Channel 9, which has been known as WDVM since 1978, will become WUSA on the Fourth of July, the Gannett-owned station announced Friday . . .
Ron Townsend, vice president and general manager of Nine, said the call letters represent "a much better way to identify the leading television station in our nation's capital. And what better day than the Fourth to inaugurate our new call letters?" . . .
Townsend said there would be some on-air promotion of the new call letters before the changeover. He said new animation and graphics have been prepared by a Columbus, Ohio, firm. The WUSA logo on the air will include a small star between the W and the U. The color scheme will not be red, white and blue, but will emphasize blue, Townsend said . . .
WUSA had previously been the call letters of the Gannett station in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. That NBC affiliate was to have changed to the call letters KARE on June 11 . . .
Nine was known as WTOP for many years until 1978, when Post-Newsweek Stations swapped its Washington affiliate with the Evening News Association for Channel 4 in the Motor City. At that time, ENA changed the call letters to WDVM . . .
Is there a Shaker up at CBS Sports coming this week? . . .
We hear CBS is consolidating its current staff of four executive producers and that Ted Shaker will come out on top, while Terry O'Neil and Kevin O'Malley may have reduced roles . . .
*A rumor that's been stalking Channel 20 for more than two weeks -- that Taft Broadcasting Co. plans to sell WDCA and its four other independent stations -- has reached the printed speculation stage . . .
Trade publications last week suggested that the going price for the five stations (Taft owns another seven that are network affiliated) would be in the $300 million range . . .
In addition to WDCA, the stations up for bidding are WTAF in Philadelphia, WCIX in Miami, KTXA in Dallas and KTXH in Houston . . .
Paramount Pictures and MCA are rumored to be most interested, with Paramount, and its strong syndication operation, believed to have the edge . . . Also in the News
"Good Morning America" host David Hartman got something less than a ringing endorsement from ABC Entertainment President Brandon Stoddard yesterday . . .
Stoddard revealed that sometime next week he is to receive "a major study" of "GMA" from consultant Frank Magid -- whose recommendations helped boost competitor NBC's "Today" show into first place in the morning race, although NBC won't admit it . . .
Stoddard said that regardless of the study's recommendations, "we'll be looking carefully at everything about the show" . . .
Asked specifically if that "look" included Hartman, he repeated that he'll be looking at everything . . .
Stoddard pointed out that "GMA's" ratings have remained stable all year, even though it slipped to second, and that "we have a show here that's still very popular in the U.S.," but he said nary a word about Hartman's role in maintaining those ratings . . .
Meanwhile, Hartman is about to open negotiations with ABC on a new contract, and he's reportedly under the gun from cost-conscious ABC to change the terms he's currently working under. Hartman doesn't really receive the $2 million a year some press reports suggest, but owns a piece of the show, according to our sources, and ABC wants him to settle for a lot less . . .
"Miami Vice's" Don Johnson, he with no socks, may have been he with no TV series by this morning if he had tried to hold out over the weekend . . .
When word reached Burbank last Wednesday that the costar of the NBC series wanted considerably more than his current $35,000 an episode, both Universal, which produces the series, and NBC decided to get tough . . .
By eventide on Wednesday, executives at the highest level of the network had let it be known that Mark Harmon, formerly of "St. Elsewhere," was all but packed for Miami, where the series is shot, and that Treat Williams was available too . . .
By Friday, Universal had even gone to court, filing a $10 million breach-of-contract suit that would have prevented Johnson from working anyplace until his current seven-year contract (which ends in 1991) runs out . . .
Before an L.A. Superior Court judge could even issue an injunction in the matter, Johnson and his agent had capitulated . . .
Both Universal and NBC declined to discuss what the holdout got, but it's believed to be closer to $65,000 an episode than to the $100,000-plus Johnson reportedly demanded . . .
Harmon would not have replaced Johnson, whose Sonny Crockett character would have been dropped, but would have played another character entirely, according to insiders . . .
The NBC rationale was clear and cold. All three networks are experiencing a cost squeeze in TV productions. But NBC, having the finest financial year in its 31-year history, can best afford to dump a recalcitrant star . . .
NBC Entertainment President Brandon Tartikoff went public with that argument Friday at a luncheon for the American Film Institute here . . . Two hours later, word came from Universal that Don was reporting to work today in Miami . . . Wait, There's More
Roone Arledge, group president, ABC News and Sports, announced here Friday that the News division will launch a weekly business show, tentatively called "The Bottom Line," probably by October . . .
The half-hour program will be fed to ABC affiliates twice on Sunday mornings, before and after "This Week With David Brinkley" . . .
Sander Vanocur will anchor the show, which will also include Dan Cordtz, Steve Aug and Carole Simpson. Interviews with top business leaders and light features will be included in the format . . .
Arledge and executive producer Av Westin also gave some details of "Our World," the 60-minute "theme hour" that will air against "The Cosby Show" and "Family Ties" on NBC and "Simon & Simon" on CBS next fall on Thursday nights at 8 . . .
The programs, 36 in all, will variously explore important days, weeks, months or "a special time" in our recent history and will occasionally employ actors who will "read the actual words" of historic figures . . .
No host has been chosen for the series, but Jeff Greenfield is almost a certainty to wrap up each program by offering a "perspective" of the period examined . . .
ABC audience research indicates that "The Cosby Show's" major appeal is to a younger audience, so "Our World" will apparently dwell on "older" events (TV writers here saw a clip from 1948) . . .
Arledge also said that Barbara Walters, who will continue on "20/20" and her various interview specials, is due to "get a raise" with the new contract she is expected to sign very shortly . . .
Christy Walker, vice president, novels and limited series for television, ABC Entertainment, announced the following mini-series projects for the network:
"Out on a Limb," the five-hour adaptation of Shirley MacLaine's autobiography, with Shirley playing herself, will air in November . . . Walker called it "the most unusual show you will ever see" and agreed that "bizarre" might be a good word for it . . .
"Queen," the five-hour story of Merle Oberon, will probably air next May . . . as will the four-hour "The Miracle at Philadelphia," about the making of the U.S. Constitution ("It won't be a bunch of people sitting around a table," promised Walker, much to Captain Airwaves' relief) . . .
Then, for November 1987, there will be the still-uncast six-hour "Napoleon and Josephine" . . .
Walker said the 12-hour "Amerika," which is about halfway through production, is probably set for February of next year . . .
She declined to discuss details of the project -- which tells the story of America 10 years into a Soviet occupation -- pointing out that people connected with the mini-series have all signed an agreement not to talk about it . . . Robert Urich, Mariel Hemingway, Christine Lahti and Kris Kristofferson are among the actors who won't say a word . . .
ABC will also have 22 made-for-TV movies next season . . . including a still-untitled picture starring Audrey Hepburn and the ubiquitous Robert (R.fs,1 J.) Wagner, who now has three ABC projects in the works, including another movie with Liz Taylor and another ("Hart to Hart Reunion") with Stefanie Powers . . . And Finally
TV networks have another tool to frighten the wits out of Series Stars -- something called a "vulnerability study," which determines the "wear-out" factor of current series . . .
According to NBC's Brandon Tartikoff, CBS' "Dallas" ranks second, right behind ABC's "Love Boat" in the interest study, but he also admitted that his "A-Team" makes the top 10, too . . .
After two long weeks of looking at this fall's network shows, the 100-plus TV writers out here probably could all be squeezed into that top 10 . . . right near the top . . .