Now Here's the News
Margaret "Midge" Constanza, former assistant to President Jimmy Carter for public liaison, has been named a talent coordinator for "America," the new syndicated magazine show that debuts on Channel 7 at 4 p.m., starting Sept. 16 . . .
Constanza is a member of the National Organization for Women, vice president of Americans for Democratic Action and an active member of the nuclear freeze effort . . .
"To say we're proud of Midge's accomplishments goes without saying," said Frank Kelly, vice president of programming, Paramount Domestic Television and Video Programming, in making the announcement . . .
"But I think her appointment shows the caliber and sincere intent of 'America' to tap into what this country means. We intend to bring a different format of show to television and people like Midge will help us make it happen . . .
The National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Organization for Women and the Telecommunications Research and Action Center will file a complaint against CBS and ABC today with the Federal Communications Commission because the networks rejected public service announcements proffered by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) . . .
"(The networks) owe a special public interest duty because a substantial amount of their entertainment programs glamourizes sex with virtually no mention of its risks and affects teenage attitudes towards sex," the complaint will charge . . .
The 30-second PSA developed by ACOG urged young viewers to call an 800 number to obtain a free booklet that, says the complaint, "first stresses that 'it's OK to say no -- that you can postpone sex' " and then states that for young people " 'the modern birth control pill is the safest and most effective form of contraception available' and that 'there is only one effective contraceptive' " . . .
CBS rejected the ad in July, stating that "the proposed message presents an issue that is regarded as controversial and as such is not in compliance with our policy of acceptable subjects addressed in public service announcements" . . .
In an Aug. 8 letter, Alfred R. Schneider, vice president for policy and standards at ABC, wrote ACOG that "it is my opinion that a public service announcement of this nature, if accepted, should not encourage the use of a particular device or take an advocacy position, but rather provide basic information" . . .
Meanwhile, the complaint says, Cable News Network has agreed to run the PSA and NBC has it under consideration . . .
NBC News announced yesterday that at his own request, Emery King,who has been covering the White House for the network for the past four years, will move to general assignment. Robin Lloyd, currently a State Department correspondent, will replace him . . .
The changes will take place when Lloyd returns from an assignment in Central America, in about two weeks . . . The Debate
Between the Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Rev. Jesse Jackson Wednesday night on ABC's "Nightline" attracted a 6.8 rating and a 21 percent audience share during the full hour in the 10 major Nielsen markets . . .
That includes a 7.6/21 for "Nightline" in nine of those markets (San Francisco was a little late in reporting) during the first half-hour . . .
We're talking apples and oranges here, but national Nielsen ratings so far during the third quarter for the first half-hour of "Nightline" have averaged 5.8/16 . . .
Wednesday night, in the same 10 markets, "The Tonight Show" averaged 7.7/24 and the CBS late-night schedule, a 4.1/13 (third quarter, first half-hour averages for those two programs so far have been 7.7/24 and 5.4/15, respectively, and I've got a terrible feeling we're starting to lose you right here, TV Column fans) . . .
In Washington, the Falwell-Jackson debate registered a 7.1/23, versus a 7.7/26 for Johnny Carson and a 5.0/16 for CBS . . .
And while you've all left your breakfast nooks to get another bowl of Wheaties, we'll slip in the news that CBS' "West 57th" had a national Nielsen average of 10.1 and an 18 share Tuesday night, compared to 10.6/19, 9.7/17 and 10.5/19 performances in its previous three outings . . .
"CBS Reports: Whose America Is It?," Bill Moyers' well-crafted essay on immigration problems, which aired the same night, compiled a 9.2/16 in the 8-to-9 p.m. time slot (the Barbara Mandrell special, caught between two disparate news audiences at 9, did a 10.7/17). . .
Al Marks, the executive producer of the Miss America Pageant (which airs Saturday, Sept. 14 on NBC) told a press conference this week that "we're looking hard at a night other than Saturday and are looking at going prime time on that night." He said it's "a distinct possibility" that the change would come next year . . .
NBC, which only last year moved the Miss America Pageant to a week later in September after years of scheduling the week following the Labor Day weekend . . . said yesterday that "it's much too early to discuss any change. We're always looking at the positioning of our programs" . . . Also in the News
ABC Sports will close-caption the Monday night NFL game between Washington and Dallas for the hearing impaired, the first time a regular live sports series has offered the service . . .
The New York Mets open a key series against the Los Angeles Dodgers out in L.A. tonight (Gooden vs. Valenzuela, yet) so with a day off three members of the Mets -- catcher Clint Hurdle, third baseman Howard Johnson and reliever Roger McDowell -- all playing policemen, taped an episode of "General Hospital" yesterday in Hollywood that will air Sept. 19 . . .
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill has given its award for excellence in reporting to Channel 9 reporter Bruce Johnson and senior documentary producer Jeanne Bowers for their one-hour prime-time documentary on de-institutionalization of the mentally ill, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind," which aired in January . . .
The program won three local Emmys in June. The NAME award will be presented Sept. 12 . . .