Eric Deggans

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When the real world is as crazy as five Saturday Night Live skits, the bar raises to an absurd height for the quality of satire you need to make sense of it all.

Which explains, in part, why SNL's 46th season opener last night felt so flat and uninspired. After the kind of week President Trump had in real life – contracting the coronavirus and getting airlifted to a hospital days after making fun of opponent Joe Biden for wearing a mask – there wasn't much Alec Baldwin could do to top that.

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The anthology TV series "Fargo" returns for a fourth season on FX on Sunday. Again this year, it has a whole new story and a whole new cast, including Chris Rock. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the comedian has arrived as a dramatic actor.

Like everything else, the ongoing pandemic and the nation's civil rights reckoning has completely upended this year's Emmy awards.

And it may be the best thing that has happened for the contest in quite a while.

Most years — held back by groupthink, star worship and Hollywood's unending popularity contests — the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences overlooks quite a lot in its nominees for TV's ultimate awards, the Emmys.

Which is why, years ago, I created my own TV honors, called the Deggys.

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Watch actor Sterling K. Brown, and one of the first things you may notice is his eyes.

In a scene from the last season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Brown plays Reggie, a hard-nosed manager who fires comic Midge Maisel from the opening spot of a major tour.

As Reggie explains his reasons in an emotional speech, tears well up in his eyes. His language is rough, but his eyes reveal something more: He's feeling guilty and defensive.

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Let's talk now about talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres, who has built her show around being welcoming. Have a listen. This is from her acceptance speech for Favorite Daytime TV Host at the People's Choice Awards.

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Finally today, Beyonce's long-awaited visual album "Black Is King" dropped yesterday on the Disney Plus streaming service. It includes a song Beyonce released earlier as a music video called "Already."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALREADY")

Since 1989, Cops has made riveting television from verité footage of arrests and emergency calls — often capturing scenes of police interacting with clueless suspects — filmed by riding along with police officers.

But the long-running unscripted show has been canceled after 32 seasons. The Paramount Network dropped it amid widespread protests nationwide about policing.

The show's 33rd season was scheduled to debut next Monday.

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I nearly lost it when the number dropped from 50 to 10.

My mother's church pastor tried to be steady and consoling, but I could hear the emotion at the edges of his voice. His news: Instead of the 50 mourners we hoped to host, just 10 people would be allowed to attend her funeral on March 28, courtesy of the latest social distancing requirements laid down by state and local officials. Including church staff.

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Last night, Lizzo won Entertainer of the Year honors at the 51st NAACP Image Awards. And her acceptance speech sounded a bit like the mission statement for the whole show.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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The "Breaking Bad" spinoff "Better Call Saul" is back for a new season in a two-night event on Sunday and Monday. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the show and its portrait of lawyer Jimmy McGill has stayed sharp, cinematic and tragic.

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The man behind some of the landmark television shows of the '70s and '80s has died. Fred Silverman was the network executive who gave the green light to...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOVIN' ON UP")

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HBO's latest prestige mini-series is a TV version of a Stephen King novel, "The Outsider." NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says this series, which debuts on Sunday, takes a dark subject and makes it darker.

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Morning radio host Tom Joyner retired today, ending his self-titled syndicated show after 25 years.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED CHORUS: (Singing) It's "The Tom Joyner Morning Show."

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ABC is so supportive of its new spinoff of "Black-ish," called "Mixed-ish," the network got Mariah Carey to sing the sitcom's theme song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IN THE MIX")

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"Saturday Night Live" has fired cast member Shane Gillis just four days after they announced he was hired. Gillis used racist and homophobic language on a podcast that he co-hosted. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans is on the line with me. Hi, Eric.

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