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.

Pages

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.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:55 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

CBS' Bob Schieffer Retires Sunday As Last Of The Old-School TV Anchors

Bob Schieffer on the set of Face the Nation in September.
Chris Usher CBS

Originally published on Sat May 30, 2015 11:14 am

No one can ask a tough question quite like Bob Schieffer.

For example, when he asked then-presidential candidate John Edwards: "It appears that the White House strategy will be to picture you as a pretty boy....A lightweight...Does that bother you?"

Cue nervous laughter from a candidate who became known for paying $400 to get a haircut.

Read more
Television
7:31 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.

Read more
Television
5:24 am
Mon May 18, 2015

'Mad Men' Finale: A Love Letter To Fans Filled With Mostly Happy Endings

The cast of Mad Men: January Jones (from left), Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks and John Slattery
Frank Ockenfels 3 AMC

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 2:01 pm

From the beginnings of the Mad Men phenomenon, many of the show's fans wondered if superstar adman Don Draper was destined to write one of the iconic advertising catchphrases of the time.

So it's a testament to the skills of show creator Matthew Weiner that some regular viewers were still surprised by the show's series finale Sunday, which implies that Don invented the classic 1971 Coca-Cola campaign, "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke." This, after he concluded a long, soul-searching trip through America with a trip to a California yoga retreat.

Read more
Television
5:02 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

David Letterman Looks Back On Career As TV's Longest-Serving Late Night Host

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 9:35 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Television
3:37 am
Thu May 14, 2015

David Letterman's Top 10 Late-Night Memories (Well, Not Really)

David Letterman, seen here snapping a selfie with his replacement Stephen Colbert, will step down next week as host of the Late Show.
Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 5:05 pm

What I first noticed about David Letterman was how quickly he ditched the suit.

During a taping of the Late Show on Monday at the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan, he put off donning his suit jacket as long as possible, greeting the crowd in just a shirt and tie for a pre-show Q & A session before shrugging on the coat just as recording began.

Read more
Television
4:50 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

'American Idol' To End After 15 Seasons

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 9:00 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A long-running, groundbreaking television favorite is calling it quits.

(SOUNDBITE OF "AMERICAN IDOL" THEME SONG)

Read more
The Two-Way
3:55 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

ABC Brings Muppets Back To Prime Time As News Emerges About Fall Shows

Kermit the Frog speaks to Gonzo the Great in a scene from ABC's The Muppets.
Eric McCandless ABC

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 6:21 pm

The long wait for Muppets fans is over: ABC is bringing back the beloved puppets in a prime-time TV series this fall for the first time in nearly 20 years.

News of the new show, called The Muppets, dropped this week as TV networks begin calling producers, stars and studio executives in advance of next week's "upfronts" — the annual ritual where broadcasters roll out their fall schedules for advertisers to score advance sales.

Read more
Television
5:28 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Successful Superhero TV Shows Go Beyond Superpowers

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 8:14 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Television
4:39 am
Fri April 17, 2015

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

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

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

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.

Read more

Pages