Now Here's the News

Washington area viewers of Channel 5 contributed $958,391 over the weekend to the record total of $33.1 million raised nationwide by the 21 1/2-hour Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association . . .

The local sum was also a record and bettered the $812,000 raised by Channel 5 viewers for the Telethon last year . . .

Some 200 TV stations in the U.S. and Canada carried the 20th annual Telethon, which originated from Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas . . .

Just two employes of the ABC News bureau staff here -- a producer and a director -- were included in that personnel reduction completed last week by ABC Inc. A total of 350 of its 13,000 employes were let go . . .

Another 265 unfilled positions were also eliminated by the cutback throughout the company . . .

ABC News employs about 1,200, and overall the News division lost 20 people and 40 unfilled positions . . .

According to bureau chief George Watson, "only a handful" of those unfilled positions were on the Washington organization chart . . .

Fred Pierce, president of ABC Inc., called the reductions "a difficult business decision" that was made "to prepare the company for this year's uncertain economic environment" and to streamline operations for the future -- a future, although Pierce did not make the point, that includes a takeover of ABC Inc. shortly after the first of the year by Capital Cities Communications . . .

"The reductions," said Pierce, "will streamline our organization and ultimately result in improved productivity and a significant cost reduction" . . .

Each departing employe reportedly received severance pay, a bonus and accrued vacation pay, as well as a packet containing a book on how to write a re'sume' and interview for a job and the name of an employment agency specializing in temporary work . . .

Also at the Washington bureau, Lee Kamlet, a producer for "ABC World News Tonight," has been named to the new position of national field producer . . .

As of yesterday, the unofficial word is that CBS News won't be announcing its final decision on personnel cuts until the end of next week . . .

Some 100 in the 1,200-member division are expected to go as part of an across-the-board budget trim ordered by CBS Inc., affecting all divisions in the conglomerate . . .

The speculation is that the News division cutback, involving a reported savings of $6 million for the fourth quarter, could affect the CBS Washington bureau much more adversely than its ABC counterpart here . . . Also in the News

The Washington Redskins preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Bucs last Friday earned a 26.4 Arbitron rating and a 50 percent share of the sets in use in the Washington market . . .

Nielsen gave it a 27.7/49 . . .

Those numbers mean that about 400,000 of the area's 1.5 million TV homes were watching and that about 750,000 TV homes had their sets turned on during game time . . .

When Wimbledon champion Boris Becker lost Monday to Joakim Nystrom at the U.S. Open tennis championships, CBS dropped plans to scrap tomorrow night's regular prime-time schedule and show, instead, the quarterfinals match between Boris and number one seed John McEnroe . . . . . .

CBS had cleared the deal with the USA Network, which had the rights to tomorrow night's match, permitting the network to air the Becker-McEnroe match while USA supplied its own cable customers, as scheduled . . .

WRC has signed Charles Fox, formerly with WNEV in Boston, as a local programming producer, specializing in documentaries, as the station beefs up its program unit . . .

John Colston has been named associate producer and Ronald Baily, research director, for the PBS program "American Interests" . . .

Colston was assistant producer/director for "International Edition" at Maryland Public Television. Baily joins the PBS program after four years on The New Yorker staff . . .

Just A Thought: When Gannett, which also publishes USA Today, bought a station out in Denver, it changed the call letters to KUSA . . .

A cursory glance at the current call letters in use around the country indicates that WUSA is not in use . . . just in case Gannett wants to give WDVM a little panache when it takes over sometime next year . . .

On the other hand, Channel 9 has undergone one call-letter change in the last seven years and DVM, which stands for the District, Virginia and Maryland, ain't bad . . .

In case you missed those first pictures from the Titanic on "CBS Evening News" last night, they'll be repeated during the first hour of "CBS Morning News" this morning . . .

And National Geographic Editor Wilbur Garrett will be on hand to to explain how Argo, the American-made underwater camera used in the search, really works . . .

Conus Washington Direct, the new satellite service being started by Hubbard Broadcasting Inc. next week, has named Daniel Webster, deputy bureau chief for NBC News here, as vice president in charge of the new Conus bureau in Washington . . .

Conus Washington Direct will provide live, unedited footage of all White House, Pentagon and State Department briefings, photo opportunities, press conferences and other events open to newsman for some 800 stations around the country daily . . .

And what did "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw do on his vacation? . . .

In the company of world-class climbers Yvon Chouinard and Lou Whittaker, he climbed 14,410-foot Mt. Rainier in the state of Washington . . .

Rainier looks about as menacing as a strawberry sundae sitting there at the end of Puget Sound on a nice summer evening, but it is a very tough mountain. In making their two-day climb, Brokaw and his friends started up the Cowlitz Glacier, on which an avalanche claimed 11 lives a couple of years ago . . . and descended the afternoon of the second day on the other side of the mountain -- all the time in sleet, rain and continuing 40 mph winds . . .

Brokaw is no amateur. He attended a climbing school in the Tetons a couple of years ago . . . And Finally

Emmanuel Lewis, who was just three feet tall when "Webster" first appeared on ABC two years ago, is now 3'5" . . .

Which reminds us -- former Georgetown U. basketball star and now N.Y. Knickerbocker Patrick Ewing and his former coach, John Thompson, will appear as guests on an upcoming episode of "Webster" . . .

According to ABC, Patrick "will teach Webster a lesson in self-determination and give him a boost in achieving a long-sought goal" . . .