Now Here's the News

Tom Selleck, star of CBS' "Magnum, P.I.," has settled a $36 million libel suit against the National Enquirer over two 1982 articles, the actor revealed Saturday . . .

He said he "can't discuss the terms . . . I can just smile a lot" . . .

An April 6, 1982, article alleged a romance between Selleck and actress Victoria Principal, whom, Selleck said Saturday, he'd never met. A March 8 article alleged drinking and partying on the part of the actor . . .

Under the terms of the settlement, the Enquirer will publish a statement retracting the stories . . .

That INDAY (for "Independent Daytime Network") block of programming that debuts at 11:30 a.m. today on Channel 20 and another 100 independent stations around the country, is a syndicated block of four programs, combining news and "info-tainment" aimed at counter-programming network soap operas and game shows . . .

To that end, viewers will note similarities to such popular syndicated shows, usually seen off-prime time, as "Entertainment Tonight," "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous," "Real People" and "PM Magazine" . . .

The block, reaching 80 percent of the U.S. TV audience, is produced by LBS Communications, which has joined the Tribune Broadcasting Co. and Columbia Pictures Television in a $25 million investment . . .

The four programs are bartered, meaning stations pay nothing for the shows but give LBS half the advertising time available during the two hours, which is sold to national advertisers, while the stations sell the other half . . .

Meanwhile, Channel 66 will introduce two programs tonight in its 6-to-7 time slot, starting with the venerable "Death Valley Days," which in its time starred the likes of Ronald Reagan, Robert Taylor, Merle Haggard and Dale Robertson . . .

At 6:30 the station will introduce "The Beachcombers," a long-running Canadian series (described as " 'Lassie' without Lassie") about folks who collect drift logs for a living along the British Columbia coast . . . Also in the News

From our Whew! That Was Quick file: ABC's "Good Morning America" will celebrate its 10th anniversary on the air next month . . .

All three networks were muttering into their computers last week as the interest in local major league baseball teams in cities like New York, St. Louis, L.A. and Kansas City chewed up the Nielsen ratings for some of those high-priced new series they're trying to showcase in the second week of the new season . . .

In New York, whose approximately 7 million TV homes constitute 7.8 percent of the total Nielsen count around the country, the Mets-Cards series on independent WOR soared for three nights . . .

A research executive at CBS said Friday that "I can see the effect already. WOR did twenty times better than it did a week ago in those same time slots. Wednesday night the station had a 25.6 rating for the whole game and a 40 percent audience share. That's going to hurt us all" . . .

Tuesday, the first game of the St. Louis-Mets set averaged a 22.5/36 (breaking WOR's all-time viewer record set by "The Deer Hunter" back in November 1980) . . . The station attracted more than 4 million viewers at one time or another during the evening . . .

On Thursday night, with the chance for a Mets sweep of the crucial series, the average rating climbed to 26.1 and a 40 share and at 11 p.m. that went to 32.7/55 . . . and again cumulative viewership approached the 4 million mark . . . Wait, There's More

Good News and Bad News again for ABC as the second week of the new season plodded on . . .

According to the national Nielsens, Wednesday (i.e. "Dynasty") night still belongs to ABC, but the highest rating ever for NBC's "Highway to Heaven" from 8 to 9 kept that network competitive for the evening . . .

Its Thursday comedy block put NBC on top for the evening in the national ratings, followed by CBS and ABC. But ABC's "Fall Guy" did so poorly again at 8, ABC was far back of its rivals for the night . . .

According to Friday Nielsen overnights in the top three markets -- New York, Los Angeles and Chicago -- CBS' "Twilight Zone" and "Dallas" took the first two hours, while "Miami Vice" and "Falcon Crest" were close at 10 p m. ABC's "Spenser: For Hire" averaged only a 13 share in the three markets . . .

On Saturday, NBC's comedy block through 10 p.m. again carried the night, at least in the three top markets, with "Hunter" apparently nibbling at the "Love Boat" audience at 10 . . . 'Poor Communication'

Is now being blamed, in part, at ABC News for the flap over the cancellation of a proposed segment on Thursday's "20/20" linking Robert F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe . . .

The segment, originally 26 minutes long, was in the works for more than three months and had reportedly gotten a preliminary okay from the News division's ombudsman, Bob Seigenthaler, and top producer Av Westin . . .

Later, of course, top executives in the division, unhappy with what they saw, whittled the segment down to around 14 minutes and then last Thursday, canceled it entirely shortly before it was to air on "20/20" that night . . . Another version had been pulled from an earlier "20/20" program in September . . .

"Considering the later problems with the segment, it probably should have been looked at more closely much earlier in the game," one source admitted Friday in New York . . .

Segment producers Stanhope Gould and Ena Riisna, meanwhile, refused to talk about the incident but both reportedly were disturbed by the cancellation. Especially after reading ABC News president Roone Arledge's description of the canceled segment as "a sleazy piece of journalism. Just not good enough for us," which appeared in a New York Daily News column on Friday . . .

An ABC News spokesman insisted Friday that "Roone had been misquoted" and had called the columnist. "He was describing the general subject matter and not what had been produced" . . .

A good deal of the flap, let's face it, was generated by respected British journalist Anthony Summers, whose "Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe" was a basic part of the original "20/20" research for the piece and who took an active role in publicizing ABC's decision to cancel. Summers is consultant to a BBC documentary airing in England Oct. 25 that covers much the same ground . . .

By Friday, his publisher, Hillel Black, publisher of MacMillan General Books Division, had even tuned in with a statement deploring, indirectly, ABC's action while pointing out that the bestselling book was flying out of the nation's bookstores, regardless . . .

We don't know about you but Captain Airwaves has been Don Johnsoned to death . . .

Items: Ballantine Books' "Miami Vice 1986 Calendar" has already sold 600,000 copies. Johnson and his "Miami Vice" costar Philip Michael Thomas will host the Oct. 25 edition of NBC's "Friday Night Videos" . . .

Meanwhile, two of the youngsters from "The Bill Cosby Show" (another group that is tempting overexposure right now), Lisa Bonet and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, will host "Friday Night Videos' " Oct. 18 season opener . . .