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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5:03am

Fri April 17, 2015
Television

Clone Drama 'Orphan Black' Returns, As Complex And Complicated As Ever

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 3:25 pm

Tatiana Maslany (center) plays several different clones on the BBC America series Orphan Black.
BBC America

For fans of BBC America's majestically complicated drama Orphan Black, this might be the toughest task they face all year: Explaining to newbies what the heck is going on just before the new season starts on Saturday.

Spoiler alert: Several plot points from the new season are discussed below

The series started with Sarah Manning, a con artist and onetime street urchin, stumbling upon a well-dressed woman who looked exactly like her, crying on a train platform — just before jumping in front of an oncoming train.

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1:18pm

Tue April 14, 2015
Monkey See

The 'Justified' Finale Brings An End To Another TV Western

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 5:30 pm

Timothy Olyphant plays Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on FX's Justified. The series finale airs tonight.
Prashant Gupta FX

Here's why I'm going to miss FX's modern-day Kentucky Western, Justified, so much.

In last week's episode, our hero, unflinching U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, has ambushed his bitter rival, backwoods Kentucky crime lord Boyd Crowder, shooting at him from across a darkened field on the side of a mountain in hopes of finally putting down the man who is most like his opposite number.

"You've given up everything that you are, so you can murder me," Crowder (Walton Goggins) yells at Givens (Timothy Olyphant) while hunched behind a rock for cover.

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5:37am

Sun April 12, 2015
Television

'Nurse Jackie' Ends As TV's Most Honest Depiction Of Addiction

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 4:46 pm

Edie Falco stars in Showtime's "Nurse Jackie."
David M. Russell Showtime

Even after an accident with a carload full of pills gets her arrested, Nurse Jackie Peyton can't be honest about her addictions. Especially not while explaining her sudden absence to her ex-husband Kevin.

"Where were you this past week?" Kevin asks, tensely.

"Really, you want to know where I was?" Jackie responds. "I went to a detox program."

"Is that what you call jail?" he shoots back. "I was notified of the accident. The car's still in my name."

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8:04am

Fri April 10, 2015
Television

'Game Of Thrones' And 'Veep' Anchor HBO's Killer Sunday Lineup

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 8:26 pm

As the new season of Game of Thrones begins, Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage) is on the run after killing his manipulative father.
HBO

(Spoiler alert: Details from the new seasons of several shows follow below.)

HBO's hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones ended last year with the most shocking death of the season: Tywin Lannister's.

Lannister, the most influential power broker in the fictional, medieval-style continent of Westeros, was killed by his son, the tortured alcoholic dwarf Tyrion.

When the show returns with a new episode Sunday night, Tyrion is on the run. The man who is helping him, a scheming spymaster named Varys, wants Tyrion's help.

But Tyrion isn't having it.

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8:06am

Sat April 4, 2015
Book News & Features

'So That Happened': Confessions Of A Duck-Man

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 10:00 am

Warner Bros. TV/Chuck Lorre Prod. The Kobal Collection

In the John Hughes-penned classic, Pretty in Pink, Jon Cryer's "Duckie" Dale has one of the best on-screen friendships in '80s teen movie history.

Unfortunately, he's also in love with that friend — his best friend — Andie, played by Molly Ringwald. She's about to date a rich kid, Andrew McCarthy's Blane, much to Duckie's disappointment.

Their fight, a climactic movie moment, only shows how much they care about each other. "You can't do this and respect yourself. You can't," Duckie insists to Andie.

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5:07am

Fri April 3, 2015
Television

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same As 'Mad Men' Winds Down

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 3:21 pm

The times, they may be changing — but the cast of AMC's Mad Men find it difficult to change with them.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

(Be warned: Some spoilers about Sunday's episode follow.)

If Mad Men has a mission statement, it's probably this: The times may change tremendously, but people rarely do.

Even when they really want to.

Consider the show's lead character, hotshot ad man Don Draper, a cool, in-control success to those who know him the least. As Sunday's episode begins, he is single again, a second marriage left in tatters due to his wandering eye.

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6:29am

Fri March 27, 2015
Television

Evaluating Whether It's Time To Cut The Cord

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 8:00 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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1:53pm

Tue March 24, 2015
Monkey See

James Corden Nods To Talk Show Tradition With CBS's 'Late Late Show'

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 3:44 pm

James Corden (left) talks to Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks on Monday's debut of The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Monty Brinton AP

Looks like it took a 36-year-old comic actor from a small British town no one has heard of to bring back the oldest of old-school American TV talk show traditions.

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4:55pm

Fri March 20, 2015
Television

In Move From Web To TV, 'Childrens Hospital' Could Set An Example

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 8:14 pm

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

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

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11:37am

Wed March 18, 2015
Monkey See

Does Fox's 'Empire' Break Or Bolster Black Stereotypes?

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 7:51 pm

Terrence Howard (center) stars in Empire with (from left): Jussie Smollett, Serayah McNeill, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Gray, Grace Gealey, Trai Byers and Kaitlin Doubleday.
Chuck Hodes Fox TV

As its freshman season ends Wednesday night, Fox's hip-hop family drama Empire has emerged as that rarest of birds in the broadcast TV industry: a show where the viewership is always going up.

When the series debuted Jan. 7, it drew a respectable 9.8 million viewers, according to the Nielsen company. But then the show about a family-run music empire achieved something few others have ever managed: It increased its audience every week, growing to 14.9 million viewers on March 4.

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