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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Olivia Pope is about to handle her final crisis. She's the fictional political fixer at ABC drama "Scandal," which airs its final episode tonight. Here's NPR TV critic Eric Deggans.

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Science fiction TV fans might remember this catchphrase.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "LOST IN SPACE (1965)")

DICK TUFELD: (As The Robot) Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

TV Review: 'Legion'

Apr 1, 2018

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It's a superhero show without capes, masks or flying. The FX cable channel show "Legion" returns for a second season Tuesday, trying to extend its reputation as one of its TV's most ambitious comic book adaptations. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans tells us how they pulled it off.

Be warned: The review below contains plenty of spoilers about past and present episodes of Billions.

The biggest problem Showtime's Billions has: It's a show that is way too easy to underestimate.

At a time when income inequality and the struggles of the middle class are front-page news, it's tough to lionize a show about a millionaire U.S. attorney in an all-consuming personal and professional grudge match with a billionaire hedge fund owner.

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It seems like another example of television's gender pay gap: executive producers of Netflix's drama The Crown have admitted that star Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth, was paid less than Matt Smith, the supporting actor who played her husband, Prince Philip.

But a look at the details of this deal also shows how well stardom pays off in show business, especially when an actor in a supporting role is more famous than the star of their new television series.

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Last night, for the first time, TV viewers saw a 2006 interview where O.J. Simpson talked about the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "O.J. SIMPSON: THE LOST CONFESSION?")

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Critics tend to judge Olympics coverage by a few key metrics: How many mistakes did the commentators make, and how many people are actually watching the games in prime time?

When it comes to NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics, the first category has a couple of doozies, such as the network declaring a winner of the women's super-G Alpine skiing event before all the competitors had skied, including the actual winner.

It's the biggest smorgasbord on TV. NBC and its related platforms are serving up more than 2,400 hours of Olympics coverage through the closing ceremony on Feb. 25 — a record for a Winter Olympics. It's all there in front of you, but figuring out what you want and when you want it is a challenge. Here are a few ideas on sorting through it all:

How To Watch On TV

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Super Bowl LII was a terrific football game, especially if you're an Eagles fan. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans was watching for the halftime show and the commercials between the plays on the field.

(SOUNDBITE OF SUPER BOWL LII)

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Review: 'The Alienist'

Jan 22, 2018

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And a new series is debuting tonight on TNT. "The Alienist" is the story of a group of sleuths in the 19th century on the hunt for a serial killer. It's based on the best-selling novel. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the show is really an attempt by TNT to redefine its brand.

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Today we are wrapping up our series of Highly Specific Superlatives. And this entry starts with a scene in a TV show.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ONE MISSISSIPPI")

To be honest, I never really understood why so many people saw The Crown as a superior TV show last season.

Yes, the Netflix drama has the production values and ambition of an epic motion picture, tracing the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II. And for those who miss the aristocratic soap opera of Downton Abbey, a big-budget recounting of the royal family's turmoil over marriages and abdications is quite a replacement. Who can argue with 13 Emmy nominations?

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The latest powerful man to be accused of sexual misconduct is the hip-hop mogul who introduced us to sounds like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I NEED A BEAT (REMIX)")

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It was TV history made in a moment. Goofy 13-year-old Cyrus Goodman came out as gay by confiding to his good friend Buffy that he had a crush on a boy. That boy is cool kid Jonah Beck, who just started dating Cyrus and Buffy's best friend, Andi Mack.

The show is the Disney Channel's hit tween dramedy, Andi Mack. And it's the first time the channel has featured a coming-out story for a teen in a live action show. The series hinted that Cyrus might have a crush on Jonah through its first season, but Friday's episode was the moment when Cyrus finally said it out loud.

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A new comedy premieres Sunday on Showtime called "White Famous." It's the story of a black performer's struggle to succeed in Hollywood. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans reviews an exploration of race in Hollywood.

Space isn't quite the final frontier for Star Trek: Discovery. Instead, the first new Star Trek series to come to television in a dozen years faced a more challenging frontier: the skepticism of all us sci-fi nerds who wanted new Trek, but were wary producers might mess the whole thing up.

It's the toughest question a Floridian has when facing an approaching hurricane:

Do I stay or do I go? If I go, where do I go? When do I leave? And how do I get there?

I've lived in St. Petersburg, Fla., for 22 years and faced the possibility of at least six hurricanes making landfall in the state. Until Irma, I never seriously considered evacuating. But Irma's massive size and record wind speed, threatened to turn my home — just a block from a picturesque canal — into a wading pool.

Journalist-turned-TV producer David Simon is particularly good at two things: exposing the mindless, brutal institutions and systems that grind many Americans down, and humanizing people who normally exist at the margins of polite conversation.

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Like a lot of kids in high school, Sam worries that he doesn't fit in.

"I'm a weirdo. That's what everyone says," declares the 18-year-old character at the center of Netflix's new dramatic comedy series Atypical.

One reason Sam struggles to fit in: He has autism.

As his character explains at the start of the first episode, sometimes he doesn't understand what people mean when they say things. And that makes him feel alone, even when he's not.

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