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.

Deggans is also currently a media analyst/contributor for MSNBC and NBC News. In August 2013, he 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. The same month, Deggans 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." And in 2019, he was named winner of the American Sociological Association's Excellence in the Reporting of Social Justice Issues Award.

In 2019, Deggans served as the first African American chairman of 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.

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.

Pepsi should have chosen a different slogan for its ads during this year's Super Bowl.

The company's slogan was "More than OK." Well, not really. In fact, most of the high-priced commercials we saw between the football plays were just OK. They were so careful to avoid scandal and backlash that they felt leached of originality or bite.

That's pretty much what Greg Lyons, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Beverages North America, predicted when I asked him last week what this year's spots would look like: nothing controversial.

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It's the holiday season, and while others are baking cookies or gathering with family, our TV critic Eric Deggans has been feverishly watching television to create his list of 2018's best tv series. And Eric joins us now. Hi there.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Hey.

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You may recognize this as a beloved children's song.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (Singing) This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.

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Hundreds and hundreds of series air every year. They are good and they are lousy; they are new and they are old. There's too much television for a comprehensive ranking, so Glen Weldon, Linda Holmes and Eric Deggans round up 16 of their favorite shows from 2018.

The Americans (FX)

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When a pair of convicted murderers broke out of an upstate New York prison three years ago, TV networks jumped on the story.

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Stan Lee was always a hero of mine; a feeling I share with many comic book fans. But it wasn't until recently – and especially following his death Monday at age 95 – that I began to realize that some of my love for him came specifically from my perspective as a black kid who grew up reading comic books in the 1970s.

Note: Spoilers abound for the upcoming and past seasons of House of Cards.

I wish I could say definitively that the #MeToo-fueled elimination of star Kevin Spacey from Netflix's House of Cards raised the political drama's game for its final season.

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Before the Emmy and Grammy awards, before hosting the Academy Awards and before earning status as one of the best stand-up comics of his generation, Chris Rock had nearly fallen out of big-time show business.

Back in the early 1990s, Rock was known mostly a protege of Eddie Murphy who got fired from Saturday Night Live, worked as a stand-up comic and popped up in movies like New Jack City and CB4. Another brother who almost made it.

Then came Bring the Pain.

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At last night's Emmys, the pool of nominees was so diverse the opening number made fun of it, proclaiming that Hollywood had solved the problem of underrepresentation in the TV business.

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The telecast of last night's Emmy awards included a touching moment that didn't have a lot to do with anyone winning anything.

(SOUNBITE OF 70TH ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS TELECAST)

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The Emmy Awards air tonight on NBC, celebrating the best work in television. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans worries they might not get it right. So he's come up with his own awards - the Deggys (ph).

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The character Jim Carrey plays on his new TV show just might remind you of someone else you've seen on television over the years. This is how he's described in the first episode when he visits Conan O'Brien's late-night talk show.

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Sometime next year, TV viewers may hear this sound in a new spin-off of a familiar show.

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