By Alan Pergament
Inquiring minds want to know: What happened locally to "The Escape Artist," the "Masterpiece Mystery!" series starring David Tennant of "Dr. Who" fame as a London lawyer?
It made its debut Sunday on PBS stations across the country.
I can clear up the mystery about the series that co-stars Tony winner Sophie Okonedo ("A Raisin in the Sun") with the help of Ron Santora, the station manager of WNED-TV.
Santora explained Monday afternoon that the second week of the local PBS station's fund drive has delayed the WNED airing of the first part of "Escape" until July 27. The second and final part of the three-hour series airs a week later on Aug.3.
Why such a lengthy delay?
That's so WNED can carry the second season of the "Endeavour" at the same time as PBS stations across the country. Shaun Evans stars as Rookie Detective Endeavour Morse in the series.
WNED plans to repeat the finale of season one of "Endeavour" this Sunday and then run all the episodes of the second season starting June 29 and running through July 20.
After "The Escape Artist" ends on Aug. 3, WNED plans to carry Season 12 episodes of "Hercule Poirot" on Aug. 10 and 17. It airs on PBS when WNED is carrying "The Escape Artist."
Santora said the schedule arrangement necessitated by the June fund drive is "pretty normal" for WNED-TV.
It also is pretty normal that local PBS viewers aren't happy when national programs don't run here when they do elsewhere.
In the past, some WNED viewers have headed to the PBS website to escape the station's planning, but that won't work for "The Escape Artist." PBS notes on its website that online streaming for that series isn't available because of right restrictons.
I can also clear up another mystery: Where does Buffalo rank among the 56 metered markets when it comes to watching the NBA finals? San Antonio's clinching victory over Miami Sunday had an 8.6 rating here on Channel 7, by far the station's highest rating during the five-game series.
Buffalo finished in 44th place out of 56 metered markets for the game. The Buffalo market was No.3 among those metered during all the games of the Stanley Cup finals between the champion Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers.
Today's final mystery concerns the weekend ratings for the U.S. Open golf tournament on NBC, which sank like a three-foot putt. Saturday's coverage had a lowly 2.2 on Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate, down by more than half from a year ago's rating of 4.9. Sunday's final round had a 3.4 rating on Channel 2, also down by more than a half from the 7.3 from a year ago.
I don't think the problem is any mystery: Tiger Woods wasn't competing because he is recuperating from his various ailments. The national ratings for the Open -- won by eight shots by Germany's Martin Kaymer -- also took a steep drop. It also didn't help that Kaymer led from the first round and fan favorite Phil Mickelson never was in position to mount a serious charge.
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