the ex-Newsradio star who plays Jeong's boss, chides his employee for insulting a patient, demanding he apologize.

"And if I don't?" Jeong replies.

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Television
7:20 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Letterman Leaves Late-Night TV With A Near-Perfect Final Show

David Letterman hosts his final Late Show episode on Wednesday.
Jeffrey R. Staab CBS

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 7:11 am

When the final episode came, after weeks of accolades and tributes to his genius, David Letterman made sure he punctured the emotion of the moment with a little old-fashioned, self-deprecating sarcasm.

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