The unexpectedly exciting World Series gave ABC its first weekly ratings victory of the new season . . .
In fact, the seventh game between Kansas City and St. Louis on Sunday night registered the highest ratings for a Series game since the seventh game of the 1982 series between St. Louis and Milwaukee . . . and the seven games averaged a 25.3 rating, up 10 percent over last year's series on NBC between San Diego and Detroit . . .
For the week ending Oct. 27, ABC averaged a 22.2 rating and a 34 percent audience share, followed by season-to-date leader NBC at 16.3/25 and CBS, at 16.1/25 . . .
That three-network aggregate share of 84 percent was the highest enjoyed by network TV since a World Series week in October 1983 . . .
Because of the altered viewing patterns, NBC's "Golden Girls," which finished 21st, was the highest-rated new series last week . . .
NBC's "Love on the Run" finished 37th and CBS' "Children of the Night" finished 55th . . .
NBC's two back-to-back anthologies, "Amazing Stories" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," tied last week for 41st place. Both had 20 percent shares, which is not quite what NBC had in mind when it scheduled the shows to snatch Sunday night away from CBS . . .
Included in last week's Final and All Too Often Fatal Five were, in order, CBS' "Airwolf," in 62nd, followed by the October edition of NBC's "American Almanac"; CBS' canceled "Stir Crazy"; ABC's just-moved "Spenser: For Hire"; and NBC's "Punky Brewster," cute, but with a lock on 66th and last place . . . Also in the News
They haven't run out of shoes, anyway, at CBS News. Sure enough, another one dropped yesterday -- the long-rumored departure of "CBS Morning News" executive producer Jon Katz . . .
He will be replaced starting Monday by Johnathan Rodgers, who has been executive producer of weekend news broadcasts . . .
Anchors Maria Shriver and Forrest Sawyer and news anchor Faith Daniels were notified of the changes yesterday morning by CBS News President Ed Joyce . . .
Katz, who took over the perennially third-rated morning show in March 1984, has been plagued by a lingering bronchial condition since last summer and recently spent another 10 days or so at home receiving treatment . . .
In yesterday's announcement, CBS News said Katz is taking a three-week medical leave and that on his return he will become director of planning, reporting jointly to Executive Vice President Howard Stringer and vice president for public affairs broadcasts Eric Ober . . .
In the newly created position, a network spokesman said, Katz "will be responsible for long-term planning, including the possible development of new programs, and will contribute story ideas" . . .
In recent months, the unrelenting early hours required by the morning news job did nothing to ameliorate Katz's health problem. Neither did the constant turmoil on the set this summer that led, eventually, to the departures of "Morning News" coanchors Phyllis George and Bill Kurtis or his unsuccessful attempts to find a format that could get the show back into contention in the three-way morning network race . . .
Katz had been in print journalism before being hired in September 1982 as an "idea man" for "Morning News." He was a quick study but the task of taking over a troubled network show while short of network news experience proved, finally, too daunting . . .
In January, George was hired directly for the program by higher-ups at CBS, reportedly without consulting Katz. There is a school of thought at CBS News that Katz's inexperience in TV led to his subsequent friction with George, who, in turn, needed training in the job and didn't -- or couldn't -- get it from her inexperienced executive producer . . .
In June, Katz learned that CBS management had talked to Susan Winston, a former executive producer of "Good Morning America" and a friend of George, about replacing him. Winston turned the job down, but Katz believed that the move had been made at George's instigation -- which George to this day vehemently denies -- and personal relations between the two deteriorated further.
When Katz first took over "CBS Morning News" in 1984, the show was averaging a Nielsen rating in the 3.5 range and occasionally got within shouting distance of a weak "Today" show in the fight for second behind "Good Morning America" . . .
The ratings then sank lower, enjoyed a brief surge last winter when George first joined the program, then returned to the high 2s and low 3s on average over the past months . . .
Rodgers had earlier been executive producer for CBS' "Nightwatch" when it first aired out of New York and had previously been station manager at what is now called KCBS in Los Angeles . . .
During Katz's absences over the past months, senior producer David Corvo has been in charge of the program. Corvo, who worked with Rodgers in Los Angeles, is expected to remain with "Morning News." No replacement for Rodgers on weekend news has been named . . .
"Today" contributor Nancy Collins will interview Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) today and tomorrow on the NBC morning show. Biden, for the first time, will publicly address the tragic death of his first wife, Nelia Hunter, and their baby daughter, who were killed in a car crash in December 1972, just 40 days after his election to the Senate . . .
The "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" marks its 10th anniversary (which actually fell on Oct. 20) tonight with a reception at the National Building Museum, formerly the Pension Building. . . .
The PBS news program, incidentally, will devote about a third of each program over four nights next week to the subject of AIDS . . .
And in case you missed it, "The McLaughlin Group," already seen on NBC-owned WRC here and 201 public TV stations, has signed to air on three more of NBC's five owned stations (Chicago is excluded because it already airs on WTTW, the PBS station in that market) . . .
The additional markets include New York, Los Angeles and Cleveland . . . where the program will be teamed with "Meet the Press" on Sunday mornings, starting in late November . . .
Was the Airwaves Abacus out of whack Monday? Or did Airwaves' flying fingers get tangled on his keyboard? Whatever, ABC Sports says its up-front price for World Series commercials was $250,000 per 30 seconds (instead of the miserly $130,000 typed by Airwaves' errant forefingers) and that for the first five games anyway, the 26 ads per game went for an average of of $220,000 . . . Airwaves was right, however, that last-minute buys for the final two games went much more cheaply . . .