NBC remained at the top of the heap (and king of the hill) for the second straight week in the brand new 1985-86 season, averaging an 18.1 rating and a 28 percent audience share. CBS came through with a gentleman's 16.7/26 while ABC collapsed to a 13.9/22, even lower than last week . . .
NBC won Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. CBS won Monday, Friday and Sunday. ABC took Wednesday . . .
ABC management, although it did permit the dispersal of sidewalk mattresses on the Sixth Avenue side of Manhattan headquarters, and the installation of shoelace-, belt- and suspender-detection devices at the elevator bank on the 37th floor, yesterday withdrew a full roller towel alert for the programming executives' washrooms on that same floor . . .
But only because "Growing Pains" turned out to be, with "The Golden Girls," one of just two new series from any network to find a spot in the Top 20 for the week ending Oct. 2 . . .
Otherwise, six of the 10 poorest rated new series belonged to ABC last week: "The Insiders" (58th), "Lady Blue" (tied for 60th), "Our Family Honor" (62th), "Lime Street" (63rd), "Hollywood Beat" (64th) and "Spenser: For Hire" (66th) . . .
And "The Insiders," for gosh sakes, led off ABC's Wednesday schedule! . . .
Moreover, ABC holdovers like "Benson" (57th for its premiere), "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" (tied for 64th) and "The Fall Guy" (68th out of 69 programs ranked for the week) were outright flops, while "Love Boat" (tied for 47th), "Hardcastle & McCormick" (50th), and "Diff'rent Strokes" and "MacGyver" (tied for 51st) all finished in the bottom third of the rankings . . .
Defending champion CBS has some early problems, too. Its entire Wednesday schedule was almost ABC-like in its ineptitude. "The Equalizer" was 53rd; "Charlie & Co." tied for 54th; "George Burns Comedy Week" was 56th and "Stir Crazy" was 59th. In addition, CBS' "Hometown," already canceled, was dead last for the week . . .
Among the new anthologies, NBC's "Amazing Stories" tied for 23rd, its "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" tied for 30th and CBS' "Twilight Zone" was 43rd . . .
CBS' returning "Falcon Crest" (tied for 21st) held its own Friday against "Miami Vice" but "Trapper John" (tied for 36th) fell far off the winning CBS pace. Its lead-in, "Crazy Like a Fox," premiered in 25th . . .
Not that NBC was trouble-free. The aptly named "Misfits of Science" debuted in 44th, "Hell Town" was 46th and "Hunter" tied for 47th, and there were the usual poor Sunday performances from "Silver Spoons" (tied for 60th) and "Punky Brewster" (67th). Otherwise, NBC was absent from the bottom half of the heap . . .
Now come the baseball playoffs on NBC. Usually they have attracted Top 20 ratings. But those series have this year been stretched to best-of-seven and NBC could see a falling-off of interest . . . Also in the News
Negotiations began this week in New York between ABC, CBS and NBC and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), which represents some 8,000 network employes, including about 3,000 who are on-air news people in radio and TV for the three networks and their owned-and-operated stations . . .
The current contract covering actors, singers and dancers from non-prime-time programs (e.g., soap operas), news broadcasters and reporters, expires Nov. 15 . . .
Chief issues on the table this time, according to the union, besides wages and working conditions, are the reduction of contract lengths from three to two years and the impact of changes of TV technology . . .
One network negotiator said yesterday that his side is "very optimistic" that a settlement can be reached . . .
A group of 11 public TV executives returned to the United States this week after a nine-day visit to Moscow where they exchanged programming information with producers and other officials of Soviet television . . .
No agreements were reached to exchange particular programs but PBS Senior Vice President for Programming Sue Weil said yesterday that they expect to get to "the paper stage" in a few more weeks . . .
Viewers could see Soviet programming on PBS as early as next fall if the agreements are approved, Weil predicted . . .
The Americans left cassettes of some 50 programs with the Russians -- including examples of local programming, plus drama, children's, science and public affairs shows. Weil said Russian producers viewed some of the product and were to circulate program summaries prepared by the Americans for further discussions with officials . . .
Beyond programs viewed in Moscow, the Soviets are sending additional examples of their product to the United States for examination before any agreement is reached, Weil said . . .
"Both sides had a clear understanding," she emphasized, "that whatever we do is a two-way street: we won't show their programs unless they show ours and vice versa" . . .
As expected, Weil said, "the emphasis was on the cultural area, as is usually the case with both ourselves and foreign broadcasters, because it's more visual" . . .
Weil said among the Soviet programs that attracted interest were "some excellent ballet, a nonmusical version of 'Fiddler on the Roof,' a lovely little thing called "Three Clowns Under One Roof" and a film that they're just finishing on [ballerina Anna] Pavlova which will have some marvelous archival material that would be of great interest in this country" . . .
Other interesting Soviet programs included children's shows with "excellent animation, and a very good science program dealing with telescopes" . . .
The Pavlova film is among the program samples expected from the U.S.S.R. soon, she said . . .
One "possibility -- it was just conjecture" discussed, she said, was doing "a whole evening of Soviet television on PBS including snippets from the evening news" that the Russians would duplicate there, showing U.S. programming, thus "making it a kind of international event" . . .
"We talked about the possibility," Weil said.
She said the American delegation "learned a lot and was treated with great courtesy and care" . . .
She said one Sunday the visitors attended a religious service at a monastery and also toured the Bolshoi, a public theater and the circus . . . "We also ate a lot of caviar" . . .
One program in which the Russians showed particular interest: the WETA documentary about "The Stone Carvers" working on the Washington Cathedral . . .
The Washington-St. Louis NFL game Monday night on ABC averaged a 20.4 rating and a 31 share from 9 to 11 p.m. in Nielsen's 10 big markets, including a 44.8/61 on Channel 7 here during that time period . . .
For the three hours, the game did a 17.8/28 in the 10 markets and a 43.6/64 in Washington . . .
The conclusion of "The Long Hot Summer" on NBC Monday did a 20.8/31, to edge out the game at least in the big urban markets. Locally, "Summer" cooled down to a 14.9/20 on Channel 4 . . .
The regular CBS Monday lineup 'twixt 9 and 11 averaged a 17.1/25 in the 10 markets, but managed only a 12.2/16 on Channel 9 in Redskin-rabid Washington . . .