ABC News officials are meeting in New York this week amidst rumors sweeping the division that as many as 110 News employes may be facing a layoff . . .
News spokesmen refused to comment yesterday on the reports . . .
"Dallas: The Early Years," the three-hour "prequel" explaining how the whole tawdry tale began back there in the '30s, didn't do all that well for CBS Sunday night, at least in Nielsen's 12 major markets . . .
"Early" averaged a 17.0 rating and a 27 percent audience share, compared with a 16.5/26 for a repeat of "Firefox" on ABC and the NBC lineup of "Amazing Stories," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and a two-hour "Miami Vice" repeat, which earned a 15.7/25 over the three hours . . .
Tonight's special, two-hour "Frontline" (Channel 26 at 9), called "AIDS -- A National Inquiry," includes a controversial 35-minute documentary about a 32-year-old AIDS victim, who traveled the country as a male prostitute, continuing to have as many as six sexual contacts daily, even after he knew he had the disease. He died last November . . .
The distressing portrayal has drawn criticism from both the National AIDS Network and the Gay Men's Health Crisis Clinic in New York . . .
Anchor Judy Woodruff at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda will be connected via satellite with discussion groups in Houston, Denver and San Francisco during the program . . .
Locally, WETA will broadcast two telephone numbers, for viewers seeking more information on the subject, continuously during the special . . .
The numbers, for the American Red Cross D.C. chapter and the Whitman-Walker Clinic, respectively, are 728-6600 and 332-5939. That's 728-6600 for the Red Cross and 332-5939 for the clinic . . .
"Frontline" also plans a special on Sunday, April 20, during which Bill Greider will interview David Stockman, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Reagan administration, whose new book will debut the previous week . . .
Mike Crew, executive producer at Channel 7 news, is leaving Friday to become news director at WJKS, the NBC affiliate in Jacksonville . . .
Crew earlier worked at Channel 4 here, as well as at WNBC in New York . . .
Alfred Burin of New York City was celebrating his 100th birthday on the "Today" show yesterday, explaining how he's managed to keep working at his age, when weatherman Willard Scott suddenly appeared with a flaming birthday cake in his hands . . .
Apparently the 100 candles on the surprise birthday cake had been a few too many and the whole top of the cake was aglow . . . Willard and anchor Jane Pauley managed to blow the flames out while Burin, who's probably seen it all, looked on, bemused, as the smoke curled around the set . . .
Scott's toupee was singed in the blaze and the layer of melted wax had to be removed before the cake could be eaten . . .
CBS News anchor Dan Rather was on the air at 10:45 a.m. yesterday with the first report that SAM missiles had been fired at U.S. planes off Libya . . .
At 4:08 p.m. he reported U.S. retaliation against the missile site and a Libyan ship . . .
NBC News' first report was at about 4:15, when anchor Tom Brokaw told of the reprisals . . .
ABC News anchor Peter Jennings got on the air with the story at 4:55 p.m. . . .
Cable News Network Pentagon reporter Carl Rochelle was on the air with a report of the incidents at 4:16 p.m.. . . Oh-Oh
At a party here last week at the home of Craig J. Spence, former CBS News president Ed Joyce told friends he is planning to write a book about the events that led up to his departure from the News job . . .
Patricia J. Matson, who nine years ago this very week joined ABC as director of news information at the ABC News bureau here, has been appointed vice president, corporate communications, Capital Cities/ABC Inc. . . .
Matson will act as chief spokesperson for Cap Cities/ABC Inc., with responsibility for the corporation's public relations activities and press relations. She reports to Daniel B. Burke, president and chief operating officer of Cap Cities/ABC Inc. . . .
Since October 1984, she had been vice president, corporate communications, ABC Inc. . . .
Sharp-eyed viewers have noticed that Gordon Peterson hasn't been on the 6 p.m. Channel 9 news on a regular basis lately, although he's been on board at 11 p.m. . . .
Peterson said yesterday that he's been working on some special series over the past couple of weeks while still recovering from a persistent bout with the flu . . .
When he finishes work on the series, he'll report regularly again to the 6 p.m. show, even as he did last evening . . .
Ed McMahon, longtime sidekick of Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show," and cohost of "TV Bloopers & Practical Jokes" and the syndicated "Star Search," last week was honored with the 1,824th star on Hollywood's "Walk of Fame" . . .
Although several celebrities had been invited to attend the ceremony, including Carson, only comedian Fred Travelina showed up. Jerry Lewis, Dick Clark and former secretary of state Alexander Haig sent congratulatory telegrams, however . . .
A spokesman for Anheuser-Busch for the past 21 years, McMahon arrived at the scene on a beer wagon drawn by the Budweiser Clydesdale horses . . .
Awaiting the president's signature: a bill authorizing federal matching funds for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through fiscal year 1990 . . .
The measure, part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Bill, was adopted by the House last week by a vote of 230-154. It had earlier passed the Senate . . .
The forward funding for CPB calls for $200 million in FY '87, with increases to $214 million, $238 million and $254 million in the following fiscal years . . .
The bill also contains authorizations for the Public Telecommunications Facilities program of $24 million for FY '86, $28 million for FY '87 and $32 million for FY '88 . . .
The federal contributions must be matched by local and private support . . .
In a statement, Peter Fannon, president of the National Association of Public Television Stations, said, "All of us in noncommercial broadcasting are especially grateful for the leadership and perseverance of the many senators and congressmen that have sustained this crucial public broadcasting support even after two presidential vetoes of earlier legislation" . . .
Martin Rubinstein, president of CPB, said that "With Congress' continued endorsement of forward funding, we'll have the ability to do the innovative and the unusual, which is why we're in business in the first place. I certainly hope that the president will also continue to give us his support by signing the bill. Then we will really be in a position to give the American people the quality radio and TV programming they deserve" . . . And Finally
George Cheely, a 21-year veteran of NBC News and the assignment editor at the NBC News bureau here, died at his Bethesda home Sunday . . .
Mr. Cheely, 59, had worked as a reporter, producer and editor for NBC News and had taught broadcast journalism classes at George Washington University . . .
He had earlier worked for both ABC and CBS News . . .
A native of Mount Rainier, he was graduated from Gonzaga High School here. He is survived by his mother, Ellen Harmon Cheely of Mount Rainier, and a son, Keith, of Washington . . .
Bureau chief Bob McFarland said yesterday that "George Cheely was one of the finest, most dedicated journalists I have ever known. George's death is a tremendous loss to both NBC and the journalism profession, which he had served so long and so well" . . .