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,, 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.

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.

After watching ABC's two-hour premiere of its American Idol reboot, I'm still not sure they answered the most important question: Why bring this faded music competition back now?

The easy answer is money.

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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.


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It's been nearly two years since we heard someone say...


RYAN SEACREST: This is "American Idol."

Marvel's Jessica Jones follows an alcoholic private eye who has superstrength and serious anger issues.

In a scene from the show's second season, due Thursday on Netflix, Jessica gets a little carried away in anger management class. She bounces a rubber ball against a wall while talking about what makes her emotional: "My whole family was killed in a car accident. Someone did horrific experiments on me. I was abducted, raped and forced to kill someone." Eventually, the wall gives way.

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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.


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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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As a child of Gary, Ind., I've waited years for a TV show or movie to intimately explore Chicago's poor, mostly black South Side neighborhoods — like The Wire did for West Baltimore and Boyz N The Hood did for South Central Los Angeles. I so wanted Showtime's The Chi, which debuts Sunday, to be that show in this moment, but the first four episodes I saw didn't quite hit the mark.

The snow and severe cold of the "bomb cyclone" currently hitting the East Coast is no joke.

But for a TV nerd, a storm that shuts down work and school means more time for binge-watching!

It may be only a day or two, so viewing choices are crucial. Can't waste time with dramas that go nowhere or marginally funny sitcoms (yes, Twin Peaks and Curb Your Enthusiasm, I'm talking about you). I'm here to give you some suggestions tailored to your tastes. Hopefully, these shows will act like a hot bowl of chicken soup and a thick, warm blanket.

In a year filled with paradoxes, this might be one of the saddest: 2017 has been a great year for women in TV. But current circumstances sometimes make it difficult to celebrate.

That's because we're in the early stages of a reckoning over sexual harassment in Hollywood that is reshaping the industry in ways that are painful, necessary and tough to predict.

It's time to say goodbye — and then hello again — to a TV legend. The BBC's long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who bid farewell to lead actor Peter Capaldi in the show's traditional Christmas episode, introducing a new star in the process and ushering in one of the biggest changes in the show's 54-year history.

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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.


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.


One of the most difficult tasks in Hollywood is to get someone who is successful to admit they are dead wrong.

That's a lesson comic Hari Kondabolu learned the hard way, while making his compelling, layered, highly entertaining documentary airing on truTV Sunday, The Problem with Apu.

On the surface, it's kind of a comedy primal scream: a passionate exploration of why the Indian character on The Simpsons, Kwik-E-Mart clerk Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, is racist.

ABC's Grey's Anatomy might be the best show on television that TV critics rarely talk about.

Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson has a way with words that borders on magic. At least, it seems that way after watching a few episodes of CBS's newest police drama reboot, S.W.A.T.

In the new show, beefcake star Shemar Moore is Hondo, a nonwhite guy (the show isn't more specific) from a tough neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles who winds up leading a Special Weapons and Tactics police unit. Every chance he gets, he defuses tension with suspects or crime victims (often people of color) by telling them about his hardscrabble background.

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If you aren't caught up on The Walking Dead, be warned: This review discusses plot points from the seventh season.

What kind of Walking Dead will we see this season? Considering what the show's producers put fans through last season, it's a fair question.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit