Charles S. Cowdrey, vice president and general manager of Channel 20, informed the station staff yesterday he has resigned to become vice president in charge of communications for the New England chapter of the United Way ...

TVX Broadcast Group, owners of the station, announced that Timothy Lynch, who has been general manager of the TVX-owned WMKW in Memphis, will replace Cowdrey ...

According to sources, Cowdrey's decision disappointed TVX, which regarded him as one of the best managers they picked up when they bought WDCA and four other Taft Broadcasting stations earlier this year ...

Friends say that Cowdrey had been considering a move to the Boston area, where he has family, for some time ...

He joined WDCA seven years ago, rising from account executive through a series of sales jobs to GM ...

He is credited with improving WDCA's financial picture while pushing for quality acquisitions in recent years such as "Cheers," "Night Court" and "Webster" ...

In an unrelated development, Channel 20 on Friday was listed among the top unsecured creditors in the petition filed by the beleaguered PTL ministry for reorganization under federal bankruptcy laws ...

According to the Chapter 11 filing, PTL owes WDCA $135,372 for time bought on the station for the PTL Club broadcasts ...

A spokesman for WDCA said yesterday that "PTL has always been a 'slow pay.' " Program director Glenn Dyer estimated the debt covered nearly a year of broadcast time purchases ...

Thirteen of the top 20 creditors listed by PTL on Friday were broadcast stations or cable systems. WCCB in Charlotte, N.C., is owed $232,104 ...

President Reagan yesterday announced his intention to nominate Charles M. Lichenstein to be a member of the board of directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting ...

He would succeed Sharon P. Rockefeller for a term expiring March 26, 1992 ...

Lichenstein is currently a Senior Fellow of International Relations at the Heritage Foundation here. Active in conservative Republican circles for years, Lichenstein was a special assistant to President Nixon in the 1970s ...

He served as an alternate United States representative to the United Nations from 1981 until 1984 ... where he made headlines -- and got a quick lesson in geography -- by suggesting, in 1983, that if anti-U.S. delegates to the U.N. didn't like it here, "we will put no impediment in your way and we will be at dockside bidding you a farewell as you set off into the sunset"...

He is a former vice president of the Public Broadcasting Service and was as a member of a Reagan transition team in 1980 that criticized federal expenditures for public broadcasting ...

The 10-member CPB board is currently two members short. The nomination of former CPB board member Harry O'Connor is still pending before the Senate Commerce Committee. No date has been set for hearings on Lichenstein...

Also in the News A hearing officer in Los Angeles yesterday decided not to charge "Moonlighting" star Bruce Willis with assault in connection with a noisy beer bust at his rented Hollywood Hills home, adding that Willis has moved and promised to apologize to his former neighbors ...

Willis, 32, had appeared last week before the hearing officer to determine whether he would be charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly rushing at police officers and screaming obscenities as they sought to shut down the Memorial Day party at his home ...

Neighbors said later they had complained several times about loud parties at Willis' rented home and that Willis could be seen walking nude around his back yard swimming pool ...

Deputy City Attorney Robert Pingle also decided not to file charges against four other men, including Willis' brother, who were detained for allegedly interfering with Bruce Willis' arrest. Pingle determined there was insufficient evidence to file any charges ...

A spokesman for the city attorney said Willis left the Nichols Canyon home the day after the complaints were filed ...

The sixth and final game of the NBA championship series on CBS Sunday afternoon averaged a 19.1 Nielsen rating and a 45 percent audience share in Nielsen's 14 major markets ...

In Washington, the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics registered a 20.4/47 on Channel 9 (each rating point representing about 15,800 area TV homes) ...

In Boston, the game did a 33.3/70 -- meaning exactly one-third of all TV homes in the sixth-largest market (of about 2 million homes) and 70 percent of the sets-in-use were tuned to the game ...

In Los Angeles (the second-largest market in the country, with about 4.5 million TV homes), the game drew 29.7/62 ...

That was the good news for CBS. Saturday night, "West 57th" debuted in its new 10 p.m. Saturday time slot and promptly registered a drop-dead 5.9/12 in Nielsen's top 14 markets ...

CBS Entertainment has penciled in the CBS News magazine for 10 p.m. Saturdays in the upcoming fall schedule. But CBS brass has assured affiliates it must average a 16 percent audience share to stay alive after September ...

Washington did its part, though. "West 57th" registered an 8.6/18 on Channel 9 ...

Speaking Of Troubled network magazine shows, ABC News' "20/20" -- and some angry affiliates -- heard reassuring news from network management last week out in Los Angeles ...

You'll recall that "20/20" has been moved from its sturdy 10 p.m. Thursday slot to a 10 p.m. Friday slot next fall to face a sea of baby sitters, few of whom are expected to find co-host Hugh Downs totally awesome ...

On Thursdays, "20/20" has been one of the best lead-ins for local news at 11 p.m. that cellar-dwelling ABC has been able to produce ...

Network executives have now told affiliates that if "20/20" gets mauled in the Friday time slot, it will be moved ...

Since the network has scheduled some pretty good theatrical movies for 9 p.m. on Thursdays next fall, to take some of the edge off NBC's dominance of that night, chances are slim the magazine show will return there ...

But looking down the road, Tuesday or Wednesday night at 10 could be a possibility by the time the snow flies, should "20/20" be mauled on Friday this fall ...

The ABC affiliates were also informed that both "Business Briefs," which airs at 8:58 weeknights, and the weekend "Sports Update," which airs at 9:58 Saturday nights and 8:58 p.m. on Sundays, will be missing next fall ...

The decision on "Business Briefs" will give local ABC stations an extra minute a week, plus an additional 15 seconds every other week, to sell for ads ...

CBS debuted its "CBS Summer Playhouse" series Friday night with the pilot for "The Saint," which obviously hadn't made the fall schedule ...

Viewers were asked to vote (at 50 cents a pop) on a 900 telephone number their approval or disapproval of the program ... and there's a slight hint that a program's popularity could lead to a reconsideration by the network ...

"The Saint," starring Andrew Clarke as the "legendary English detective, Simon Templar," received 40,218 yes votes and 3,715 no votes. And the telephone company made about $21,966 ...

This coming Friday night? Get out your quarters. It's "Kung Fu: The Next Generation" ...