CBS News' breezy magazine experiment, "West 57th," returned to the schedule Wednesday night but almost nobody noticed . . .
Wednesdaysk,1 sw,-2 hasn't been exactly CBS Night this season anyway, and with the start of the May ratings sweeps, "West 57th" found itself up against fresh episodes of the popular "Highway to Heaven" on NBC and the growing-more-popular "McGyver" on ABC . . .
"Highway" registered a national Nielsen rating of 19.1 (representing 16.4 million TV homes), with a 32 percent share of the national audience. "Mac" did a 13.3/22 (11.4 million) on ABC . . .
That left "West 57th" with an 8.0/13, or 6.8 million homes . . .
The good news is that locally, the CBS show did an 11.1/19 on Channel 9. NBC News President Larry Grossman, who's having problems with his magazine project, "1986," yesterday asked CBS News for a cassette of "West 57th" . . .
And CBS News could (and did) console itself with a report from a little birdie on the "1986" staff who alleged that the Washington crew for "1986" gathered to watch "West 57th" Wednesday night and was "devastated. There's nothing in our banks to match what we saw last night." . . .
David W. Burke, ABC News vice president and assistant to News President Roone Arledge since 1977, yesterday was named executive vice president of ABC News . . .
Burke served in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations before becoming legislative assistant to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) in 1965. The next year he was named administrative assistant to Kennedy . . .
Burke left politics in 1971 to join the Dreyfus Corp., but four years later he was named secretary to New York Gov. Hugh Carey, a post he held until he joined ABC News . . .
In a statement yesterday, Arledge said: "David has been instrumental in the development of the innovative and quality programming which is now the trademark of ABC News. The promotion gives recognition to the growing responsibilities he has assumed over the years and the contribution he has made to the growth and success of this news division" . . .
(The promotion also gives recognition to strong rumors in New York last year that a couple of rivals had their eyes on the very capable Mr. Burke) . . .
NBC Entertainment has renewed "Gimme a Break," "The Facts of Life" and "227" for next season . . .
"Gimme" will have a complete face lift. The girls on the show have all grown up, so star Nell Carter will move to New York to join her best friend Addy (Telma Hopkins). They'll be joined by Grandpa Kaniski (John Hoyt), Joey Donovan (Joey Lawrence) and Joey's little brother Oliver, who will be portrayed by Matthew Lawrence, Joey's younger brother . . .
Kari Michaelsen, Lauri Hendler and Lara Jean Miller may make occasional guest star appearances next season . . .
NBC also announced completion of a pilot for "The Stiller and Meara Show," which is a possibility for next season. Jerry Stiller will play the assistant deputy mayor of New York City; Anne Meara will play a character actress appearing in TV commercials. They'll have three children . . .
Oops!Ken Kragen, in town to promote his May 25 "Hands Across America" campaign, contacted "CBS Morning News" this week about possible appearances on the show by Kenny Rogers and the Rev. Billy Graham, supporters of the project who also happen to be in town this week . . .
Considering Kragen's show biz background, "CBS Morning News" bookers here thought he meant Bill Graham, the San Francisco rock promoter, and yesterday morning announced the appearance this morning of San Francisco Bill along with Rogers . . .
They caught the mistake with a later announcement on the broadcast . . .
The "Disney Movie," which has enhanced the ABC Sunday schedule considerably this year, has a touching true story Sunday night called "Love Leads the Way" . . . detailing the very tough road traveled by Morris Frank, a blind youth, who eventually established the Seeing Eye guide dog program in this country . . .
Blake Clark, a Bethesda resident who befriended Frank in a Vanderbilt University classroom in 1927, coauthored with Frank the book the movie is based on in 1957. Frank died in 1980 . . .
Excerpts of the story appeared in Reader's Digest, where Clark, now retired, served for years as a roving editor . . .
CBS Entertainment President B. Donald (Bud) Grant says Mary Tyler Moore will be back on the network in a new MTM Enterprises sitcom . . . but that this past season's flop, "Mary," is gonzo . . .
Grant insists that viewer dislike for the rest of the newsroom cast on "Mary" was the reason it flopped. Captain Airwaves thinks B. Donald (Bud) Grant is wrong. Captain Airwaves thinks the too-tough Mary character was the reason. But then if Captain Airwaves knows so much, how come he isn't running CBS Entertainment? . . .
Speaking of CBS Entertainment, there's been a couple of changes there since the defection of programming boss Harvey Shephard to Warner Bros. Television . . .
When Shephard left, Kim LeMasters, vice president, mini-series, was named to replace him as vice president, programs . . .
This week Peter Frankovich, who has been vice president, motion pictures, for television, was named to replace LeMasters in the mini-series job. And Nancy Bein, who has been director, motion pictures, for television, was named to replace Frankovich . . .
The "Today" show keeps chugging along. For the week ending April 25, the NBC morning program was first with a 5.9 Nielsen rating and a 24 percent share, followed by "Good Morning America" with a 5.2/22 and "CBS Morning News" with a 3.3/14.
Also regarding "Today," Alexandria resident Dorothy Holland won that WRC-WAVA contest for a cruise on the SS Norway between May 17 and May 24. She and husband Alan will be accompanied by Channel 4 feature reporter Steve Doocy, and they'll probably get a chance to meet the "Today" cast, which will be broadcasting from Norway May 19-24 . . .
And from our Roll Over, Longfellow file: You just know "North and South Book II" is going to be a howl when publicists reveal that Wayne Newton, who plays Maj. Thomas Turner, "the sadistic commander of Libby prison," is a direct descendant of . . . Pocahantas!! . . .
Turner Broadcasting System has signed with MCA Inc. to carry "The New Leave It to Beaver" series on superstation WTBS next fall . . . a total of 74 new episodes . . .
Returning from the original are Jerry Mathers (Beaver) and Tony Dow (Wally Cleaver) . . .
You may recall that in mid-March, Channel 7 received lots of complaints from "Sale of the Century" fans . . .
On Friday, March 7, a contestant wound up poised to go for a $50,000 cash prize but the next Monday she wasn't there . . .
Turned out that Genesis Telepictures, which syndicates the game show, had started reruns on March 10, without notifying anybody . . .
At the time, Genesis told Seven that contestant Lisa Munoz would return for a go at the $50,000 "sometime in May" . . .
Yesterday, a spokesman for Channel 7 said that Genesis thinks Munoz will show up "as early as May 6" (Tuesday) . . . but Captain Airwaves suggests "Sale of the Century" fans keep their eyes peeled starting Monday at 4:30. Just to be safe, you know . . .