Now Here's the News

We hear that Washington novelist Jim Grady, whose espionage thriller "Seven Days of the Condor" became the Robert Redford vehicle "Three Days of the Condor" when it got to Hollywood, is at work on a series for CBS Entertainment to be called "D.C. Cop" . . .

There's talk at Channel 9 that when the sale of the parent Evening News Association to the giant Gannett Co. Inc. is finalized, probably around the first of the year, the search will be on for a new hilltop location for the station . . .

You might recall that a major remodeling of overcrowded Broadcast House, out at 44th and Brandywine NW, had been scheduled by ENA a couple of years ago but was postponed when declining newspaper revenues pinched the ENA budget . . .

Gannett reportedly wants to expand the WDVM facilities for what is to become the flagship of the Gannett TV chain -- maybe to include room for its own news service -- and there just isn't room at the current site in Northwest . . .

And from our Hey! Willard Can Dress Up Like Carmen Miranda (Again) file: We understand that NBC's "Today" show gang will spend Carnival week in Rio de Janeiro come February . . .

NBC News President Larry Grossman, who says he is "actively moving ahead" on the feasibility of a 24-hour cable news service proposal, will breakfast with the board of the National Cable Television Association here on Thursday . . .

Channel 7 introduces its new "America" syndicated magazine this afternoon in the 4 p.m. time slot, a key day part for local stations since early news popularity at 5 or 5:30 depends on the strength of those lead-in audiences . . .

Already, the just-introduced reruns of "Hart to Hart" on Four are reportedly taking a bite out of Nine's "Hour Magazine" in their 4 p.m. battle this fall . . .

"America," produced by the people who gave us "Entertainment Tonight," features Sarah Purcell, Stuart Damon and McLean Stevenson as hosts (Stevenson reportedly walked off the show a couple of weeks ago but, after a peek at the want ads, was easily persuaded to return) . . .

"Today" coanchor Jane Pauley, in a speech to the Radio-Television News Directors Association in Nashville last week, told her audience that when she celebrated her 10th anniversary at the network, they offered her a choice of an NBC pen or a pocket knife . . .

"I wasn't complaining," said Pauley. "At CBS after 10 years they give you early retirement" . . . Also in the News

Channel 7 has begun it's campaign with Peoples Drug Stores to distribute through the drugstore firm's 150 area outlets free test kits that detect blood in the stool and that can be an early warning for colo-rectal cancer. In its first week, 22,500 kits were picked up by Friday. The campaign runs through the month . . .

The second outing of NBC's "American Almanac" magazine did significantly better in the national Nielsens after an unfriendly reception in nine of the rating service's big-city markets Wednesday night. . .

When the rural vote was in, "Almanac" had a 12.0 rating and a 22 percent audience share Wednesday night, thanks in part to a 17.5/28 lead-in from the premiere episode of "Hell Town" that night . . .

Regardless, the "Almanac" performance was a considerable improvement on previous NBC magazine efforts in recent years and also bettered CBS' "West 57th" in the ratings by a couple of points . . .

CBS Entertainment announced Friday that "Stone Pillow," which stars Lucille Ball as an elderly bag lady alone on the streets of New York, will air Tuesday, Nov. 5 . . .

The movie represents Miss Ball's first TV dramatic role . . .

Channel 9 has named Lanna Peavy to run its on-air news promotion . . . as promotion manager Mark DeSantis adds three to his staff for an increased emphasis on news . . .

Peavey was in charge of news promotion at KPRC in Houston . . .

Subscribers to Media General Cable in Fairfax County will see a new weekly half-hour show on NASA activities called "Countdown!," which debuts tonight at 7 p.m. . . .

The system already broadcasts live coverage of shuttle flights . . .

CBS has notified advertisers that starting next month it will accept different advertisers for the two 15-second ads in a "split 30s" commercial pod . . .

In an experiment that began in May 1983 and was due to end this month, CBS accepted two 15-second ads only from a single advertiser that was selling two related products . . .

To avoid advertising "clutter," only one split 30 will be offered during a 90-second or two-minute commercial "pod" . . .

By opening up the split 30s to different advertisers, CBS can attract smaller advertisers with only one product to sell or who might balk at the cost of buying a half-minute, the average cost of which is at least $100,000 currently (and up to $300,000 on major hits like NBC's "The Cosby Show") . . .

However, since none of the networks is a charitable institution, the cost of a 15-second ad in most cases will be more than just half of a 30-second commercial . . .

ABC and NBC also offer split 30s but neither is expected to modify current policies soon . . .

CBS had limited the split 30s to 25 percent of available advertising time but so far only only about 5 or 6 percent is being utilized . . . Some 6 1/2 minutes of advertising time is available in each prime-time network hour . . .

In the past, the split 30s have been used by major advertisers such as Alberto-Culver, Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola . . . Wait, There's More

During the week ending Sept. 6, which included the Labor Day holiday, "CBS Morning News" dropped to its lowest Nielsen rating since the week ending Sept. 10, 1982, and its lowest audience share since the week ending April 23, 1982 . . .

As usual, ABC's "Good Morning America" was first for the week, with a 4.4 rating and a 23 percent audience share, with NBC's "Today" at 4.0/20 and the CBS program at 2.6/13 . . .

Fourteen public TV stations, including all 10 in South Carolina, have refused to air a three-hour PBS documentary on "The Abortion Battle" Wednesday night . . .

Both WETA and WHMM here will carry the program . . .

Last week, we reported that country-western stars Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings visited Dan Rather on the set when "CBS Evening News" broadcast from Nashville during the RTNDA convention . . .

At the time we thought it was mighty neighborly, and sure enough, Cash later told a reporter that he'd made the visit "for myself. It's my 21st birthday. Twenty-one months today without drugs and I thought it was a perfect way to celebrate" . . .