For the seventh time in the past eight weeks, "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" has finished third in the network news race ...

In the bargain, CBS last week scored its lowest rating (an 8.4) since the week of July 6, 1964, and according to those meanies at NBC research, registered its lowest audience share (18 percent) ever ...

For the week, "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" again finished first, averaging a 10.4 Nielsen rating and a 23 percent audience share, compared to a 9.9/21 for ABC and an 8.4/18 for CBS (each rating point representing 874,000 TV homes) ...

With the continued CBS slump, "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" finished with its largest margin ever -- 1.5 ratings points, or about 1.3 million TV homes -- over CBS News since the three networks started competing with half-hour newscasts back in January 1967 ...

"ABC World News Tonight" even managed to outperform ABC and CBS in primetime for the week ending July 19, as CBS did a 9.8 and ABC an 8.8 rating (see TV Ratings, below)...

"NBC Nightly News," of course, continued to sail along in first, winning its 14th week in a row and 23rd out of the last 28 weeks. And its five-share-point margin over CBS was NBC's largest margin in that department since September 1964, when NBC finished six share points ahead ...

CBS research yesterday responded like any good research department -- it came up with its own set of figures to prove that Dan Rather & Co. was not only not third, it was actually in first ...

It seems that two weeks ago CBS, questioning the earlier third-place finishes in Nielsen, went out and hired its own survey firm, Bruskin & Associates ...

In the past two weeks, according to CBS research vice president David Poltrack, the New Jersey firm has conducted nationwide telephone surveys of 1,000 viewers. Last week, said Poltrack, even as Nielsen was doing "CBS Evening News" dirty, Bruskin & Associates reported Dan was the leading newscaster for the second week in a row, this time by a margin of 4 percent over ABC's Jennings and NBC's Brokaw, who were effectively tied for second ...

"The national probability sample is so close, even Dan's margin is subject to statistical error," said Poltrack. "What we found is that more people watch Dan but that it is very, very competitive among the three newscasts" ...

Poltrack also cited statistics from Nielsen's new "people meter" service indicating that for the first week in July, another down week in the regular Nielsen survey for "CBS Evening News," Rather finished first in a national sample of 2,000 homes. And that through June, when the people meter sample was 1,000 homes, Rather also finished first. He added, "As you know, we think people meters are biased and probably understate Rather's ratings, too" ...

Poltrack also pointed out that Nielsen and Arbitron had each surveyed 100,000 TV homes in more than 200 markets around the country during the May sweeps and when final results were in, Rather had finished first (CBS finished second behind NBC in the data from 1,700 homes that constitute the regular weekly surveys) ...

Also in the News

Scheduled for taping in Stamford, Conn., today: a "Donahue" show on the problems of welfare featuring D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, Mary Jo Bane, professor of sociology at Harvard, and Jacqueline Williams ...

Williams, the mother of 14, was the D.C. resident Barry recently suggested might consider not having any more children when she complained of a lack of housing for her large family ...

The program is scheduled to air on Channel 9 here on Thursday, starting at 12:30 p.m., according to a Donahue spokesman ...

Representatives of NBC and the striking National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians met again in New York yesterday with both sides expressing doubts that a settlement is in prospect ...

Some 2,800 NABET employes have been out since June 29. According to one NBC source, at the initial meeting on Monday, the union made a series of new proposals, rejected "about 90 percent of our last contract offer" and offered to modify its stand on temporary and daily hires, but only if the network would consider a four-day work week proposal ...

John Krieger, a spokesman for NABET, said of Monday's negotiating session: "They are not interested in discussing any of the union's proposals and nothing of significance occurred" ...

Hodding Carter, State Department spokesman during the Carter administration, will host ABC News' "Nightline" for the week starting July 27. ABC White House correspondent Sam Donaldson will take over the show the week of Aug. 3 ...

Regular anchor Ted Koppel will return from a month's vacation on Aug. 10. "Good Morning America" anchor Charles Gibson has anchored "Nightline" during the first two weeks since Koppel headed for the hills ...

1 20.3 Family Ties 38 NBC

2 20.0 The Cosby Show 40 NBC

3 18.2 All Star Baseball 33 NBC

4 16.9 Cheers 31 NBC

5 16.1 The Golden Girls 34 NBC

6 16.0 Growing Pains 28 ABC

7 15.5 Who's the Boss? 28 ABC

8 15.2 Murder, She Wrote 31 CBS

9 15.1 Perry Mason Returns 27 NBC

15.1 Moonlighting 25 ABC

11 14.5 ALF 27 NBC

12 14.3 Hunter 30 NBC

14.3 Out of the Darkness 26 CBS

14 14.1 Facts of Life/Under 25 NBC

15 14.0 Molly Dodd 25 NBC

16 13.9 Valerie 25 NBC

17 13.4 Amen 28 NBC

18 13.2 Night Court 24 NBC

19 13.1 Miami Vice 27 NBC

13.1 Designing Women 23 CBS

NBC also continued to roll in primetime last week, finishing with a 13.5 Nielsen rating and a 26 percent audience share ...

CBS was far behind in second place with a 9.8/19, while ABC did a mere 8.8/17 ...

ABC's rating was its lowest in the past two years and only one-tenth of a point above the 8.7 it registered in the week ending July 7, 1985 ...

CBS was low again but not quite to the all-time low of 9.5 it set for the week ending July 5 this year ...

As it was that July 4th weekend, the combination of "Space" reruns and "West 57th" on Saturday night was a big factor in last week's CBS ratings ...

Research vice president David Poltrack said yesterday that " 'Space' is killing us this summer. And 'Dallas' isn't helping {it was 59th this past week}. Serials just don't do well in the summer reruns" ...

Skipping down the list of performers -- none of which threatened to dislodge current members of the Primetime Pantheon -- we find CBS' Thursday movie, "The Outsiders," tied for 25th with NBC's dreadful AFI comedy special; and CBS' Tuesday movie, "Spring Break," in 40th ...

ABC News' repeat of a special on cocaine and alcohol abuse tied for 45th; CBS' "Summer Playhouse" offering, "Doctors Wilde," tied for 49th, and CBS' "Twilight Zone," a fresh episode, tied for 54th ...

The Final and Usually Fatal Five last week included ABC's "Webster," in 58th, followed, in order, by CBS' "Dallas;" ABC's "Starman;" CBS' "West 57th;" and Part III of CBS' "Space," orbiting in 62nd and last place ...