For the second weeknight in a row, there were problems yesterday with the early (6:30 p.m.) feed of "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" because of the network's coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament ...

But this time, anchor Dan Rather's stubbornness wasn't one of them. The rain-delayed men's singles final between Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander lasted until 7:01, meaning that there was no early feed of the news program but that all save a minute or two of the second (7 p.m.) feed aired with no problems -- and with Rather right where he belonged ...

On Friday, when the women's semifinal match between Steffi Graf and Lori McNeil ran over, threatening the start time of the first feed that night, Rather angrily told CBS executives in New York to let CBS Sports fill the rest of the half hour ...

He sat at the anchor desk (which was in Miami because of the pope's visit there) until 6:30, but when the network switch wasn't made as the tennis match continued, he unclipped his microphone and walked off the set to make another angry phone call to Stringer ...

But the match ended just two minutes later, CBS Sports relinquished its feed and suddenly, with no "CBS Evening News" on the air, the network went black for the next six minutes amid confusion on the set and a belated realization that Rather had to return to the anchor chair. As soon as he was found in a nearby office, Rather returned and got on the air finally at 6:39 p.m. The second feed, at 7 p.m., which supplies many of the western CBS affiliates as well as Channel 9 here, went off without a hitch ...

Yesterday, CBS management early on announced that the Lendl-Wilander match would air until its conclusion, and "CBS Evening News" -- broadcasting out of Washington studios last night -- was told a brief awards presentation would follow as well ...

CBS News said Rather would start the first feed, serving about 100 affiliates, mostly in the East, as late as 6:50 p.m. should the match run over. Just to be safe, management also set a 7:20 p.m. deadline for the second feed ...

But when 6:30 rolled around yesterday, Lendl and Wilander were in the fourth of potentially five sets. When the match, won by Lendl, ended 31 minutes later after 4 hours 47 minutes, CBS opted not to show an awards ceremony, and Channel 9 here, which wanted to air a few commercials first, finally got on the air with the second feed at 7:05, with the broadcast clearly well underway ...

Otherwise, Rather's Friday walkout was still earning criticism yesterday. Phil Jones, chairman of CBS' affiliate board and general manager of KCTV in Kansas City, Mo., said he wanted an apology from Rather ...

Laurence A. Tisch, CBS president and chief executive officer -- who reportedly got a phone call from Rather Sunday about the incident -- said it was "human nature" that the anchor would be upset that the tennis match had infringed on the news show. Tisch said he wished Rather had not left the set. "The only thing I can say to you is this is something that's never going to happen again," Tisch told the Associated Press ...

The House telecommunications and finance subcommittee, its leadership seeking restoration of FCC curbs on ads aired on children's TV programs, will hold hearings on the subject this morning in the Rayburn office building, Room 2123, starting at 9:30 ...

Prior to the FCC action in 1984 lifting the curbs, advertisers were limited to 9 1/2 minutes of ads per hour on weekdays, 12 minutes per on the weekends. The rule change also opened the way for those current programs that feature toys as central figures and are thus just half-hour-long toy commercials ...

On today's agenda will be those subjects as well as the new "interactive technology" being introduced by Mattel on its "Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future" program, which permits kiddies at home, armed with the correct toy, to run up scores while aiming at robots on the TV screen during the program ...

A representative of Mattel will demonstrate the new toy. Other witnesses will include Peggy Charren, president of Action for Children's Television (ACT); Preston Padden, president of the Association of Independent Television Stations; and Dr. Jerome Singer, a Yale University psychologist ...

Subcommittee chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Terry L. Bruce (D-Ill.) will introduce a bill today aimed at eliminating the half-hour-long commercials ...

Strike Notes

NBC, months into a strike by 2,800 National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, got through all seven NFL season-opening games on its schedule Sunday without a major glitch by its management-manned (or is that personned?) camera and other technical crews at the game sites. The studio show, "NFL Live," also survived without a scratch in its season debut ...

The Cards-Mets NBC telecast on Saturday was another story -- and one for the NABET newsletter. Management technicians lost a center-field camera for the whole game as well as the press box audio after the first batter appeared and the broadcast was without sound for 8 1/2 minutes, until Joe Garagiola joined Marv Albert (who still had sound for his on-field interviews) near the Mets dugout ...

The network made do with graphics in the meantime, as St. Louis batters pounded Dwight Gooden for five runs in the first inning. Sound for Vin Scully in the press box was restored in the bottom of the second ...

On another front, NBC president Bob Wright has sent another informational letter to the network's 8,000 employes spelling out the network's stand on such key issues as daily hires, the shortening of the contract term to a proposed two years, and a key change in the language of the contract preamble. The last round of fruitless NBC-NABET negotiations adjourned Sept. 1 ...

Neverthless, said Wright, "we think those talks were constructive and that we came much closer to reaching an agreement. That fact that we didn't is disappointing to all of us" ...

In other developments, Charles Mathis, strike coordinator for NABET Local 31, charged that Washington Redskins management called Fairfax county police from the Fair Oaks district yesterday when eight union pickets showed up at Redskin Park to show support for the NFL players in their pending action against the NFL management. Mathis said that after a brief conversation, the police allowed pickets to remain ...

And sponsors of a "country breakfast with Willard" on behalf of the Easter Seal Society for Disabled Children and Adults has announced postponement of the event, scheduled for Friday morning at the J.W. Marriott Hotel ...

The program, honoring "Today" weatherman Willard Scott, would have included live weather remotes to the NBC morning show from the hotel, now in jeopardy because of the NABET strike against the network ...

Sponsors, including WMAL radio, Uniglobe Travel Inc. and Continental/Eastern Airlines, said the event will be rescheduled when the strike is settled ... Moving Right Along

Carl Rowan's "Searching for Justice: Three American Stories" on Channel 9 Sunday night from 8 to 9 attracted a 15.2 Nielsen rating and a 23 percent audience share here (each rating point represents about 15,800 local TV homes) ...

NBC's primetime schedule, which included season premieres for both "Our House" and "Family Ties" (the nation's second most popular TV series last year), started late Sunday because of the NFL game overrun ...

Locally, the last 15 minutes of "Our House" and the first 45 minutes of the "Family Ties" special did a 21.8/32 on Channel 4 directly against Rowan's powerful documentary. A repeat of "Spenser: For Hire" on Seven could muster only a 9.4/14, while "Married ... With Children" and "Duet" on Five averaged a 7.1/10 ...

While we're up to our belt buckles in ratings this morning, TV Column fans, we might as well reveal that "Family Ties" did mighty well in the overnight ratings in Nielsen's 15 top markets, averaging a 27.8/42 in those cities ...

The move of "Ties" from a cozy spot in the lee of "The Cosby Show" on Thursday to the lead-off position against CBS' "Murder, She Wrote" on Sunday nights this fall is one of the few moves NBC is making this new season that could be considered a gamble. Sunday, Michael J. Fox & Co. were up against a "She Wrote" CBS rerun so it was no contest ...

But the Sunday figures also showed that the two-hour pilot for "Private Eye," which eventually comes to rest on NBC at 10 p.m. Friday, can't hold on to the kids who love to see Michael J. Fox. "Private" slipped to a still-strong 19.5/32 during its two hours. Still, that was enough to muffle ABC's well-intentioned drama about adult illiteracy, "Bluffing It," which registered an 11.9/19. A repeat "Nobody's Child" on CBS did a 12.5/20 ...

ABC's "Good Morning America," taking a leaf from "Today's" promotion manual, tried a primetime edition ("Good Evening America") Friday night but barely doubled its average daytime audience ...

The promotion value of introducing an early morning network show to a much larger nighttime audience is obvious, if not provably productive, but GEA drew a mere 7.4 Nielsen rating and a 15 percent audience share at 10 p.m. ...

NBC's three "Today" primetime ventures since 1985, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday nights, averaged an 11.8/21. (Each rating point this year counts for 886,000 TV homes) ...