At the end of every episode of the hit Fox reality show “The Masked Singer” before a celebrity is about to be unmasked, the studio audience and judges scream, “Take it off, take it off.”
In Western New York Wednesday, viewers undoubtedly were screaming, “Put it on, put it on.”’
That’s because the picture on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate, was replaced by a graphic for much of the two-hour show explaining the dark screen was the result of a problem with the channel.
The mystery behind the show's local disappearance was right up there with Wednesday's mystery of who was being eliminated.
It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for WUTV, which has been experiencing picture problems for months.
“The Masked Singer” is Fox’s most popular program. The station was also dark during "Judge Judy" at 7 p.m.
Nick Magnini, WUTV general manager, explained via text that the station’s control center is in Dayton, Ohio, and the fiber connection between the Ohio city and Buffalo went down.
“This was a technical issue that impacted WUTV from approximately 7 p.m. to 8:40 p.m.,” wrote Magnini. “Our tech team fixed it and we were back up. Even the best systems occasionally have issues.”
My DVR of the program via Spectrum resulted in “The Masked Singer” being dark from 8 through 8:50 p.m. The DVR suddenly skipped to 9:15 p.m. and the show came on at 9:20 when the postgame portion of the show, “After the Mask,” was interviewing the contestant eliminated.
Spoiler alert: The contestant eliminated wearing a Rhino mask was Barry Zito, who had a 165-143 record in 15 seasons as a major league baseball pitcher and now is a singer.
The season finale airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday, a night after Fox runs a “Road to the Final” episode.
Magnini said WUTV is trying to find a time slot to air Wednesday's program before next week's finale.