The most-watched 'Here & Now' interviews of 2021

Discussions about COVID-19 variants and vaccines, education policy across Wisconsin and the Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha captured the attention of viewers over the course of another tumultuous year.

By Kristian Knutsen | Here & Now

December 28, 2021

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An illustration shows blue and red letters spelling Here and Now with 2021 interviews in white type.

(Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

Here & Now interviewed scores of newsmakers and experts over the course of 2021, seeking to shed more light on a vast array of issues that helped shape life around Wisconsin. Here’s a look back at the 10 interviews that attracted the most viewers during the year, presented in chronological order.

Jan. 8: Grothman’s reaction to calls of removing Trump
U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, shared his thoughts on the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the tense political atmosphere in the final days of the Trump administration.

Jan. 29: Vos on mask mandate, COVID-19 bill
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, discussed the state Legislature’s stance on responding to COVID-19, the relationship between state and federal pandemic relief lawmaking, and the politics of wearing masks.

March 12: COVID-19 variants are cause for concern
Dr. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, described growing concern over the emergence of the Alpha variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.


March 19: American Rescue Plan’s impact on Affordable Care Act
Bobby Peterson, the executive director of the Madison-based non-profit law firm ABC for Health, discussed federal pandemic aid and how it affects Affordable Care Act policies, including the health insurance marketplace and Medicaid expansion.

April 2: The 2021 candidates for state superintendent
Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly, the 2021 spring election candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction of Wisconsin, debated education policy issues, including how to navigate the pandemic, achievement gaps, transgender athletes and how schools are funded. (Underly won the April 6 election.)

April 16: A Johnson & Johnson vaccine update and vaccinating children
Dr. Jim Conway, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, explained why distribution was paused for one type of COVID-19 vaccine, and expanding vaccination eligibility to teenagers and younger children.

June 25: The roots of ‘critical race theory’
Gloria Ladson-Billings, a professor emerita at the UW-Madison School of Education, and John Witte, a professor emeritus at the UW’s La Follette School of Public Affairs, discussed the academic origins and underpinnings of critical race theory.


July 23: The Delta variant – now and going forward
Minnesota-based infectious disease researcher Dr. Michael Osterholm explained why the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus posed a new challenge in managing the pandemic and what it meant for people who were both vaccinated and unvaccinated for the disease.

Oct. 29: Ground rules for the Rittenhouse trial
Lanny Glinberg, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School and a former prosecutor, explained pretrial rulings made by a Kenosha Circuit Court judge in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse and legal requirements of a self-defense argument.

Nov. 19: Kenosha after the Rittenhouse verdict
PBS Wisconsin reporter Marisa Wojcik shares reactions to the not guilty verdict rendered in the Rittenhouse trial, discussing the scene inside the courtroom and outside the Kenosha County Courthouse.


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