Now Here's the News

CBS Entertainment is doing its Christmas Shipping early . . .

The staff of "George Burns Comedy Week" has received word that with the telecast of the 13th episode on Wednesday, Dec. 25, the anthology series has been canceled . . .

No replacement was announced . . .

Wednesday night, which belongs to "Dynasty" and ABC, has been a disaster again this season for CBS . . .

The network has already announced that two sitcoms, "Mary" and "Foley Square," will replace the long-gone "Stir Crazy" at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, starting Dec. 11 . . .

Two shows remain from the Wednesday lineup that debuted in September -- "The Equalizer" at 10 p.m. and "Charlie & Company," the George Burns lead-in at 9 p.m. . . .

CBS still kind of likes "The Equalizer" but don't plan on getting a holiday card from Flip Wilson. His "Charlie & Company" hasn't done any better than George in the ratings (they've both been regular members of the Bottom One-Third in the weekly numbers all season) and probably will be axed soon . . .

"Star Wars" producer George Lucas has struck again . . .

His Lucasfilm Ltd. was unsuccessful last week in an attempt to obtain a 10-day temporary restraining order blocking the use of the name "Star Wars" in an advertisement selling President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) sponsored by the Coalition for the Strategic Defense Initiative . . .

Friday, Lucasfilm Ltd. filed suit against the groups that created an anti-SDI commercial because they, too, use the words "Star Wars" in their counter-ad . . .

The California-based film company, producer of the 1977 film "Star Wars," claims the title is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use not only in films but for a variety of other products connected with the three movies in the "Star Wars" trilogy, which also includes "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" . . .

The second suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court here, is against the Committee for a Strong, Peaceful America; the Committee for National Security; The Communications Co.; and Richard Pollock Associates, Inc.

The Pollock firm supervised production of a 30-second commercial that used footage from the original pro-SDI commercial that contained the name "Star Wars" . . .

The defendants are charged with trademark infringement, false designation of origin (suggesting Lucasfilm is affiliated with the commercials) and unfair trade practices . . . The suit also seeks a preliminary injunction against use of the anti-SDI ad . . .

Both the pro-SDI and anti-SDI ads have been running in the Washington market as well as in other major cities as a preliminary to the Geneva summit . . .

On learning of the suit Friday, Pollock said, "The words 'Star Wars' are most definitely in the public domain, certainly when talking about fighting in space. Not to mention 'Star Wars' is like mentioning the trade wars with Japanese industry and not mention 'Toyota' " . . .

In refusing to issue a temporary restraining order last Wednesday against the Coalition and its pro-SDI ad, U.S. District Court Judge Gerhard A. Gesell ruled that the advertisement "does not appear to be a commerical use of plaintiff's trademark" . . .

He set a hearing for Nov. 25 on more extensive arguments for a preliminary injunction in the pro-SDI ad case. . . Also in the News

Rumor running around the CBS troops in Geneva yesterday -- after "Face the Nation" lost its picture while broadcasting live from the summit scene -- is that as part of CBS News' cost-cutting efforts no time had been purchased on a backup satellite, a definite no-no in the TV news business . . .

The CBS public affairs program did air prefilmed appearances by anchor Lesley Stahl as well as prefilmed "bumpers," which mysteriously appeared during breaks in the audio-only interviews with Donald Regan and Georgi Arbatov, Soviet Central Committee member . . .

Geraldo Rivera, formerly with ABC's "20/20," is reportedly negotiating with Metromedia, which will be known as News America Television Inc. when Rupert Murdoch's purchase, already approved by the FCC, is completed . . .

It wasn't fatal to their plans, but producers of "America Tonight," a proposed half-hour week-night news show -- seen as a potential rival for "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" among disgruntled PBS stations, were unable to announce specific plans for the program at last week's PBS program fair in Philadelphia . . .

Earlier this fall, the New Jersey Network and Maryland Public Television -- coproducers of the proposed show -- had said that by the Philadelphia fair they hoped to be able to announce underwriters for the proposed $7.5 million cost of the program, as well as the names of network-level anchors, reporters and producers . . .

Last week, they told the PBS stations that six unnamed underwriters were still expressing interest, but that with no firm commitments they were unable to list the talent believed to have been lined up . . .

In January, the PBS stations begin the serious bidding on which programs to support next year and it appears "MacNeil/Lehrer" is a shoo-in. Observers from PBS said station managers generally were happy with changes "MacNeil/Lehrer" had made in its format recently . . .

Mark Harmon, who plays Dr. Robert Caldwell on NBC's "St. Elsewhere," will be written out of the series by having the doctor contract AIDS after an affair with a female AIDS victim . . .

The episode is tentatively scheduled to air Feb. 5 . . .

Harmon decided to leave the show, according to his agent, because "his career is taking off." He is featured in a series of commercials for Coors beer and has recently completed two films . . .

The late Phil Silvers, who died in his sleep Nov. 1 at the age of 73, left an estate worth more than $250,000, according to documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday . . .

Mr. Silvers played Sgt. Bilko in "You'll Never Get Rich," which two months after its premiere in the mid-'50s became "The Phil Silvers Show" . . .

The Public Broadcasting Service has filed a claim with the St. Paul Insurance Co. for $30.1 million in losses incurred in the Oct. 15, 1984, fire at its headquarters in the U.S. Postal Service building at L'Enfant Plaza . . .

As a result of the fire, which damaged its basement technical center, computing facility and offices, PBS had to relocate for some five months at nine different locations around the area . . .

Channel 7, which will broadcast live the Christmas Day service at the Washington Cathedral, has offered the traditional ceremony free of charge to every TV market in the country . . .

The one-hour telecast, which starts at 9 a.m., will be fed via satellite and made available to one station in each market on a first-come, first-served basis as a public service . . .

For years the Cathedral ceremony has been a fixture on NBC . . .

Are things a little crazy (and slow, story-wise) in Geneva? Crews from Japanese, Finnish, Dutch, French and British television are running around filming the activities of ABC, CBS and NBC television crews . . .

Oh, well, things are a little slow on the TV Column front this morning, too . . . which is why we're including the note Captain Airwaves brought in today reporting that during ABC's coverage of the Notre Dame-Penn State game Saturday afternoon, ABC ran a billboard enumerating "Fightng Irish Mistakes" . . .