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Ch.2 news big sweeps winner; "Mad Men" creator explains ending

This is what I’m thinking:

Channel 2 was a big winner in the May sweeps that concluded Wednesday night.

The NBC affiliate won in household ratings in every important time period it competes with Channel 4, except at 11 p.m. and even in that time period the race is tightening.

For a full report on what the May sweeps results mean to local news, station staffers and viewers, read my Sunday column in the Buffalo News.

Only “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner knows for sure if he was trying to say that Don Draper (Jon Hamm) wrote the iconic “I Want to Buy the World a Coke” advertisement that ended the series.

Many viewers immediately concluded Sunday that Weiner was saying Draper wrote the ad. I wasn't so sure because  the timing of the 1971 ad seemed to be a bit off and I also thought Weiner wanted an ambiguous ending.

In a conversation at the New York Public Library with A.M. Holmes (“The L Word”) Wednesday night that was streamed nationally, Weiner changed my opinion. He appeared to strongly suggest that he was crediting Draper with writing the ad that in real life was written by Bill Backer of the McCann Erickson advertising agency.

Weiner said he wanted to end the series with “The idea that some enlightened state... might’ve created something that is very pure… To me, it’s the best ad ever made, and it comes from a very good place.”

He didn’t exactly say Draper wrote the ad, but he certainly was the guy in an “enlightened state” in the scene before the commercial ran so Weiner certainly was strongly inferring that Draper wrote it.

In another exchange, Weiner said of the ending "it was nice to sort of have your cake and eat it too in terms of 'What is advertising?', 'Who is Don?' and 'What is that thing?'"

To clear things up perfectly, I wish Holmes had asked Weiner directly if he was saying Draper wrote the ad. I also wish she followed up and asked why Weiner – if he was saying Don wrote the ad – was giving him credit for Backer’s work in real life.

Weiner also took issue with critics who thought it was a cynical way to end the series, noting that idea came more from the snark world we live in now than what he was trying to say about the world and advertising in 1971.

Remember, Weiner also is the guy who had Draper say several seasons ago that the key to all advertising is “happiness.” I could see why he wanted to leave the audience with the idea that Don created something beautiful after he found some kind of happiness.

The entire fascinating conversation is still available online and will answer most, if not all fan questions, about the finale and the entire season for those viewers who are obsessed with everything about “Mad Men.”

Although David Letterman’s last hurrah Wednesday had a rating here about double his average on Channel 4 during the May sweeps, it wasn’t that hot compared to how it did nationally. The rating in Buffalo was in the bottom 12 of the 56 markets nationally that comprise overnight ratings. Of course, viewers in Central time zone markets didn’t have to stay up until practically 1 a.m. to watch the end of it.

Finally, George Clooney ended his interview with Charlie Rose’s PBS show Thursday by talking basketball. Clooney is from Kentucky and a big fan of the Wildcats, who were upset by Wisconsin in the national semifinals last month. Rose graduated from Duke, which won the men’s title last month.

Clooney noted that when he was a patient at the Duke Medical Center last summer to deal with neck issues, the doctors gave him “a signed Christian Laettner picture just to rub it right in.”

If he were to go back to Duke this summer Clooney would probably experience a whole new level of rubbing it in.

apergament@buffnews.com

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