Eric Deggans

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And finally today, we remember that most people experienced the 9/11 attacks through television, especially TV news. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says, in the 20 years since, it's also shaped television.

There is a long list of ways America was transformed by the terrorist attacks that destroyed the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001. But the question of how TV itself was changed – particularly in ways still relevant today – is more complicated.

CNBC anchor Shepard Smith, who covered the attack and its aftermath when he worked at Fox News Channel, points to a small but impactful TV innovation: the constant presence of an onscreen news ticker, scrolling through headlines, on cable news channels.

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Emmy-nominated actor Michael K. Williams has died at the age of 54. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans says Williams, featured in series like "Lovecraft Country" and "Boardwalk Empire," was a consummate character actor. He's here to remember him with us.

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Here's what I found most impressive about FX's Impeachment: American Crime Story — though Monica Lewinsky is a producer on the show, even she doesn't get out of this tale unscathed.

This is tough to admit now, but any good appreciation is grounded in honesty, so here goes:

I used to be one of those drummers who thought the Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts was overrated.

Proof of my horrendous mistake in such thinking flooded social media Tuesday, as superstar musicians such as Elton John, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Joan Jett, Bruce Springsteen drummer Max Weinberg and Public Enemy frontman Chuck D paid tribute to Watts, who died Tuesday in London of an undisclosed illness. He was 80.

As the trial of disgraced R&B superstar R. Kelly unfolds, it's tough to imagine reaching this moment without the 2019 Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly.

That's because the six-part project seemed to transform public opinion about the singer in an instant, with detailed, harrowing accounts from women who said Kelly spent decades pursuing underage girls for sex and maintaining abusive relationships. Kelly has denied the allegations.

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As the creator of popular documentaries for public television like Baseball and The Civil War, Ken Burns often seems like the face of documentary filmmaking at PBS.

Like so many things connected to this year's often-troubled Tokyo Olympic Games, NBCUniversal's final viewership figures for its TV and streaming coverage have a definite good news/bad news quality.

This year's Emmy nominations cover a time when the coronavirus pandemic turned the TV industry upside down. So it makes sense that the shows and performances announced Tuesday might include some choices that are a bit ... unconventional.

From the funky, opening groove of the film's first song, Stevie Wonder's slinky jam on the Isley's Brothers' "It's Your Thing," it is obvious the new documentary Summer of Soul (...or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) will be packed with little-seen, landmark live performances.

But watch a little longer, as Wonder sits behind a drumkit to whip off a crackling drum solo. As he works the kit, clips of news reports and pundits surface talking about the crucial political and social issues facing Black people in 1969. And you realize you're seeing something more.

As a critic who loves glitzy awards shows and celebrations of great work, I find the Emmy season feels a bit like Christmas and the Super Bowl rolled into one, glorious package. But it can be ruined if the folks handing out the big awards make the wrong picks.

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Conan O'Brien keeps saying this goodbye is a good thing.

David Simon created two of TV's most groundbreaking series about the failure of the war on drugs, set in the neighborhoods of Baltimore: HBO's The Corner and The Wire.

Still, even as he allows that those shows — with their visceral look at the intersection of race, policing, violence and tragedy — may have helped people question five decades of failed drug policy, Simon says he remains a "cockeyed pessimist" on the question of whether the war will ever end.

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First, I must note how much I love Tom Hanks as a performer, Hollywood citizen and all-around stand-up guy.

In nearly twenty years hosting the different dating series in The Bachelor franchise, host Chris Harrison has handled everything from confronting rule-breaking contestants to chasing down Bachelor star Colton Underwood after he hopped a fence and tried to quit the show.

But today it is Harrison who is leaving. ABC and producers of The Bachelor and its spin offs, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, have confirmed that the host is gone for good after fumbling a race-related controversy from the mothership program.

(Ed. Note: This review tries to avoid big spoilers, but drops details about the first two episodes of Marvel's Loki.)

There are a lot of TV genres and tropes I suspect inspired Marvel's highly anticipated superhero series for Disney+, Loki. But after watching the first two episodes of the new show, I realized producers came up with the one thing I didn't expect: a Men in Black-meets-48 Hours-style buddy cop comedy adventure.

If all you know about the Tulsa Race Massacre is the re-creations of the attack featured in HBO series like Watchmen and Lovecraft Country, prepare yourself for a serious education over the next few weeks.

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First, we must acknowledge that the third season of Netflix's Master of None, on some level, feels like a dodge.

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"Master Of None" returns on Sunday. It's an Emmy-winning series by Netflix. The third season centers on a character played by Lena Waithe, who's also the writer and producer. Our TV critic Eric Deggans says this is a change in focus with an off-screen backstory.

Cher felt powerless.

This is not an admission you expect from a woman who has been a superstar since the mid-1960s, with 100 million records sold and 3.9 million Twitter followers.

But when the pop star got involved in helping save an elephant stuck in a zoo in Islamabad under terrible conditions, Cher also had to fight an uncomfortable feeling.

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Watching Elon Musk slouch his way through a stint hosting NBC's Saturday Night Live, I had one thought: Lorne Michaels, gentleman provocateur, has done it again.

Michaels, the sketch show's longtime executive producer and guru, does many things well. But his talent for poking the zeitgeist with attention-getting hosting choices may be one of his least appreciated talents — and his secret weapon for keeping SNL in the national conversation.

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It was this announcement that deflated a three-hour-plus broadcast.

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JOAQUIN PHOENIX: And the Academy Award for actor goes to Anthony Hopkins, "The Father."

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