SPECIAL EDITION: 2018 YEAR IN REVIEW

The events, the players, the headlines, politics and protests, art and culture.  We’re breaking down the moments that shaped and defined 2018.

Aired on December 20 & 31, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, A SPECIAL EDITION OF 'METROFOCUS.'

2018, THE YEAR IN REVIEW.

FROM THE BLUE WAVE THAT SWEPT THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS TO THE GREEN WAVE ABOUT TO ROLL OVER NEW YORK STATE.

NATIONALLY, WE ARE A COUNTRY MORE DIVIDED BY POLITICS AND PARTY THAN WE HAVE SEEN IN GENERATIONS.

LOCALLY, WE'RE A STATE IN FLUX, AS THE FEUD BETWEEN THE MAYOR AND GOVERNOR CONTINUES TO GRAB ATTENTION, AND IN EVERY CORNER OF AMERICA, DIVISIONS OVER NATIONALISM VERSUS PATRIOTISM.

REAL NEWS VERSUS FAKE NOOSE, AND AN INCREASING DIVIDE OVER THE DEFINITION OF THE UNITED STATES AND WHO WE ARE AS A PEOPLE.

RACE AND INEQUALITY, GENDER AND PARITY.

A LOOK AT THE EVENTS AND PLAYERS THAT WERE 2018, AND THE MOMENTS THAT WILL FOREVER BE REMEMBERED FROM THE YEAR THAT WAS IS JUST AHEAD.

ALL THAT AND MORE AS THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM, III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF 'METROFOCUS,' 2018, THE YEAR IN REVIEW.

I'M JACK FORD.

2018 HAS UNQUESTIONABLY BEEN A ROLLER COASTER YEAR IN AMERICAN POLITICS.

THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS TO THE RESHAPING OF THE SUPREME COURT TO THE ME TOO MOVEMENT.

'METROFOCUS' HAS BEEN BRINGING YOU ALL THE STORIES THAT MATTER THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW HOW, MEASURED, UNBIASED AND AN EYE ON HOW POLITICS IMPACTS YOUR STATE, CITY, AND YOUR LIFE.

TONIGHT, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A LOOK BACK AND REVISIT THE BIGGEST STORIES OF THE YEAR, NATIONALLY AND LOCALLY, FROM POLITICS TO CULTURE, OUR CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE ARTS AND WHAT THAT TELLS US ABOUT WHERE WE'VE BEEN AND PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANT, WHERE WE'RE GOING.

HERE TO HELP GUIDE US THROUGH OUR LOOK AT THE POLITICAL HIGHLIGHT REEL THAT WAS 2018, TWO OF OUR FAVORITE AND FREQUENT GUESTS HERE ON 'METROFOCUS.'

FROM CITY AND STATE JEFF COLTON, AND COLUMNIST AND AUTHOR ELLIS HANNIGAN.

WELCOME TO ALL OF YOU.

WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO SET A BUSY YEAR INTO THIS SEGMENT HERE.

I'VE SEEN WHERE YOU TALKED ABOUT THIS BEING THE YEAR WHERE THE WALLS BEGAN TO CLOSE IN ON PRESIDENT TRUMP.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

DON'T YOU FEEL IT?

I BET HE DOES.

SPECIAL COUNSEL'S DO NOT WORK QUICKLY.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?

THEY EVENTUALLY TEND TO GET RESULTS, AND CERTAINLY 2018 WAS THE YEAR WHERE THAT CREEPING INVESTIGATION REALLY BEGAN TO SHOW GUILTY PLEAS, INDICTMENTS, JAIL SENTENCES.

AND BOY, A LOT OF NERVOUSNESS IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

YOU LOOK AT IT, AND, AGAIN, THESE THINGS ARE VERY SLOW AND THEN THEY SEEM --

THEY CRASH RIGHT IN YOUR FACE, YEAH.

LET'S TALK ABOUT IN NEW YORK HERE.

THERE WAS A GREAT DEAL OF ATTENTION, UNDERSTANDABLY PLAYED TO THE MIDTERMS.

WE'RE GOING TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT NATIONALLY THE IMPACT, BUT HOW ABOUT LOCALLY.

LET'S TALK ABOUT IN ALBANY.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED AND WHAT IS IT GOING TO LEAD TO?

SURE.

THE STORY ABOUT ALBANY IS A BUNCH OF NEW FACES.

THERE'S 17 NEW STATE SENATORS, MORE THAN A QUARTER OF THE BODY.

THAT'S PRETTY SHOCKING IN A LEGISLATOR THAT RARELY SEES TURNOVER.

BASICALLY IF YOU'RE ELECTED, YOU CAN STAY IN FOR AS LONG AS YOU WANT.

EXCEPT THIS YEAR.

17 NEW FACES, THE VAST MAJORITY ARE DEMOCRATS.

DEMOCRATS HAD WIDE TURN.

THEY WON EIGHT SEATS OVER THE REPUBLICANS.

THAT'S SHIFTING THE STATE SENATE FROM A REPUBLICAN TO A DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY.

THAT MEANS WE HAVE A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY, DEMOCRATIC STATE SENATE.

THAT'S GOING TO LEAD TO PROBABLY SOME LIBERAL CHANGES TO NEW YORK.

A LOT OF THOSE LAWS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO PASS IN THE PAST, NEXT YEAR, 2019, WE MAY SEE THEM HAPPENING.

I SEE A LOT OF PEOPLE SAYING OKAY, EVERYTHING IS GOING TO GET PASSED.

THIS IS ALBANY.

DOES THAT MEAN EVERYTHING IS GOING TO GET PASSED?

THERE'S CERTAINLY STILL DISAGREEMENTS ON BIG ISSUES, HOW TO FUND THE MTA, HOW MUCH TO TENT RENT LAWS TO FAVOR TENANTS.

THERE'S LOTS OF THE MINUTIA THAT NEEDS TO GET WORKED OUT AND SO MANY ISSUES ON THE TABLE THAT PROGRESSIVES IN THE STATE HAVE BEEN WANTING TO TACKLE FOR YEARS.

SO WE'RE GOING TO SEE A PRODUCTIVE SESSION I WOULD SAY IN ALBANY, BUT NOT EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ACHIEVED.

ELLIS, SAME TYPE OF QUESTION.

MIDTERMS, AND NOW WE HAVE A SPLIT CONGRESS HERE.

WHAT CAN WE ENVISION?

THE ONE THING IS A LOT OF LEGISLATION NOT BEING TURNED INTO LAW.

WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN ALBANY IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IN WASHINGTON.

WE HAVE A CONGRESS NOW THAT IS PREPARED, IN FACT, EAGER AND DAMN NEAR INSISTENT ON HOLDING THE PRESIDENT'S FEET TO THE FIRE.

SO A GUY WHO JUST SPENT TWO YEARS SLIDING ALONG WITHOUT A LOT OF CHALLENGE IN WASHINGTON IS GOING TO HAVE NOTHING BUT CHALLENGES.

WHAT WILL THAT MEAN PRACTICALLY?

YOU TOUCHED ON IT IN THE BEGINNING.

ARE WE NOW GOING TO SEE -- WE TALKED ABOUT GRIDLOCK BEFORE IN WASHINGTON.

ARE WE JUST GOING TO SEE A COMPLETE LOCKDOWN, WE HAVE A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT, WE HAVE A REPUBLICAN SENATE, AND A DEMOCRATIC CONTROLLED CONGRESS.

WILL ANYTHING COME OUT OF THAT?

PROBABLY NOT.

BUT YOU KNOW, NOTHING CAME OUT OF THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS.

SO I DON'T SEE THAT AS A HUGE CHANGE.

WHAT'S GOING TO CHANGE REALLY IS THE AGGRESSIVENESS OF THE TONE, THE PUBLIC NATURE OF THE CHALLENGES.

AND I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU, THAT WALLS JUST KEEP CLOSING IN TIGHTER AND TIGHTER ON THE PRESIDENT.

LET'S GO BACK TO THE NOTION OF LOCAL AND STATEWIDE.

A LOT OF NEW FACES AND NAMES YOU TALKED ABOUT.

ONE, ALEXANDRIA OH CASIO-CORTEZ, BEING LABELED A RISING STAR ALREADY, NOT EVEN SWORN IN.

TALK ABOUT THAT AND WHERE DO YOU THINK SHE'S GOING TO BE HEADED, AND WHAT OTHER NAMES MIGHT BE POPPING UP IN BOLDFACE?

THAT'S RIGHT.

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ HAS GONE FROM ABSOLUTE OBSCURITY, EVEN MYSELF, A LOCAL REPORTER, I BARELY HEARD ABOUT HER UNTIL THE WEEK BEFORE SHE WAS ELECTED.

IT WAS INCREDIBLE.

NOW HE HAS BECOME THIS NATIONAL FIGURE, REALLY PUSHING THE DEMOCRATIC, YOU KNOW, LEFT AGENDA.

PUSHING THE PROGRESSIVE SIDE OF THE PARTY.

SHE'S ALREADY GOT I THINK 20 CONGRESS MEMBERS TO SIGN ONTO THE GREEN NEW DEAL, THIS IDEA SHE'S PUSHING.

VERY IMPRESSIVE, AND I THINK ALL OF NEW YORK IS, WHETHER YOU LOVE HER OR HATE HER, EAGER TO SEE HOW SHE DOES WHEN SHE BECOMES AN ACTUAL WORKING CONGRESSWOMAN.

WE TALKED TO HER RIGHT AFTER SHE HAD WON THE NOMINATION.

AND GETTING A SENSE OF A NEW PERSON BRINGING IN A NEW SENSE OF ENERGY TO A CONGRESS, I THINK WHETHER YOU'RE GOING TO AGREE WITH HER OR NOT, THIS NOTION OF NEW PEOPLE COMING ABOARD.

ONE NOTE OF CAUTION ON THAT, THERE'S HUGE ENERGY, SHE'S SYMBOLIC, BUT YOU KNOW, WASHINGTON IS STILL AN INSTITUTIONAL PLACE.

WHEN YOU ARRIVE BY SLAYING SOMEONE, YOUR AGENDA SUGGESTS I AM WATCHING OUT FOR ME, WASHINGTON HAS A WAY OF GETTING REVENGE.

WE SAW A DRAMA PLAY OUT IN TERMS OF THE NOMINATION OF JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH TO BECOME JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH.

IS THIS ANOTHER SIGN -- IT SEEMS LIKE EACH TIME WE SEE -- PEOPLE FORGET IT WASN'T THAT LONG AGO NOMINEES IN THE SUPREME COURT DIDN'T EVEN APPEAR IN WASHINGTON BEFORE THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE.

THEIR SENATOR WOULD SHOW UP AND SAY A NICE THING AND THEY WOULD BE PUT ON THE BENCH.

IS THAT ANOTHER SIGN WHAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE DOWN THE ROAD?

THERE WERE TWO PIECES TO THE STORY.

ONE, IT WAS A ME TOO STORY IN A WAY AND A SETBACK FOR THE ME TOO MOVEMENT, BUT IT WAS ALSO A STEP FOLLOWED THIS THE INCREASINGLY CONSERVATIVE NATURE OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT.

IF THE POLITICS ARE TRENDING PROGRESSIVE, THE COURTS ARE TRENDING THE OPPOSITE.

IT IS THE LAST GREAT HOPE OF CONSERVATIVES IN AMERICA HAVE.

IT'S ALWAYS THE LASTING LEGACY.

AS WE'VE SEEN, A PRESIDENT CAN PUSH THROUGH LEGISLATION, THE NEXT PRESIDENT COMES IN AND SAYS THAT'S GONE.

BUT WHEN YOU GET ON THAT BENCH, YOU'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

AND HE'S NOT OLD.

SPEAKING OF NEXT PRESIDENTS, EVERY CANDIDATE THAT'S CONSIDERING A RUN IN 2020 WAS VERY VOCAL ABOUT THIS BRETT KAVANAUGH NOMINATION.

I'M THINKING ABOUT SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND.

SHE WAS OUT THERE, VERY VOCAL IN OPPOSITION TO APPROVING KAVANAUGH TO THE SUPREME COURT.

USING IT AS A SPRINGBOARD.

THAT'S WHAT I WANTED TO MENTION.

HOW ABOUT NATIONALLY, WHAT NAMES ARE GOING TO PERCOLATE TO THE TOP IN 2020?

IT'S NEW POSSIBLE QUESTION ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE.

THERE'S JUST SO MANY NAMES.

I DON'T THINK THERE IS AN OBVIOUS CANDIDATE.

I THINK IF YOU AND I WERE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION A YEAR FROM NOW, IT WOULD BE SOMEONE WE WOULDN'T EVEN THINK TO NAME.

I THINK THAT'S WHAT IS GOING TO BE INTERESTING, LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING WHO DOES PERCOLATE TO THE TOP OPPOSED TO BEING CONSIDERED A FRONT-RUNNER.

MAYBE JEFF KNOWS.

I DON'T KNOW.

WE'VE GOT A LOT -- WE'LL GET YOU BACK TO TALK ABOUT IT TOMORROW.

WINNERS AND LOSERS COMING OUT, WE WANT PEOPLE TO PAY ATTENTION TO THAT.

AND WE'LL GET YOU BACK AND HAVE SOME MORE OF THIS CONVERSATION.

BUT IT'S ALWAYS A DELIGHT TO HAVE YOU, BOTH OF YOU.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

THANK YOU.

ANTON CHEKHOV SAID THE ROLE OF THE ARTIST IS TO ASK QUESTIONS, NOT ANSWER THEM.

HOW WELL DID ARTISTS AND LATE NIGHT ENTERTAINERS DO THAT IN THIS YEAR?

JOINING US TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION AND TO REVIEW THIS PAST YEAR ON BROADWAY AND THE ARTS IS NEW YORK POST THEATER COLUMNIST AND MORNING RADIO HOST MICHAEL REEDLE.

WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WATCHING US RIGHT NOW REMEMBER THE EVENING SHORTLY AFTER THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 2016, WHEN MIKE PENCE WENT TO SEE 'HAMILTON' AND DURING CURTAIN CALL, BRANDON VICTOR DIXON, THEN PLAYING AARON BURR, READ OUT ON BEHALF OF THE WHOLE CAST, A VERY SHARP NOTE DIRECTED AT THE VICE PRESIDENT.

THAT WAS A HARBINGER OF THINGS TO COME IN THE WHOLE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY.

HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE THAT CONFRONTATION BETWEEN ARTISTS AND THE PRESIDENT THIS PAST YEAR?

THE REMARKABLE THING WAS PENCE WAS ABLE TO SCORE A TICKET FOR 'HAMILTON.'

BUT I THOUGHT WHAT BRANDON VICTOR DIXON DID WAS APPROPRIATE, GIVEN WHAT 'HAMILTON' IS ABOUT.

GIVEN THE FACT THAT LYNN MIRANDA IS ALIGNED WITH THE LEFT, PERFORMED THE SHOW FOR MICHELLE AND BARACK OBAMA, AND THEY WERE BIG CHAMPIONS OF THAT.

AND I THOUGHT THEY HANDLED IT TASTEFULLY.

PENCE HAD LEFT THE BUILDING, SO HE DIDN'T HEAR IT.

BUT THAT WAS PROBABLY THE CLASSIEST PROTEST, I THINK.

BECAUSE SINCE THEN, AS THIS COUNTRY HAS BECOME MORE AND MORE POLARIZED, YOU SEE A NUMBER OF ARTISTS WHO ARE GENUINELY ANGRY, AND YOU MAY REMEMBER PATRY LAPONE WAS ASKED WOULD SHE PERFORM FOR TRUMP AND SHE SAID WORDS I CAN'T SAY ON THIS SHOW.

I KNOW.

AND IT'S NOT JUST, AS I SAID, THAT CONFRONTATION THIS PAST YEAR, YES, IT'S CONTINUED, NOT JUST IN THE THEATER BUT IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY AND ON TELEVISION.

AND LATE-NIGHT TALK SHOW HOSTS HAVE BECOME KIND OF LIKE A POLITICAL -- THEY HAVE ASSUMED THAT RESPONSIBILITY.

IT'S INCREASED THEIR RATINGS, BY AND LARGE.

BUT IS IT THE RIGHT THING FOR THEM TO BE DOING?

WELL, I MEAN, LISTEN, COLBERT SAW HIS RATINGS GO WAY UP WHEN HE DIRECTLY WENT AFTER TRUMP.

JIMMY FALLON, WHO WAS NOT THAT POLITICAL, FELL BEHIND.

IF YOU WATCH FALLON NOW, I DON'T THINK HE'S COMFORTABLE ATTACKING POLITICIANS THE WAY COLBERT IS.

HE WASN'T INVOLVED IN POLITICS, THEN DECIDED TO BECOME INVOLVED.

AND HE'S NOT COMFORTABLE IN IT AND TOOK A LOT OF FLAK BY HUMANIZING TRUMP BY PLAYING WITH HIS HAIR.

YOU KNOW, COLBERT MADE THE DECISION, HE'S A MAN OF THE LEFT AND GOING TO ATTACK TRUMP AND HE'S COMFORTABLE.

FALLON IS STILL FINDING HIS WAY.

BUT I'M OLD FASHIONED.

I GREW UP ON CARSON AND BOB HOPE AND GUYS LIKE THAT.

THEY TOOK JABS AT EVERYBODY.

I DON'T THINK YOU EVER KNEW WHERE CARSON STOOD.

HE COULD MAKE FUN OF CARTER AND RICHARD NIXON.

BACK IN THOSE DAYS, A GUY LIKE CARSON WANTED EVERYBODY TO LIKE HIM.

NOW WE SEE IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS, PEOPLE TAKING A DEFINITE SIDE, AND THAT SIDE IS ANTI-TRUMP.

AND CARSON WANTED EVERYBODY TO LIKE HIM BECAUSE EVERYBODY WAS WATCHING.

HE HAD AN AVERAGE OF 9 MILLION VIEWERS A NIGHT.

HIS LAST WEEK OF HIS TENURE WAS 19 MILLION A NIGHT.

THESE GUYS ARE LUCKY IF THEY GET 4 MILLION, BECAUSE THE AUDIENCE IS FRACTURED.

SO IT'S SMART THINKING, KNOWING THAT THERE'S A NICHE AUDIENCE OUT THERE FOR THEM TO BE GOING AND SAYING TO EVERYBODY ELSE --

THE MOST INTERESTING THING IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS, WAS THE SUCCESS OF ROSEANNE BAR, WHO IS A SUPPORTER IN REAL LIFE AND PLAYED THE CHARACTERS.

YOU DID SEE AN AUDIENCE FOR ENTERTAINMENT THAT RESPONDS TO DONALD TRUMP, WHO VOTED FOR HIM.

THEY WENT TO THAT SHOW.

THAT SHOW HAD HUGE RATINGS FOR A NETWORK SHOW.

A NETWORK SHOW HAD NOT REACHED THAT MANY PEOPLE IN A LONG TIME.

AND ROSEANNE IMPLODED AND THE SHOW WITHOUT HER HASN'T BEEN ABLE TO SUCCEED.

SO A LATE-NIGHT SHOW COULD BE PRO TRUMP AND GET THE NUMBERS.

POSSIBLY.

YOU KNOW, THE HUMOR -- THE HUMOR ON THE RIGHT COMES FROM THE RUSH LIMBAUGHS, YOU KNOW, TALK RIGHT GUYS LIKE THAT ARE QUITE FUNNY.

AND THE LEFT HAS NEVER BEEN ABLE TO PERFECT THAT.

AIR AMERICA DIDN'T TAKE OFF AND NPR HAS A LEFT LEANING SLOT.

BUT WHEN THEY TRY TO BE FUNNY, IT'S AWKWARD, BECAUSE THAT'S NOT WHERE WHAT THEY'RE COMFORTABLE DOING.

RUSH IS A SATIRIST, AND PEOPLE RESPOND TO HIS SATIRE.

THE CRITICS OF THE ARTS GOING POLITICAL, OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY GOING POLITICAL, SAY THE THEATER IS SUPPOSED TO BE A SAFE PLACE.

THAT'S A QUOTE FROM TRUMP.

BUT OTHERS SAY IT, IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE POLITICAL.

BUT I THINK IF YOU GO BACK, IT'S BEEN POLITICAL.

ALWAYS.

LISTEN, YOU HAVE YOUR NICE MUSICAL COMEDIES FOR ENTERTAINMENT.

BUT PLAY RIGHTS HAVE ALWAYS TACKLED THE BIG ISSUES OF THE DAY.

WHERE IT'S INTERESTING, GO TO THE THEATER A LOT.

I FIND IT'S BORING WHEN THE PLAY RIGHT IS JUST ANTI-CONSERVATIVE, ANTI-TRUMP.

BECAUSE BY AND LARGE, THE AUDIENCE IS.

THEN YOU HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE SAME BUILDING GOING YES, I AGREE, I AGREE.

FAR MORE INTERESTING WHEN THE PLAYWRIGHT TAKES AN UNUSUAL SLANT.

I THINK OF THE PLAY 'STUFF HAPPENS' ABOUT THE WAR IN IRAQ.

I SAW THAT PLAY, AND IT BEGINS WITH MOST PEOPLE TAKING A POSITION, THE CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY, THAT THE WAR IN IRAQ WAS BAD, THE UNITED STATES SHOULD NOT HAVE GONE INTO IT.

AND THE AUDIENCE IS AGREEING.

BUT DAVID GIVES YOU THE PERSPECTIVE OF AN IRAQI, WHO SAYS THIS IS WHAT IT WAS LIKE FR ME AND MY FAMILY TO LIVE UNDER SADDAM HUSSEIN, WHO KILLED ALL OF MY PEOPLE IN THE VILLAGE.

THEN YOU CAN FEEL THE PEOPLE THINK THAT'S A PERSPECTIVE I HAVEN'T CONSIDERED BEFORE.

ONE OF THE PLAYS ON BROADWAY NOW THAT HAVE POLITICAL THEMES THAT YOU THINK ARE DOING IT WELL?

I THINK THE MOST SUCCESSFUL AND MOST SUBTLE WAS 'BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY.'

EVEN AS RICH AND SUCCESSFUL AS HE IS, HE CONNECTS TO WORKING CLASS PEOPLE AND CONNECTS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING CLASS ON THE LEFT AND THE RIGHT.

HE MAKES A POLITICAL POINT ABOUT DON'T FORGET THESE PEOPLE.

TRUMP GOT ELECTED IN LARGE MEASURE BECAUSE A LOT OF THOSE WORKING CLASS PEOPLE WERE FORGOTTEN AND SPEAKS TO THOSE PEOPLE.

HE DOESN'T HIT YOU OVER THE HEAD WITH HIS POLITICS.

IT'S VERY SUBTLE AND EMOTIONALLY EVOLVING.

A LOT OF US WHO LIVE IN THE BUBBLE HERE DON'T THINK ABOUT IT VERY OFTEN.

MICHAEL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US.

PLEASURE.

> THE DEATH OF ARETHA FRANKLIN UNITING THE COUNTRY, 'BLACK PANTHER' BREAKING RACIAL BARRIERS, AND PRESIDENT TRUMP CHOOSING TO SIT WITH KANYE WEST INSTEAD OF HIS OWN CABINET MEMBERS.

THESE ARE JUST SOME OF THE KEY PIVOTAL MOMENTS OF 2018.

WHILE EVERY YEAR IS DEFINED BY ITS TOP POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND HISTORICAL MOMENTS, WE NOW TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THE TOP POP CULTURE MOMENTS FROM THIS YEAR.

JOINING US NOW TO GIVE US HIS PICKS IS THE FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF BLEIER CENTER FOR TELEVISION AND POPULAR CULTURE AT SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, PROFESSOR ROBERT THOMPSON.

PROFESSOR, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

SO AS A PROFESSOR OF POP CULTURE, WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE MOMENTS FROM 2018?

OKAY.

WELL, THESE ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.

AND THERE WERE A LOT OF POP CULTURE MOMENTS.

OH, IT WAS RICH THIS YEAR.

IT CERTAINLY WAS.

BUT I GUESS THERE'S -- IT'S JUST AS WELL THAT WE START WITH THIS PIECE OF AMERICAN DA-DA, THIS BIT OF PERFORMANCE ART, WHICH WAS THE KANYE WEST PERFORMANCE IN FRONT OF THE PRESIDENT.

BECAUSE I THINK IT SPEAKS TO SO MANY THINGS ABOUT 2018.

FIRST, AS YOU POINTED OUT, THE IDEA THAT THE PRESIDENT IS MORE LIKELY TO PAY ATTENTION TO A CELEBRITY LIKE KANYE WEST THAN HE MIGHT BE TO PAY ATTENTION TO HIS OWN ADVISERS IN BRIEFINGS AND ALL OF THE REST OF IT.

SECOND, I THINK IT'S A PERFECT PAIRING WITH THE FACT THAT KANYE COMES IN AND DELIVERS THAT WHAT, BY THE WAY, WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY BIT OF POETRY.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE IT WAS, BUT IT CERTAINLY WAS INTERESTING.

AND THEN JIM ACOSTA, WHO OF COURSE, IS A MAJOR PART OF THE WASHINGTON PRESS CORPS, IS KICKED OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE.

SO WE'VE GOT THIS REPRESENTATION HERE AND THE PAIRING OF THESE TWO OF THE WAR ON THE PRESS AND ALL THAT WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT.

AT THE SAME TIME, WE'VE GOT THIS GREAT POP CULTURE MOMENT WHERE THIS AWARD WINNING, INCREDIBLY TALENTED PERFORMER IS NOW DOING OTHER THINGS THAN JUST SINGING IN HIS PERFORMANCES, HE'S NOW DOING PERFORMANCES IN FRONT OF THE UNITED STATES IN A GENRE I DON'T THINK WE HAVE A NAME FOR YET.

THAT WAS DEFINITELY ONE THAT SET TONGUES WAGGING ON TWITTER.

A PLACE THAT SEEMS TO GET A LOT OF PEOPLE INTO TROUBLE THIS YEAR.

IT IS.

AND MAYBE THAT WOULD BE GOING INTO OUR NEXT CATEGORY OF GREAT POP CULTURE MOMENTS IS THE FACT THAT THIS YEAR -- I MEAN, THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE, AND IT'S GOING TO CONTINUE TO HAPPEN, BUT THIS YEAR WAS A GOOD REPRESENTATION OF THE FACT THAT HOW THINGS WORK IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY, WHAT GETS ON AND WHAT STAYS ON, WHO GETS FIRED, IS NOW BEING DETERMINED MORE AND MORE BY RESPONSE, PUBLIC RESPONSE, TO THINGS PEOPLE SAY.

ONE OF THE BIGGEST POP CULTURE STORIES OF 2018 WAS THE INCREDIBLE SUCCESS OF THE RETURN OF 'ROSEANNE.'

AND EVERYBODY WAS ALL EXCITED THAT THIS WAS GOING TO BE A SHOW THAT WAS GOING TO BE ABLE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE WORKING CLASS, LIKE THE ORIGINAL DID AND ALL OF THAT.

ROSEANNE GETS ON, DOES SOME RACIST TWEETS, AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THE SHOW HASN'T BEEN S BACK.

AND WHILE IT CAME BACK AS 'THE CONNORS,' ITSELF A BIG STORY, ROSEANNE WAS ESSENTIALLY WRITTEN OUT OF THE PICTURE, AND IN FACT, KILLED OFF THANKS TO SOME OFFENSIVE TWEETS.

KEVIN HART VERY RECENTLY, FOR TWO DAYS, WAS GOING TO BE THE HOST OF THE OSCARS.

SOME OLD TWEETS THAT HE HAD DONE, AND SOME OLD COMEDY STUFF THAT HE HAD PERFORMED, FINALLY GOT HIM TO STEP DOWN FROM DOING THAT.

SO THIS WHOLE IDEA THAT PUBLIC RESPONSE NOW, BECAUSE THERE'S SO MANY PLACES FOR THE PUBLIC TO RESPOND, IS REALLY IN MANY WAYS BECOME A MAJOR FORCE IN HOW BIG ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY AND POP CULTURE.

THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TELEVISION SHOW OF 2018 WAS CANCELED, IT HAD TO BE COMPLETELY RETOOLED THANKS TO A TWEET.

IT'S INTERESTING THAT YOU MENTION CANCELED.

NOW WE'RE SEE BACKLASH WITH PEOPLE SAYING CANCEL CULTURE HAS GONE TOO FAR.

ONE HAS TO LOOK AT THESE ON A CASE BY CASE BASIS.

A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE COME TO KEVIN HART'S DEFENSE.

I THINK WE'RE WORKING THAT ALL OUT AT THIS POINT.

THERE WAS A LONG TIME IN WHICH WE TOLERATED JUST ABOUT ANYTHING.

PEOPLE SAID HORRIBLE THINGS, PEOPLE DID HORRIBLE THETHIS OVE YEARS.

AND I THINK IT'S ENCOURAGING THAT NOW THERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN'T GET AWAY WITH.

ANOTHER ONE OF THE BIG ISSUES FROM 2018 I BELIEVE IS ON YOUR LIST.

RIGHT.

I THINK THAT'S KIND OF A CONTINUING.

THE WHOLE ME TOO AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ALL OF THAT, THAT DOESN'T JUST GET THIS YEAR, IT GOT LAST YEAR, IT WILL GET NEXT YEAR.

BUT IT ISN'T STOPPING.

I MEAN, WE HAD SOME BIG STORIES WITH REGARDS TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH WAS THE LESS MOONVES STORY THAT BROKE IN SEPTEMBER AND GETTING UGLIER AND UGLIER THE MORE WE FIND OUT.

LET'S REMEMBER, THIS GUY WAS THE HEAD OF CBS, ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL CULTURAL ARBITERS ON PLANET EARTH.

THE STORIES THAT WE HEARD ABOUT DURING THE KAVANAUGH HEARINGS.

JEFF FAGER OVER AT '60 MINUTES.'

SO 2018 GAVE US PLENTY OF THE STORIES WE'VE BECOME WEARY OF HEARING.

WHAT ARE THE OTHER TWO STORIES ON YOUR LIST?

WELL, I THINK CHILDISH GAMBINO'S 'THIS IS AMERICA' WAS ONE OF THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY FOUR MINUTES OF POPULAR CULTURE OF 2018.

THAT VIDEO DID SOME AMAZING THINGS.

I'VE SEEN IT PROBABLY 50 TIMES.

I FIND NEW THINGS IN IT EACH TIME.

AND ONE COULD ALSO SAY 2018 IS THE YEAR OF DONALD GLOVER.

HE ALSO DID THE SECOND SEASON OF 'ATLANTA.'

AND I THINK THE BEST NEW SHOW TO COME OUT IN FIVE YEARS.

AND IN 2019, HE'S GOING TO BE SIMBA.

HE'S BECOME ONE OF THE GENIUSES OF AMERICAN CULTURE.

AND WE EXPECT TO SEE BIG NUMBERS FROM THAT MOVIE.

THERE WAS ONE LAST THING THAT YOU COULD MENTION THAT WAS A BIG POP CULTURE MOMENT FROM 2018.

A PAIR OF FILMS, 'BLACK PANTHER' AND 'CRAZY RICH ASIANS' WHICH BOTH DID REALLY, REALLY WELL AT THE BOX OFFICE.

AND IN FACT, HAD ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY PEOPLE OF COLOR THIS THEIR CAST.

AND BOTH OF THOSE MOVIES WERE MAJOR MOMENTS.

AND WE HAVE TO SAY, YOU MENTIONED AT THE BEGINNING, I THINK THE DEATH OF ARETHA FRANKLIN, FOR ABOUT A WEEK, REMINDED PEOPLE OF WHAT AN IMPORTANT PART OF AMERICAN CULTURE SHE WAS.

AND, IN FACT, TAUGHT A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO MAY NOT HAVE KNOWN ABOUT HER CAREER.

OF COURSE.

AND IN REGARDS TO THOSE MOVIES, THEY NOT ONLY DID BIG NUMBERS HERE, BUT BIG NUMBERS OVERSEAS.

THAT WAS A BIG PART OF THE STORY.

PROFESSOR, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON THE PROGRAM AND REHASHING SOME OF THESE MOMENTS FROM POP CULTURE.

ALWAYS MY PLEASURE.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

> BEFORE WE LEAVE YOU, A LOOK BACK AT THE ICONS WE SAID GOODBYE TO IN 2018.

ON BEHALF OF ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN BEHIND THE SCENES OF 'METROFOCUS,' WE THANK YOU FOR WATCHING AND WISH YOU A VERY HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR.

I'M JACK FORD.

YOU BE WELL.

HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.

♪ PEOPLE GET READY THERE'S A TRAIN COMING ♪ ♪ DON'T NEED NO BAGGAGE YOU JUST GET ON BOARD ♪ ♪ ALL WE NEED IS FAITH TO HEAR THE DIESEL COMING ♪ ♪ DON'T NEED NO TICKET BUT JUST THANK THE LORD ♪ ♪ PEOPLE GET READY FOR THE TRAIN COMING ♪ ♪ PICKING UP PEOPLE FROM COAST TO COAST ♪ ♪ OPEN THE DOORS AND BOARD ♪ ♪ I BELIEVE, I BELIEVE I BELIEVE ♪

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM, III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B.

POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

--Captions by VITAC-- www.vitac.com ♪ PEOPLE GET READY, THERE'S A TRAIN COMING ♪

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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