NBC averted a threatened strike by members of the Directors Guild of America yesterday morning, half an hour before 160 staff directors and an unspecified number of freelance directors were scheduled to walk ...

The tentative NBC settlement with the Guild came shortly before the DGA reached a tentative settlement with movie and TV producers only five minutes ahead of the 6 a.m. deadline for a selective walkout against NBC, Warner Bros. and Columbia Pictures ...

Included in the across-the-board settlement were freelance directors working for CBS and ABC, as well as NBC. But NBC also settled with the DGA on a contract for its 160 staff directors ...

The Guild will now resume negotiations with ABC and CBS on contracts for their staff directors -- assigned to news programs and sports events -- who number about 175 and 152, respectively ...

The Guild yesterday said it would complete negotiations with ABC before talking to CBS ...

NBC yesterday had no figure for the number of freelance directors involved in the settlement but CBS estimated its new contract covered about 235 freelancers there, and "between 13 and 15" at ABC ... The freelancers work on entertainment programs for the most part ...

The previous pact between DGA and the members of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expired at the end of June. After talks broke down this past weekend, the guild set the 6 a.m. Tuesday deadline for the selective walkouts. Some 200 production companies are in the Alliance ...

The settlement, which must still be ratified by a mail vote of the 8,400 DGA members, removed fears that network TV might be short of primetime programming when the new season debuts in late September. NBC, for instance, reportedly had no new episodes of number one "The Cosby Show" ready on the shelf, although numerous series worked through the usual May and June "hiatus" to have product ready for the fall ...

McClain Ramsey, NBC vice president, corporate relations, said yesterday, "We're very pleased were able to avert the strike. There was a good deal of give-and-take between the two sides. The network was seeking changes in the rules to give us more jurisdiction over editing but we removed them and that was a turning point" ...

The network also agreed to a wage increase formula of 3 percent a year over three years ...

NBC is still the target of a strike by 2,800 members of the National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians (NABET), who have been on the sidewalk since late June ...

The key issue at the major studios was residuals -- the share of profits paid to directors from the resale or rebroadcast of movies, videocassettes and TV shows -- which paid the directors $48.7 million last year, up 11.1 percent from 1985 ...

Producers had claimed costs of production had increased so much that directors were getting residuals before studios showed a profit ...

In yesterday's tentative agreement, residual schedules would remain virtually unchanged, except for hour-long reruns of syndicated television shows, which will be changed from a fixed-rate formula to a percentage fomula ...

A DGA spokesman explained that the new formula "encourages producers to syndicate programs that otherwise would not be syndicated" ...

Also in the News As expected, the three major networks yesterday announced development of "an experimental plan" for broadcasts of the Iran-contra hearings live on a rotational basis ...

The rotating broadcasts will begin tomorrow morning. As a result of a drawing among the three news divisions, NBC will lead off, followed by CBS and then ABC, a sequence that will continue for the indefinite future ...

However, according to the joint announcement, "any network will, of course, be free to provide complete or partial live or recorded broadcasts on the days when it does not have the primary broadcast responsibility" ...

The networks' statement said the rotation plan was developed "in light of the importance of the Joint Hearings currently being conducted by the Senate and House Select Committees, and the prospect that the Hearings will continue for a significant period of time ... "

"Pre-existing arrangements for pooled camera coverage of the hearings will remain in effect. Any broadcast or cable network, station, or service which desires to carry the pool feeds of the hearings may do so" ...

"The arrangement can be terminated at the request of any network by notice on the previous day" ...

The networks have been losing perhaps $1 million each in advertising revenue on a daily basis since they all went to live gavel-to-gavel coverage of the hearings a week ago. That factor and the prospect of future witnesses without the marquee value of Lt. Col. Oliver North contributed to the decision to go to a rotation system similar to that used in the Watergate hearings of 1973 ...

Well Played, Jeffrey! British politician/writer Jeffrey Archer, whose "First Among Equals" miniseries is currently airing on Channel 26, has canceled out of a press conference scheduled for tomorrow evening at the National Press Club ...

Jeffrey couldn't tear himself away from a libel suit he's pressing against a London newspaper ...

ABC News announced yesterday that chief foreign correspondent Pierre Salinger will return to New York in the fall from the Paris bureau, where he's been assigned since joining the network 10 years ago ...

The high cost of high living in the City of Lights was cited as a reason for the return to the states. Salinger will continue as chief foreign correspondent ...

Salinger, press secretary to President John F. Kennedy and, briefly, a U.S. senator from California, first signed on in Paris as a contributing correspondent and became an ABC regular in 1978 ...

"NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw" was first in the evening news numbers last week with a 10.4 Nielsen rating and a 23 percent share of the audience. "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" was second at 9.5/20, while "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" was third at 9.1/20 ...

The CBS show has finished third in five of the last six weeks ...

1 21.0 Family Ties 39 NBC 2 20.7 The Cosby Show 40 NBC 3 17.1 With Intent to Kill 31 CBS 4 16.9 Murder, She Wrote 33 CBS 5 16.8 Growing Pains 30 ABC 6 16.4 Cheers 31 NBC 7 16.3 Shattered Vows 28 NBC 8 16.1 Who's the Boss? 30 ABC 9 16.0 60 Minutes 34 CBS 10 15.6 Valerie 28 NBC 11 15.5 Matlock 28 NBC 12 14.9 Moonlighting 26 ABC 13 14.8 The Golden Girls 32 NBC 14.8 The Equalizer 28 CBS 14.8 ALF 28 NBC 16 13.4 Designing Women 23 CBS 17 12.9 Newhart 22 CBS 18 12.6 Fast Times/Ridgemont Hi 22 CBS 19 12.5 Consenting Adults 26 ABC 20 12.3 20/20 22 ABC

NBC won the primetime race as usual, this time with an 11.6 rating and a 22 percent audience share for the week ending July 12 ...

CBS was second at 10.5/20 and ABC was third at 9.8/19 ...

In a week fraught with reruns, NBC's "Sweet Surrender" tied for 26th, NBC's pilot "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" was 30th and the CBS movie "Where The Boys Are '84" tied for 31st ...

The NBC movie "Carly's Web" tied for 40th, ABC's "Jennings/Koppel Report" on the Persian Gulf crisis was 43rd and the CBS Summer Playhouse entry, "Barrington," was 49th ...

Also among the fresh entries for the week, the NBC baseball game twixt Houston and the Mets Friday night was 52nd, CBS' "Twilight Zone" was 54th and CBS' "West 57th" was 61st ...

Part II of "Space" on CBS finished 63rd and last in the ranks for the week ...