"CBN News Tonight," the nightly newscast introduced on the Christian Broadcasting Network in January, will close shop with its Friday broadcast . . .

Lack of advertisers was cited for the shutdown . . .

Also on the News Front, "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" came close to unseating the unbeatable "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" again last week in the network race . . .

CBS had a 12.3 Nielsen rating and a 22 percent audience share, compared with a 12.2/22 for NBC and an 11.3/20 for "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" . . .

That's the second time in five weeks that NBC has tied CBS in share points and finished a tenth of a point behind in ratings . . .

But hark! "CBS Evening News" has an explanation . . . Twice last week, because of primetime NCAA basketball playoff games on the network, the CBS program was pre-empted on the West Coast, which represents 21 percent of the total national audience! . . .

NBC and CBS tied for the week ending March 23 with identical 16.2 ratings and 26 percent audience shares . . .

ABC was third with 14.3/23, winning only Wednesday. CBS took Monday, Tuesday (thanks to "If Tomorrow Comes") and Sunday, while NBC took Thursday, Friday (thanks to NCAA basketball on CBS) and Saturday . . .

Moving down the long line basking in the sunshine outside the Primetime Pantheon yesterday waiting to petition for a coveted niche in Statuary Hall, we noticed NBC's Bob Hope special, which finished 25th for the week, NBC's new "Valerie" in 28th, CBS' "Fast Times" in 31st and NBC's "You Again?" in 33rd . . .

"Assassin" on CBS was 37th, the Nell Carter special on NBC was 39th, CBS' "Tough Cookies" tied for 45th, ABC's "Fortune Dane" finished in a five-way tie for 52nd . . . while "The Redd Foxx Show" on ABC finished in a three-way tie for 59th . . .

Friday's primetime NCAA playoff games on CBS were in that tie for 52nd while the Thursday night games were 62nd among 65 programs rated for the week . . .