NBC's "Meet the Press" has made arrangements to interview. . . live via satellite. . . the mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Freij, and Rashid Shawa, the former mayor of Gaza, on Sunday's broadcast (Channel 4 at noon). . . .
The two West Bank officials. . . "Meet the Press" moderator Bill Monroe said last week. . . had been banned by Israeli military officials from making a trip to the United States a week ago to appear on the Aug. 22 telecast. . . .
Sunday, they will broadcast from a commercial TV studio near Tel Aviv, according to Monroe, who will join them in Israel for the program.
From Washington. . . NBC correspondent Marvin Kalb and another correspondent still to be picked will discuss the Mideast with the mayors, Monroe and an NBC correspondent in the Mideast still to be named, via satellite. . . .
Monroe said yesterday that the Israeli Embassy here has since denied that Mayor Freij had ever been banned from traveling by military authorities but confirmed the restrictions against former mayor Shawa. . . .
The third episode of CBS" "Filthy Rich" (a top contender for this summer's Captain Airwaves Dreadful Award, see below) registered a 40 percent audience share in Chicago again Monday night...practically guaranteeing the short-run series another top spot in the weekly Nielsen ratings. . . .
Nielsen overnights for "Filthy," as they have in the past, showed lower shares in New York (33) and Los Angeles (30) on Monday, however.
This Could Be Fun: Channel 9 plans a live debate, moderated by Bruce Johnson and Gordon Peterson, among the Democratic candidates for mayor of the District the night of Friday, Sept. 10. . . .
The primaries are scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 14. . . .
The TV debate would begin at 10 p.m., break for the 11 p.m. news, and then continue at 11:30 until (pick one) somebody wins. . . the engineers get tired and turn off all the lights. . . a fight breaks out. . . or the participants fall asleep, exhausted and talked-out. . . .
Plans call for the Republican mayoral candidates to debate earlier that evening during the early news (well, registration does run 10 to 1 against Republicans in the District, after all). . . .
Invitations have gone out to the candidates but no word on acceptances yet. . . .
Moving Right Along
"CBS Evening News" won the network news race easily last week with an 11.6 Nielsen average and a 26 percent audience share. . . compared with "ABC World News Tonight's" 9.1/20 and "NBC Nightly News"" 9/20. . . .
The 2.5 Nielsen margin over a second-place network news program is the largest registered by CBS since the week ending Nov. 2, 1980. . . .
The Gannett Co. Inc. announced yesterday it has reached agreement with Metromedia Inc. to purchase the latter's WTCN-TV in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. . . .
The Minneapolis-St. Paul market is the 13th largest in the country. . . .
WTCN (Channel 11) is an NBC affiliate. . . .
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. . . .
Gannett, the nation's largest media group, already owns seven TV stations, 13 AM and FM radio stations and publishes 88 daily and 32 non-daily newspapers. . . .
The sale is subject to FCC approval. . . and is contingent on Gannett's divesting itself of one of the five VHF stations it already owns. . . .
Under FCC laws, companies can have no more than seven TV stations, of which no more than five can be VHF. . . .
Also yesterday, Metromedia and Field Enterprises Inc. announced an agreement in principle for the purchase by Metromedia of WFLD in Chicago. . . .
Metromedia said it would finance the purchase of the UHF station from the sale of WTCN to Gannett. . . WXIX in Cincinnati to Malrite Communications Group Inc. and WMET-TV in Chicago to Doubleday Broadcasting Inc. . . .
Gannett already owns VHF stations in Phoenix, Little Rock, Denver, Atlanta and Oklahoma City. . . plus UHF outlets in Louisville and Fort Wayne. . . . Metromedia holdings include WTTG in Washington.... TV Ratingzzz
Following are the top 20 network prime-time shows last week, ranked according to the percentage of the nation's 81.5 million TV households that watched, as measured by the A.C. Nielsen Co. A share represents the percentage of actual sets-in-use tuned to a particular program when it aired. [TABLE OMITTED]
ABC and CBS tied for the prime-time lead during the week ending Aug. 22 with identical Nielsen ratings of 13.6 and 26 percent audience shares. . . .
NBC was third with an 11/21. . . .
There were almost no surprises last week except for the continued popularity of "Filthy Rich". . . which appeared to be the handsdown winner of this summer's Captain Airwaves Dreadful Award until the last-minute appearance of part II of "Born to the Wind" on NBC last weekend. . . .
Among other "original" programming last week, ABC's movie "Rooster" was 35th. . . CBS" "Piece of the Action" was 36th and the "ABC Monday Night Baseball" game tied for 38th. . . .
Also in the "original" category...the Dallas-San Diego NFL exhibition game on CBS tied for 42nd with the Cincinnati-Green Bay NFL game on ABC. . . "Born to the Wind" part I tied for 44th...a new episode of "Cassie & Co." on NBC was 49th and NBC's animated version of "Flash Gordon" (a Dreadful Award semi-finalist) was 52nd. . . .
Two originals also made the Final If Not Always Fatal Five last week: "Walter Cronkite's Universe" on CBS, which finished 56th...and the "NBC News Report: Whatever Happened to El Salvador?," which tied for 58th and last place. . . .
Others in the Final Five were "Code Red," in 55th; the aforementioned "Born to the Wind" part II, 57th...and "One of the Boys," which also tied for 58th. . . .