Capital Cities/ABC yesterday announced it will soon require drug tests of all new prospective employes ...

Management emphasized that the new rule, which will first go into effect in late August at the network-owned radio and TV stations, "will not apply to anyone who is already an employe of the company" ...

The announcement said the testing program "will expand to all other CC/ABC operations soon thereafterward" and "will apply to final candidates for full-time staff positions" ...

Spokesmen for CBS and NBC yesterday said that their companies have no plans at this time to institute similar policies regarding new hires ...

Earlier this week, Cap Cities/ABC had also advised employes that videocassettes of a recent ABC News Closeup: "Alcohol and Cocaine: The Secret of Addiction," would be made available to them for $20 less than the $79.95 cost for the general public ...

Yesterday's memo, signed by Chairman Tom Murphy and President Dan Burke, pointed out that the company has had an anti-drug policy in effect since 1984, "created by a representative group of employes in response to several unfortunate incidents involving drug use on company property" ...

"We are proud of our progress," the memo continued. "But education and rehabilitation programs need to be supported by an additional effort if we are to achieve a drug-free work environment. We must also avoid hiring news employes who are drug abusers" ...

The memo said that "if an applicant fails the test, he or she will be considered unsuitable for employment by any unit of the company for a period of six months" ...

A spokesman for Cap Cities/ABC said yesterday that since the drug treatment program had been instituted at the network under the previous management, some 400 employes have availed themselves of the confidential service ...

A spokesman for NBC said that "we have had a very expensive program of employe assistance in place for years. At this time we have no plans for testing of new employes" ...

Similarly, a spokesman for CBS said the company has a drug rehabilitation and counseling service for current employes. Vice President George Schweitzer added that "we don't do pre-screening and to my knowledge there are no plans to change the current policy" ...

Also in the News Channel 7 plans to replace Dan Lewis as Paul Berry's co-anchor on the 5 p.m. weeknight news show ...

The move, according to Tom Doerr, vice president and executive news director at WJLA, "has nothing to do with Dan's performance. He's been a terrific professional on the air and inside the newsroom and his relationship with Paul on the air and off has been tremendous ...

"It's just that we've decided we need somebody with a little different style; we're going to be looking for an anchor who's a little more intrusive, a little more energetic" ...

Doerr said that he's "invited Dan to stay and explore other roles at the station but we've also given him permission to look around. I know there's some interest in Dan from other markets" ...

Lewis joined WJLA out of Milwaukee in August 1985. His contract contained a "window" that gave the company an option not to renew beyond this Sept. 30 ...

Doerr denied that the move was connected with ratings for the 5 p.m. news. Still and all, in the May Nielsen sweeps at least, the Lewis-Berry combination lost a full ratings point from the lead-in audience provided for it this spring by the successful "Magnum, P.I." reruns at 4 p.m., although Arbitron recorded only a slight, two-tenths of a point slippage at 5 p.m. ...

"I'd say there's been some steady growth at 5," Doerr said yesterday, "but we've been looking at maybe a different formatting of the program down the road" ...

Doerr set no date for Lewis to leave the 5 p.m. news show, but sources indicated yesterday that, depending on how further talks with Lewis turn out, later this summer Wes Sarginson could join Berry at 5, leaving Renee Poussaint as solo anchor at 6 p.m. for the time being ...

What's this? A primetime TV series about Washington for grown-ups? ...

That's the intriguing prospect of a project now being seriously considered by David Milch, former executive producer of the award-winning "Hill Street Blues," and ABC, which has ordered 13 one-hour episodes for as early as March 1988, if the idea proves workable ...

The series would revolve around a "full-service" top-notch Washington public relations firm and, according to Milch, would feature an ensemble of characters, the technique that worked so well on "Hill Street Blues" ...

"It's in the very, very early, formative stage," Milch said yesterday. But he confirmed he had been in town recently discussing the project with public relations experts such as Robert Keith Gray, whose own successful firm is now part of the giant Hill & Knowlton PR group ...

"We would definitely not be playing it for laughs," Milch said. "There are some very intriguing story ideas in the concept, if, and it's a big if, we can get the right scripts from people who know Washington" ...

"In no way would the series be an 'expose',' " Milch said. "You cannot do a series that is inimical to the subject matter. There would be some light material, of course, but there are some very strong stories out there" ...

Milch is currently putting together "Beverly Hills Buntz," the "Hill Street Blues" spinoff headed for NBC, and he is also busy developing "other ideas" for network series aside from the Washington PR concept ...

If the Washington series does fall into place, Milch said, Gardner Stern would produce it. Stern is expected to return to Washington shortly to continue planning ...

National Nielsen figures are in for the daytime Emmy awards show, which aired June 30 on ABC. Between 3 and 5 p.m., it earned a 10.6 rating and a 36 percent audience share, up from the 1986 figures of 8.8/27, when the awards aired on NBC ...

Moving Right Along In case you are all Ollied Out, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, a candidate for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, will be live on C-SPAN this morning for a viewer call-in, starting at 9:30 ...

He'll discuss his candidacy and his opposition, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to the nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court ...

There was a slight falling-off of big city audiences for the Iran-contra hearings on Wednesday, according to Nielsen overnight figures for 15 major markets ...

NBC research yesterday estimated about 53 million viewers tuned in Wednesday to the three networks, down from the 55 million who tuned in to some or all of Lt. Col. Oliver North's testimony on Tuesday ...

On Wednesday, combining the morning and afternoon session figures, ABC averaged 5.8 rating and a 19 percent audience share in the 15 major Nielsen markets. NBC coverage was second at 4.3/14, and CBS trailed with 4.0/13 ...

Locally on Wednesday, CBS affiliate Channel 9 led with a 5.3/16, followed by Channel 7 (ABC) with 5.0/15; Channel 4 (NBC) with 4.8/15; and Channel 26, with a 1.7/6 (each rating point represents some 15,800 TV homes in the Washington area) ...

On Tuesday, the 15 Nielsen big markets had given ABC a 6.2/20 for the morning and afternoon sessions, compared with a 4.5/15 for NBC and a 4.0/13 for CBS. (Dare we point out that the last-named network historically does better in the smaller markets around the country? And that when national ratings are available, there could be a major change in the Order of Finish?) ...

On the Late Evening Front, ABC's "Nightline" discussions of the hearings have been clobbering CBS News' half-hour reprise of the day's happenings on the Hill...

Tuesday at 11:30 p.m., ABC did an 8.2/24 in the top 15 Nielsen markets, compared with a 5.3/14 for the CBS report. Wednesday, it was "Nightline" at 9.4/27 and CBS up to a 5.3/14 ...

(I think that's enough numbers for this morning, Airwaves) ...

By the way, CBS anchor Dan Rather and a crew of eight are working from a "hut" built on the roof of the eight-story Amtrak building at 400 North Capitol during the hearings ...

Yesterday morning, CBS Inc. president Laurence Tisch visited the set, with its panoramaic view of the Capitol and Washington, for about 20 minutes. He shook hands all around, sat at the anchor desk for a while and, according to Rather, asked some questions indicating he's been watching the hearings closely ...