Eric Deggans

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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Listen at the audio link to hear Eric Deggans' review of Surviving R. Kelly. Read on for his extended interview with the show's executive producer, cultural critic dream hampton.

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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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A new documentary series gets its name from an insult. In February, Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham said this after basketball star LeBron James criticized President Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE INGRAHAM ANGLE")

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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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This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


Ask Freedom Singer Rutha Mae Harris, and she'll tell you plainly: You can't just sing "This Little Light of Mine." You gotta shout it:

"Everywhere I go, Lord, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!"

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Roseanne Barr has just given a master class on how not to apologize for a massive public flameout.

Appearing on Fox News pundit Sean Hannity's show Thursday, Barr claimed the backlash over a widely condemned racist tweet that led to ABC canceling her show was a huge misunderstanding.

The tweet implied that senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett was the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and an ape. Barr's defense? She didn't know Jarrett — who was born in Iran to American parents — was an African-American woman.

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The English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen premiered a new show last night on Showtime. It's called "Who Is America?" In the show, Cohen dresses up as different outrageous characters, all of whom go out and explore who is America. Now, this is a shtick he's used before in movies and TV. You probably remember Ali G or Borat. Cohen interviews real people, and he tries to get them to say wild things on camera. In this particular show, his characters include a guy wearing an NPR shirt.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "WHO IS AMERICA?")

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And finally today, we are going to hear more about the creative life of Robin Williams. He is the subject of a new HBO documentary airing tomorrow night called "Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind."

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