I suggest we undo all breakfast nook straps for the first item this morning, TV Column fans, just in case dad, or one of the kids, suddenly feels like showing off . . .
Because Kedric (Pretzelman) Wolfe will be in town today. He's the contortionist who puts his ankles behind his neck so he can fit into what seems to be a very narrow Eastern Airlines shuttle seat on those New York Air commercials . . .
Pretzelman will be in the New York Air gate area at Dulles between 8:30 and 11 this morning and in the New York Air gate area at National from 2 to 5 p.m., giving away free New York Air tickets to anybody who can imitate his contortions . . .
In Other News
After many months of what some felt was complacency in the face of growing unrest in the ranks, ABC News management in recent weeks has taken steps to respond to women's and minorities' complaints within the division . . .
The responses follow a meeting here on Jan. 15 attended by about 30 women from the division, News President Roone Arledge and other top executives . . .
Since that meeting, Arledge has ordered the formation of a women's advisory group. Although the roster is reportedly not yet complete, plans are already in the works for members to confer soon with their counterparts in a similar group at CBS Inc. . . .
Meanwhile, rumors are strong that at least four upper-level jobs are about to be allotted to women, including the new post of chief recruiter and that of Northeast bureau chief, operating out of New York (ABC News already has two female bureau chiefs, but still none in charge of an overseas bureau) . . .
At the January meeting in a Washington hotel -- a long-delayed followup to a May 1985 luncheon in New York -- Arledge was confronted with an 11-page "fact book" pointing out that only 11.8 percent of the 1,341 stories shown on "ABC World News Tonight" between May 9 and Dec. 31, 1985, were filed by women . . .
Similarly, women did only 7.4 percent of the 162 reports on "Nightline" over the same period and 20.3 percent of the 1,451 stories aired on "Good Morning America" between May and the end of the year . . .
In addition, Arledge was told there was a widespread, if unsubstantiated, belief that there is a 30 percent shortfall in the salaries paid to women in the division, compared with those paid to male employes . . .
At the January meeting, besides calls for more upper-level jobs and better recruitment, the women also asked for job postings and semiannual employe/management performance reviews, neither of which is currently required at ABC News . . .
On another front, ABC News executives are expected to meet with members of a minority caucus in New York next week to discuss issues of concern . . .
A prime mover in that caucus is respected medical correspondent George Strait . . . who will fly back from Moscow in time for the meeting . . .
One unique problem confronting the minority caucus, which shares many of the concerns of the women's group, is the inability of news divisions at all three networks to attract talented young minority members away from local TV markets, where salaries are often superior to the money networks are prepared to offer newcomers . . .
Meanwhile, over at CBS News, there's talk that News management, at the behest of Dan Rather and others, is quietly reevaluating a few of the precipitous personnel cuts made last fall by then-division president Ed Joyce . . .
As a result, some correspondents who were disappeared at the time may get a second look . . .
Moving Right Along
About 50 members of the Arab American community here demonstrated peaceably yesterday afternoon outside the Nebraska Avenue studios of NBC-owned Channel 4 . . .
The protest was organized by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in anticipation of the airing last night on NBC of "Under Siege," a three-hour movie depicting terrorist acts in the United States by fictional Arabs . . .
A spokesman for the station said several of the protesters were to be interviewed on Four's late news program . . .
Leaders of the Arab American community around the country have been unsuccessful in getting NBC to air disclaimers or otherwise minimize what they felt were unfair characterizations . . . although WDIV, the NBC affiliate in Detroit, agreed to air disclaimers and a panel show last night. Nearby Dearborn has the largest Arab American community in the United States . . . and scenes in the movie were shot in Dearborn . . .
Late last week, a telegram, signed by seven Arab American leaders, was sent to NBC Chairman Grant Tinker saying the network would be "legally and ethically responsible for any incidents" against the community provoked by the Sunday night broadcast . . .
Washington attorney James Abourezk, the former U.S. senator from South Dakota and a leader in the Arab community, telexed a suggested disclaimer to NBC ("This film is fictional and is not meant to reflect adversely on the Muslim, Iranian or Arab American communities in the United States"), but it was rejected Friday by Corydon Dunham, executive vice president and general counsel of the legal and standards division of NBC, according to an Arab American spokesman . . .
There's talk around town that Redskins coach Joe Gibbs may be leaving Channel 9 after two seasons with the station . . .
His Sunday, pre-NFL-game show was fairly successful on Nine this past season . . .
Gibbs has until the end of March to exercise an option to renew his WDVM contract for another year . . .
But the hint of major future changes in Redskins ranks -- like the possible retirement of colorful fullback John Riggins and/or a trade of quarterback Joe Theismann -- could make Gibbs the most recognizable Skin of them all next fall in the eyes of TV advertisers and TV station sports departments . . .
As a result, Gibbs reportedly is being shopped around by his agent, who is believed to be asking at least double the $50,000-plus he was paid by Nine last year . . .
Nine has offered Gibbs a better contract for next fall, and the coach has reportedly told the station he'd like to stay, but the alternative may prove too attractive . . .
Executives at WRC (which last fall paired Theismann with George Michael) and WJLA (where Riggins and Frank Herzog teamed up last season) denied Friday they'd been approached by Gibbs' agent . . .
At WTTG (where a tight-fisted management under Rupert Murdoch is about to succeed the tight-fisted John Kluge ownership), top executives yesterday said they hadn't been approached and didn't expect to be . . .
Channel 4 was jumping out of its shoes Friday after the Nielsen computer revealed that its "New Newlywed Game," on the air since Jan. 20, actually tied Nine's blockbuster "Wheel of Fortune" Thursday night in the 7:30 time slot. Both had Nielsen ratings of 14.9 and 22 percent audience shares, according to WRC . . .
That's very nearly double what "The Price Is Right" used to deliver for Four at that hour . . .
In January, Five's "M*A*S*H" was first in the market in that time period, followed closely by "Wheel," with Seven's "Entertainment Tonight" a full five ratings points further back of the leaders . . .