Big-city audiences apparently breathed life back into CBS' "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer" series Friday night, but they seemed to have lost interest in that network's mini-series "Dream West" by the time the conclusion showed up on the schedule Sunday night . . .

A two-hour special, "The Return of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer," Friday averaged a strong 18.4 Nielsen rating and a 32 share in Nielsen's 12 major markets, and there's speculation that the series may now be a strong possibility for the CBS fall schedule . . .

You'll remember that "Mike Hammer" was pulling in something like a 23 share last spring after series star Stacy Keach went into Reading Gaol in England on a drug possession rap . . .

Last summer its reruns were pulled from the schedule . . .

Implicit in the network's decision to crank up the "return" episode was a desire to see if Keach (who has stayed out of the news since his release last summer) had been accepted by general audiences. Based on early returns Friday, the answer is yes . . .

You'll also recall that the schedule last week for CBS' seven-hour mini-series, "Dream West," got caught in the middle of the Libyan crisis and, as a result, the three-hour conclusion was delayed from last Tuesday until Sunday night . . .

The delay did not help sustain audience interest, at least according to Nielsen figures from its 12 major markets . . .

Sunday night, the finale of "Dream West" averaged a 16.5/26, behind ABC's three-hour presentation of "Superman III," which compiled a 19.4/30 in the big cities . . .

The NBC schedule during the same 8-to-11-p.m. period averaged a 12.9/20 . . .

In Washington, "Dream West" did a 15.9/25 on Channel 9. "Superman III" did a 17.2/27 on Channel 7 . . .

The CBS mini-series about the life and times (kind of) of soldier-explorer John Charles Fremont debuted a week ago Sunday with a 19.5 national Nielsen rating and a 29 share . . .

Part II, which was delayed one night until Tuesday because of the Monday attack on Tripoli, scored an 18.1/29 in the national ratings . . .

One last ratings note: That glorious two-hour CBS "Sunday Morning" special featuring pianist Vladimir Horowitz in Moscow averaged a 5.0 rating and an 18 share between 9 and 11 a.m. . . .

That represented an increase of 32 percent in the ratings for "Sunday Morning" over its previous 90-minute outing April 13 . . . but who really cares about ratings when television produces such a triumph? . . . Moving Right Along

There's talk in New York that Philip R. Beuth, who has been president and general manager of WKBW, the Capital Cities Communications station in Buffalo, will be named the top executive for ABC's "Good Morning America" any minute now . . .

He'll represent the Entertainment division, which ought to stop that talk about ABC News taking over the morning show . . .

The program has not had a representative in management since vice president Dick Levine left a few months ago . . .

The talk in Seattle is that KING-TV, a top NBC affiliate, has approached Bob Kur about an anchor position . . .

Kur, who once reported for Channel 4 here (1973-76), has been with NBC News since 1976 . . .

He has been covering the House of Representatives for the NBC News bureau here since 1982, and earlier covered the State Department as well as national political campaigns . . .

Kur confirmed yesterday that he had been approached by KING in early January, when that station learned that its top anchor, Aaron Brown, had defected to KIRO, the CBS affiliate in Seattle . . .

KING has held Brown to his contract and he can't move to KIRO until September. Brown's 11 p.m. newscast was tops in the Pacific Northwest market . . .

Kur stressed that talks have been "very preliminary." He still has some time on his current contract with the network . . .

NBC News is aware of the contact but, apparently in deference to the value the network puts on its relationship with King Broadcasting, is keeping its distance on the talks, should they get serious . . .

Kur's wife Cathy Porter is a producer with "NBC Nightly News" here, working with Carl Stern on his Supreme Court beat . . .

Two more casualties of the recent reductions at ABC News were revealed yesterday . . .

Veteran TV and radio correspondent Herb Kaplow has left the ABC News bureau here after 14 years . . .

Kaplow spent 21 years with NBC News before joining ABC as a correspondent in Washington. He won an Emmy for his work on "Directions," the ABC cultural and religious affairs program . . .

In recent years he has been senior political correspondent for ABC Radio and has worked periodically for the ABC News feed to network TV affiliates . . .

Meanwhile, Nicholas Archer, vice president of Television News Services at ABC News in New York, has revealed he is taking early retirement . . .

Archer started up the ABC News gathering organization in 1964, when the network barely had a presence in the news business. Working out of New York, he was responsibile for the assignment of correspondents in the early 1970s. In that job he had a role in developing the careers of Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings, Steve Bell, Anne Compton, Sam Donaldson and Tom Jarriel . . . Wait, There's More

Word out of NBC News in New York is that an announcement on the future of "American Almanac," its on-again, off-again news magazine project, can be expected next week now . . .

Early word is that a retitled "Almanac" ("Profiles," an early choice, has been scrapped) will join the NBC primetime schedule in June, as announced previously, and that it definitely will be included in the fall schedule, which NBC expects to announce May 15 . . .

"We're waiting for everybody to be signed and for the new title to be cleared," NBC News President Larry Grossman said yesterday. Key signing holding up the works: Connie Chung, whose current contract ends this summer . . .

A September 15 trial date has been set in U.S. District Judge Harold Greene's court for Sarah Rivera Scott's suit against the National Broadcasting Co. . . .

Scott, who worked for the NBC News bureau here from 1976 until October 1985, seeks $10 million in damages from NBC and $50,000 from bureau chief Robert McFarland, as well as exemplary and punitive damages . . .

Scott, 50, a native of Puerto Rico, alleges she has been "subjected to unlawful discrimination on the basis of national origin, sex and age in regard to her employment" at the NBC News bureau here, as well as "unlawful retaliation," in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977 . . .

She claims she "was denied promotion to the position for which a white male under the age of 40 years was hired, culminating in her involuntary transfer under probation to a position of diminished responsibility" . . .

She is represented by attorneys Mark Lane and Linda Huber . . . Oops!

Somehow we're not surprised that CBS Entertainment took a while yesterday to call with a correction . . . but "Second Serve," starring Vanessa Redgrave as transsexual tennis player Renee Richards, will not be on NBC, as we had reported . . .

"Second Serve" airs on CBS the night of May 13 . . .

Our Monday story reported that "Second Serve" producer Linda Yellen is angry over pro-Arab Redgrave's recent signing of a petition that asked England's Council of Actors Equity to request its members not to accept work in Israel . . .