Now Here's the News

Part II of "North and South" on ABC Tuesday night averaged a 22.5 Nielsen rating and a 33 percent audience share in Nielsen's top 12 markets . . .

Tuesday, in the big cities, anyway, Lucille Ball in "Stone Pillow" on CBS was a fairly close second with a 21.8/32 during that same two-hour time period, while the NBC lineup between 9 and 11 could do no better than 11.8/17 . . .

The NBC schedule included "special episodes" of "Amazing Stories" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" from 9 to 10 . . .

The Spielberg series, pretty much a flopola on Sunday nights so far, was very much a flopola on Tuesday night, averaging only a 13.4/19, while "Hitchcock" did only a 12.6/17 . . .

May I have the microphone, please?

What is it now, Airwaves?

I just wanted to thank Channel 4 for running election crawls during the exciting climaxes of both "Amazing Stories" and "Alfred Hitchcock" Tuesday night. Thanks, Channel 4.

You mean during the denouements?

Whatever. Anyway, I was so mad I turned to Channel 7 and watched the second half of "North and South."

And?

That made me so mad, I watched the 11 o'clock news on Channel 2.

Give me the mike, Airwaves. There's a good chap. Now get out of here so we can finish the column . . .

I'm still mad.

Airwaves!!!!

In Washington, "North and South" averaged a 30.0/42 on Channel 7, and that was the highest rating Tuesday night for the mini-series in any of the 12 Nielsen markets . . .

By comparison, the 12-city Nielsen overnights for Part I on Sunday were 24.4/36. That grew to a 25.8/37 when all the precincts were in for the national Nielsens . . .

The November edition of NBC's "American Almanac" is scheduled for 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, as the network continues to move the magazine show around the schedule to test audiences during monthly tryouts . . .

A couple of weeks ago one might have scoffed at the idea that NBC -- when it finally decides where to place the magazine show in a weekly schedule -- would even consider Saturday night, now that "Golden Girls" has become such a hit earlier in the evening . . .

But after five weeks (one Saturday night went to the baseball playoffs) the popularity of the last two hours of that night's NBC schedule overall is not quite as overwhelming as it appears . . .

From 9 to 9:30, "Golden Girls" has averaged a strong 19.5 Nielsen rating so far. But at 9:30, "227" drops down to a 17.1. And at 10, "Hunter" slips to a 14. Which suggests that the older audience drawn by "Golden Girls" isn't too drawn to a shoot-'em-up and just might stay up for a solid news magazine . . .

NBC executives are meeting with the network affiliate board this weekend in the Caribbean and a definite decision as to where "Almanac" will show up on the weekly schedule, perhaps in January, just might be forthcoming . . . Also in the News

Hmmmmmmm. We hear that with the Capital Cities Communications Co. Inc. merger with ABC Inc. just around the corner, like January, some top ABC executives are signing new long-term contracts -- with only the first year's salary spelled out . . .

"The Howard Theatre: A Class Act," produced for Channel 26 here by Jackson Frost, has won first place in the documentary category of the 1985 Prized Pieces International Video and Film Competition . . .

Frost will be honored for his "contribution to quality black programming" at a ceremony Nov. 17 hosted by the National Black Programming Consortium Inc. in Columbus, Ohio . . .

CBS Entertainment announced yesterday that the network will air a musical special at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, called "We Are the World: A Year of Giving" . . .

The special, hosted by Harry Belafonte, "reviews and celebrates the efforts of the music industry throughout the past year to raise money for humanitarian causes, particularly the hungry and homeless of Africa and America and the farmers of America" . . .

The hour-long program will show extensive excerpts from the major concerts held this past year for those causes. Ken Kragen, president of "USA for Africa," is producer of the show . . .

First-place winners of the 1985 Women at Work Broadcast Awards, announced yesterday at the seventh annual "Alice" awards ceremony sponsored by the National Commission on Working Women and held at the Capital Hilton, included these television entries:

Entertainment: A two-part episode of CBS' "Cagney & Lacey" in which Cagney filed sexual harassment charges against a superior . . .

Public affairs/documentary: "Women of Steel," a portrait of women steelworkers who, laid off from work, return to low-wage jobs "but remain resilient, hoping for better times." Produced by Mon Valley Media, Pittsburgh . . .

News series: "Equal Under God?," produced by WTVD, Durham, N.C. A five-part series examining the ongoing struggle for women to become ministers, priests and rabbis . . .

Editorial: "The Working Woman," produced by WCBS, New York. A series of editorials on working women's issues, including day-care funding, comparable worth, sex equity in education and maternity/paternity leaves . . .

News feature: "Penny Harrington," produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting, Portland, Ore. A profile of the first woman to be appointed chief of police of a metropolitan city . . .

Children's television: "3-2-1 Contact," "Earth Monday." Produced by Children's Television Workshop, New York. "An exciting trip to the bottom of the Delaware Water Gap and to a volcanic eruption in Hawaii with two women geologists who share their expertise with girls from the show's cast" . . .

Betty Thomas of "Hill Street Blues" and Linda Lavin, who played the Alice on the CBS series after whom the "Alice" awards were named, were the presenters at yesterday's luncheon . . .

The third segment of Sunday's "60 Minutes" will be the 1,500th aired on the CBS program since it debuted in 1968 . . .

Correspondent Harry Reasoner will interview Chicago radio and TV personality Merri Dee. In 1971 she was shot and her companion murdered by a man who was recently paroled. The segment deals with her fear and outrage over his release . . . And Finally

There was a surprise birthday party for coanchor Maria Shriver on the set of "CBS Morning News" yesterday morning, complete with a big chocolate cake, champagne and "lots of confetti" . . .

Maria, just turned 30, marked the occasion by toasting everybody on the show and then blowing out all the candles on the cake. What did she wish for? . . .

"A 4.5 rating" . . . Since Maria is a very nice person and it's the day after her birthday, we absolutely, positively refuse to explain just how big a wish that really was . . .

Airwaves, you dolt! Be nice. Get away from that microphone! . . .