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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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: When the new season of the reality TV show "Celebrity Apprentice" premieres January 2 on NBC, a familiar name will be in the credits. Donald Trump will be listed as executive producer. It's another conflict of interest for the president-elect, and NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans says it could be a problem for NBC, too. ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: When Donald Trump first announced he was running for president back in June...

When new CBS Entertainment President Glenn Geller faced TV critics in August to talk about the network's new fall shows, the first question he got was straight to the point. "Why is it so difficult to get more inclusion for people of color in the top level of casting at CBS?" asked Maureen Ryan, chief TV critic for the trade magazine Variety . "And what message does it send that the leads of your shows are all heterosexual white men?" Ryan kicked off a grilling about diversity that...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. DAVID GREENE, HOST: OK, twice a year, journalists and critics gather in Los Angeles for the Television Critics Association press tour. This is two to three weeks of nonstop press conferences offered by television networks, cable channels and streaming companies to show off all their new programs. But here's this - 3 of the 4 biggest broadcast networks say they're not going to bring their top executives to press conferences at January...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: The nightmare of unchecked corporate power has long provided inspiration to writers and filmmakers from Kurt Vonnegut to Ridley Scott, who made "Alien." "Incorporated," a new TV show on cable's Syfy channel, joins that tradition. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the show definitely taps into fears about income inequality, global warming and corporate supremacy. ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: The year is 2074, and TV...

You know it from the first few notes of Thurl Ravenscroft's barrel-chested performance — singing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" with the same flair he brought to playing Tony the Tiger in Kellogg's cereal commercials — Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a holiday classic. The animated film turns 50 this year, airing on NBC about three weeks before its actual birthday. And it is, admittedly, a little weird to call a 26-minute cartoon about a green guy who learns not to steal...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: With Thanksgiving upon us, you might have a chance to veg out in front of the TV after dinner. And if you're not into football, you might want to catch up on some shows that you may have overlooked over the past few months. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says this is a great time to watch some shows that are new this season and have really found their legs. Hey there, Eric. ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Hey, how you doing?...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: "Duck Dynasty" will end in April after 11 seasons. It was part of a genre of unscripted TV shows based on rural, working-class Southern culture. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the show's decline may mark a turning point. (SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "DUCK DYNASTY") SI ROBERTSON: We've got a unbelievable announcement for y'all. ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: That's how fans of "Duck Dynasty" found out after Wednesday's season...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. DAVID GREENE, HOST: Journalists in Washington all have something in common it seems. If the name Gwen Ifill ever came up, everyone would have some story about how she remembered a random fact in your life even if you hadn't seen her in a while or how she gave you a reassuring hug at just the right moment. The PBS anchor and longtime Washington journalist died yesterday at age 61 after a battle with cancer. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: We have one more story about the election, this time from the entertainment world. Donald Trump's election prompted a burning question from fans of political satire. What will "Saturday Night Live" say? The show has a long history of defining pivotal elections through parody, and it earned some of its best ratings in years in part because of Alec Baldwin's devastating parody of Donald Trump. "SNL's" first post...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Here to talk more about the struggle over ratings is NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. Hey there, Eric. ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Hi. CORNISH: So Laura just mentioned how Symphony can track viewership of streamed shows. Can Nielsen actually do this technically? DEGGANS: Yes, they can. Cable channels and broadcast networks have been pressuring Nielsen to come up with this data. And they feel that they've been slow in...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: Anglophiles looking for an escape from America's often outrageous election news may have a new, more refined TV option. Netflix's "The Crown," which dramatizes Queen Elizabeth II's reign, debuts its first season this Friday. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans explains where this epic journey hits a few potholes. ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: In "The Crown," a 20-something Queen Elizabeth often seems ambivalent about taking the...

Issa Rae knows she is committing a revolutionary act by simply creating a TV show centered on an average black woman's life. And she can't believe it. "Isn't it sad that it's revolutionary?" says Rae, whose new comedy Insecure , debuts on HBO Sunday night. "It's so basic ... but we don't get to do that. We don't get to just have a show about regular black people being basic." Rae will actually make history Sunday, as the first black woman to create and star in a scripted series for the...

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As protests over police shootings of black men top the news, Netflix debuts a show on Friday about a bulletproof black man. It's called Marvel's Luke Cage , and it's based on one of Marvel Comics' first black superheroes. Step into executive producer and showrunner Cheo Coker's cramped office in Hollywood, and you face a wall plastered with comic books from the 1970s and '80s. "That's where my love of comics started." he says. "Because when I read those I mean I was, what, sixth grade?" As...

When our collective attention turns to the flood of new shows headed to network television each fall, the same question arises: Does the fall TV season even matter anymore? It's true that in the age of #PeakTV new shows drop all the time, so focusing on the fall seems a little old fashioned. But I think this time of year still matters, for a few reasons. The third week of September is still the beginning of the new TV season for broadcast networks, which still draw the most viewers of any TV...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: The Toronto International Film Festival wraps up this weekend. It's the largest film festival in North America - some 300 films in just 10 days. Now, many of these movies will be released widely in the next few months. NPR's movie critic, Bob Mondello, is at the festival, and he joins us now. Bob, how was it? BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: It was amazing. I had - actually, it is amazing. It's still going on. I had the...

For Star Trek 's George Takei, it was one of the worst predictions he ever made, and one of the best strokes of luck in his life: Takei, known to fans worldwide as helmsman Hikaru Sulu, originally thought the show would last only one season. "When we were shooting the pilot, Jimmy Doohan [who played engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott] said to me, 'Well, George, what do you think about this? What kind of run do you think we'll have?'" says Takei. "And I said, 'I smell quality. And that means...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Two new series that start on cable tonight depict black culture and modern life, and our TV critic Eric Deggans says they're worth watching. One is a comedy on FX called "Atlanta." The other is a family drama called "Queen Sugar." It's on OWN, Oprah Winfrey's network. (SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: From the opening moments of "Queen Sugar," the sultry score by neo-soul star Meshell Ndegeocello hints...

Constance Zimmer has built a long career playing tough, unsentimental women, including a shady operative on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a hard-nosed journalist on Netflix's House of Cards . And the role which earned Zimmer her first Emmy nomination this year — reality TV producer Quinn King on Lifetime's UnREAL — could be TV's most caustic villain. So it's a little surprising that when you ask the actress how she feels about the meaning of her nomination, she almost cries. "It's a...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR .

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: It's really, really hot today. Here in D.C., it's 88. In Phoenix, it's 109, and I'm betting it's pretty hot where you are, too. So we're going to take a few minutes now to talk about everyone's favorite way to cool off - ice cream. To be precise, we're going to go through the history of frozen treats, starting in 3,000 B.C. when people in China mixed mountain snow with fruit and beer. Food historian Francine...

Even before The Nightly Show debuted in Jan., 2015, host Larry Wilmore joked with me about what might happen if he failed. "We ain't gonna let any other brothers [host a late night show] now... we gave him a chance," Wilmore joked, imagining the reaction of TV executives if his attempt to create a show that talks often and frankly about race — hosted by a black man in the mostly white world of late night television — didn't work out. "I'm following in the [George] Lopez, Mo'Nique footsteps?...

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Editor's note: As you'll see right away, this column includes a word that is offensive to many. Ask star and co-creator Issa Rae about the many times the word "nigga" surfaces in her new HBO comedy Insecure — a wonderfully unassuming comedy about the life of a sometimes-awkward young black woman in Los Angeles — and she's got a simple answer. This is how she and her friends talk to each other. "I understand that people have strong feelings about the use and non-use of the n-word," said Rae,...

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