Now Here's the News

As expected, Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board Chairman Sonia Landau and her four supporters on the board yesterday beat back attempts to replace her with California radio producer Harry O'Connor . . .

Opponents on the 10-member board have accused Reagan-appointee Landau of "politicizing" CPB . . .

The board deadlocked three times over Landau's bid for a second term at 5-5 in secret ballots, after veteran board member Lillie Herndon placed O'Connor's name in nomination . . .

Following those defeats, O'Connor was nominated for the vice chairmanship but again lost in three secret, deadlocked ballots that kept current vice chairman Ken Towery of Austin, Tex., a Landau supporter, in the job . . .

After the balloting, Landau quipped, "You'll all be relieved to know that I will not make a lengthy acceptance speech. I will say that I do hope that my coming tenure will not be as dull as my previous tenure" . . .

In a statement, the board also said that "more than 100 candidates have been presented to the presidential search committee as possibilities for a CPB president to replace Ed Pfister, who resigned in May after an open, and noisy, confrontation with Landau . . .

The board said the search committee, aided by the executive search firm of Russell Reynolds Associates, will begin candidate interviews next month and hopes to have a choice by January . . .

The premiere of Robert Blake's new series on NBC, "Hell Town," won its 9-to-10 p.m. time slot Wednesday over the last hour of "J.O.E. and the Colonel" on ABC and the first hour of "Brass" on CBS, according to overnight ratings in nine major Nielsen cities . . .

"Hell Town," which got a strong lead-in audience from "Highway to Heaven," averaged a 15.4 rating and 25 percent audience share during its outing . . .

"American Almanac" dropped to a 9.4/17 in the nine cities during the next hour. That included a miserly 7.6/13 in Washington . . .

Apparently ending years of contention over the UHF channel, the Federal Communications Commission this week affirmed its review board decision to award Channel 14 to Urban Telecommunications Corp., based in part on Urban's promise to integrate its management and the local ownership offered by Urban President Theodore M. White . . .

As part of the settlement with five competing applicants, former WDCA owner Milton Grant was allowed to serve as programming consultant to the new licensees, although his own application for the channel was one of those rejected . . .

No dates have been announced for the takeover of Channel 14, which has been serving as a relay station for Spanish International Network . . . SIN will probably be assigned a new relay channel . . .

Incidentally, President Reagan today will tape an interview for SIN's "Temas y Debates" program, which will air on Channel 14 Sunday at 8 p.m. He will discuss issues of concern to Hispanics . . .

Although his current contract won't be up for some time and he insists to inquiring reporters that he's "got the best job in the world," we keep hearing that Don Hewitt, the near-legendary executive producer of CBS News' "60 Minutes," has let NBC and ABC know he might be available sometime down the line . . .

Hewitt is keeping his own counsel, at least with the press, but we're told he's not happy with the current direction of CBS News . . . His unhappiness, which has been noted at the News division, is part of a generational battle that's bubbling under the surface at the number one news organization in TV these days . . .

So saying, CBS News said yesterday that Tuesday's "West 57th" scored an 11.1 rating and a 20 percent audience share in the Nielsen national ratings . . . the first time in four outings, CBS News pointed out, that the Yupperly Mobile newsmagazine has cracked "the magic 20 share" level . . .

What CBS News did not say is that "West 57th" lost a big lead-in audience from the Kenny Rogers "Gambler" repeat, however . . . NBC News

Meanwhile, announced that it will air four White Papers next year, including an hour on divorce, anchored by Jane Pauley; a program on teachers, with Tom Brokaw; a look at the effects of the technological revolution on society in "The Dark Side of Japan," anchored by Lloyd Dobyns; and a program about the cultural life of South Africa, anchor to be announced . . .

The announcements were made by NBC News president Larry Grossman in Nashville, where network bureau chiefs and news directors from NBC affiliates were attending the Radio-Television News Directors Association convention . . .

As further evidence that the documentary is still breathing, at least at NBC, Grossman said that a "major piece" (longer than an hour) will be aired next year on the bicentennial of the Constitution and that over the next two or three years, five major pieces will be produced on world religions . . .

Incidentally, when Dan Rather went to Nashville earlier this week to make a speech and telecast the "CBS Evening News" from the local CBS affiliate, the good ole boy from Texas was mighty thrilled when Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings visited him on the set!!! . . .

National Nielsens for the Washington-Dallas game showed a 20.7 rating and a 35 percent audience share around the country, up 10 percent from last year's opening game on ABC's Monday Night Football and, except for the season finale between Dallas and Miami, higher than any game on the 1984 schedule . . .

And here's one for everybody's Maybe I Took a Wrong Turn Somewhere on My Career Path After All file: between its own one-hour "Redskins Magazine" show at 8 p.m. on Monday and the three-hour NFL game, Channel 7 took in $800,000 in advertising revenues that night!!! . . .

CBS Entertainment announced yesterday that "Kane & Abel," the seven-hour mini-series "based on the best-selling novel of power & revenge by Jeffrey Archer" and starring Peter Strauss and Sam Neill, will air on three consecutive nights during the November ratings sweeps, starting Sunday, Nov. 17 . . .