Now Here's the News

NBC has scheduled the second edition of "American Almanac" for Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 10 p.m. . . .

The hour magazine debuted on a Tuesday night in August . . .

The September edition's "cover story" will feature Roger Mudd as he goads the top programming executives of the three networks into explaining how entertainment series make it to the schedule ("I takes this Kennedy half-dollar, see, and I throws it up in the air like this, see, and there's this bright kid just out of Yale works for me, see, and he calls it heads or tails and we gets down on the rug, the whole bunch of us, every vice president in the joint and". . . )

Mike Wallace, his left arm in a heavy cast, anchored "The CBS Evening News" last night as Dan Rather continued to battle a bad cold . . .

Wednesday night, Forrest Sawyer subbed for Dan, which made it a very long but satisfying day for the rookie "CBS Early Morning News" co-anchor . . .

Wallace broke his left wrist while playing tennis on Martha's Vineyard recently . . . and yesterday he was resting his cast on a pillow while he prepared his script in the CBS newsroom . . .

The "60 Minutes" correspondent -- and former host of "Guess Again" -- recalled yesterday that he last anchored "The Evening News" some time during Walter Cronkite's reign but couldn't remember exactly when . . .

The Top 15 programs on PBS last season, as ranked by Nielsen between October 1984 and May 1985:

The National Geographic special, "Land of the Tiger," followed by "Great Moments with National Geographic"; "The Music Man"; "Nova's" "Case of the Bermuda Triangle"; "Nova's" "Nomads of the Rain Forest"; "The Living Planet's" "Margins of the Land"; "Rodgers & Hammerstein . . . American Music"; plus "The Living Planet's" "Northern Forests"; and the National Geographic special, "Four Americans in China," which tied for ninth . . .

Also popular were "Nature's" "Kinabalua: Summit of Borneo;" National Geographic's "Ballad of the Irish Horse"; "Nature's" "Man's Best Friend"; "In Search of Excellence"; and "Nature's" "Lost World of Medusae" and the same series' "Namaqualand: Desert Garden," which tied for 15th in the rankings . . .

Channel 26 said yesterday that after seven days of its current fund-raising drive the station had received $125,717 from 2,522 pledges . . .

With one week to go, the WETA drive is even with last year's fund-raising effort . . .

Wednesday night's repeat of the "Great Moments With National Geographic" retrospective has been the biggest money-maker so far, attracting $18,000 in pledges . . . Moving Right Along

David Schoumacher's "Point to Point" public affairs series debuts tomorrow (Channel 7 at 7 p.m.) with features on the power of presidential wives and the recent increase of international terrorism, seemingly aimed at silencing voices of moderation . . .

Columnist Ben Wattenberg and Newsweek's Mel Elfin will join Schoumacher in the terrorist discussion, which will include an interview via satellite from Canada with a Sikh representing his "government in exile" from India; a moderate Palestinian; a representative of the African National Congress in South Africa; and an expert on terrorism . . .

Diana McLellan will join Shoumacher for a discussion of Nancy Reagan and other recent first ladies who have wielded considerable influence at the White House . . .

The half-hour program will also include a summary of the top news stories of the week . . . and a roundtable discussion thereof . . .

Channel 7, by the way, announced its new fall schedule yesterday, featuring major shakeups of both its weekday morning and late afternoon programming, starting Monday, Sept. 16 . . .

Leading out of "Good Morning America" at 9 a.m. daily will be a new game show called "Headline Chasers," hosted by Wink Martindale, followed at 9:30 by "Tic Tac Dough" (and more Wink Martindale); "People's Court," moving all the way over from Channel 4, at 10 a.m.; "Let's Make a Deal" at 10:30; and then the ABC network schedule, which kicks off with "Three's a Crowd" at 11 a.m. and "Ryan's Hope" at 11:30, followed by local news at noon and then a return to the ABC soap opera schedule . . .

At 4 p.m., Seven will introduce "America," the new entertainment hour being produced by Paramount Television, which has been so successful with "Entertainment Tonight." It features Sarah Purcell, McLean Stevenson and Stuart Damon, who will have to run right over from the set of "General Hospital" every afternoon to get there on time . . .

"Jeopardy" will follow at 5 p.m. weekdays as a lead-in to the evening news block at 5:30 . . .

On Saturday evenings, in addition to "Point to Point," Seven will air first-run episodes of "It's a Living," starring Ann Jillian, at 7:30 . . .

Well, as long as we are discussing The Future, CBS Entertainment yesterday announced a two-hour season premiere of "Magnum, P.I." on Thursday, Sept. 26, to be followed at 10 that night with the first "Knots Landing" of the fall . . .

On Friday, Sept. 27, "The Twilight Zone" will debut at 8 p.m., followed by a two-hour "Dallas" lidlifter . . .

CBS also announced that "Beverly Hills Cowgirl Blues," starring James Brolin and Lisa Hartman, will air Saturday, Oct. 5, and "Love, Mary," an inspirational film starring Kristy McNichol, will air Oct. 8.

Ken Howard, who played the coach on CBS' "The White Shadow," has signed to be a regular member of the cast of "Dynasty II: The Colbys," playing a lawyer . . .

The ubiquitous Larry King -- who apparently hasn't got enough to do after hosting a nightly radio show and a nightly CNN talk show -- has signed on with NBC's "NFL '85" . . .

He'll do a weekly three to four minutes on the Sunday pregame show, which is anchored by Bob Costas. Pete Axthelm and Ahmad Rashad complete the lineup . . .