The results are in from A.C. Nielsen's first full week of people metering, and for the "CBS Evening News With and Sometimes Without Dan Rather" crew, theyweren't all that hot ...

People meter trial runs this summer had "CBS Evening News" in first place. This contradicted the 30-year-old Nielsen diary system in use until last week, which had kept CBS consistently in third place since last April, behind "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" and "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" ...

Implicit in the muffled ratings reports from a very low-profile CBS News in recent days was a plea to "wait until the week beginning September 14! Please." ...

Well, the people metering for the week ending Friday, Sept. 18, put "NBC Nightly News" in first place with a 10.1 national Nielsen rating and a 21 percent audience share ...

CBS News and ABC News tied for second last week at 9.5/20. Which put CBS and ABC about 451,600 TV homes behind NBC on average every night ...

Those numbers omit "CBS Evening News" for Monday, Sept. 14, when the U.S. Open tennis finals between Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander ran all the way through the first (6:30 p.m.) feed of "CBS Evening News" that night, costing the network news show well over 100 affiliates ...

On Monday night, as a matter of fact, relying only on the second (7 p.m.) feed, "CBS Evening News" averaged a mere 4.5/9 ...

The weekly Electronic Media, in a story that hit the streets before the NFL players strike became official Monday midnight, reports that both ABC and CBS networks, which had been braced for losses this year, are now braced to make modest -- in network TV terms, anyway -- profits ...

ABC, which lost more than $50 million last year and had predicted a $40 million loss for this year, could show a $60 million profit. CBS, which expected to lose $20 million this year, could report $50 million in profits, instead ...

Both networks credit cost-cutting measures as well as a surprise upturn in advertising revenues lately for the switch. However, the NFL strike could seriously dim the rosy prospects at both networks. ABC also has to watch out for a four-game World Series next month, which could reduce a $5 million profit for a seven-game Series to an $11 million loss ...

Number one NBC will net hundreds of millions in profit, even without the threatened NFL advertising revenues ...

Also in the News

NBC Entertainment has announced a remake of "Inherit the Wind," the classic Broadway play and subsequent movie inspired by the famous Scopes "monkey trial" in Tennessee in which a teacher was prosecuted for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution ...

The movie will air sometime during this season ...

Kirk Douglas will play Matthew Harrison Brady, a brilliant orator and fundamentalist based on former presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan ...

Jason Robards Jr. will play Henry Drummond, a lawyer based on Clarence Darrow, who defends the schoolteacher accused of "bringing subversive, anti-biblical ideas into the classroom" ...

In the 1960 movie version directed by Stanley Kramer, Fredric March played the Bryan-like role, while Spencer Tracy portrayed Darrow for the defense ...

In 1965, a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV version of "Inherit the Wind" on NBC starred Melvyn Douglas and Ed Begley ...

"Wheel of Fortune," currently the top syndicated show on television, has been set for a run through at least 1992 ...

Letter turner Vanna White and host Pat Sajak will remain in their starring roles ...

A spokesman for Channel 9, which carries "Wheel" in the Washington market, said yesterday he would not disclose the length of WUSA's current contract for the game show and said no decision has been reached about extending rights through 1992. "1992 is a long ways off," the spokesman added ...

Nevertheless, the program is a strong number one at 7:30 in this market ...

Merv Griffin Enterprises' Merv Griffin made the announcement yesterday of the unusual extension out of New York in a teleconference with station directors and managers ...

"Vanna has signed a contract until 1992," Griffin told UPI. "Pat has indicated he wants to stay on the syndicated night-time version" ...

Griffin pointed out that the program has been recently revamped. There's a new set, better prizes and more cash, plus a new theme -- "I'm a Wheel Watcher," sung to the tune of the 1960s hit "I'm a Girl Watcher" (this certainly gives the lie to reports that the Hollywood creative community may have recently lost a step) ...

The biggest change is that the shopping spree at the end of the program has been dropped in favor of more puzzles and prizes. Griffin said he paid $500,000 "out of pocket" in cash and merchandise for the first month's programs, which will air in October ...

"Now the players play for cash," said Griffin. "When you play for cash, you get about 50 percent more excitement from them. The lowest prize you can play for in the bonus is $25,000 cash. In the first month (of new production) they took me for three Jaguars at $48,000 each -- and we don't get a deal on those. There are Mercedes, Corvettes, diamonds. One lady won $23,000 just on the wheel. That's cash ... " (and you thought the Hollywood creative community only cared about material things!) ...

Griffin also said, "We'll do five to six puzzles a day instead of three and four. The thing I'm most proud of is there will be two puzzles before the first commercial" ...

But first things first. Griffin said, "Vanna now has got a long nice walk for her entrance and she comes in to the song 'I'm a Wheel Watcher' " ...

NBC Sports announced yesterday that with no NFL game scheduled for Sunday, the network will air a one-hour version of "NFL Live" starting at 12:30 p.m., which will be followed by the key American League East game between the Detroit Tigers and the Toronto Blue Jays ...

Donna Dees has been named manager of communications for CBS News. Based in New York, her responsibilities will include the Washington bureau, special events and "Campaign '88" ...

Dees most recently was an associate producer with Tribune Entertainment in Chicago. She was an assistant press secretary to then-Sen. Russell Long (D-La.) ...

1 26.0 The Cosby Show 45 NBC 2 23.1 NFL Bears-Giants 41 ABC 3 23.0 The Golden Girls 41 NBC 4 20.6 Mama's Boy 38 NBC 5 20.5 Family Ties 33 NBC 6 20.4 Miss America Pageant 42 NBC 7 20.3 60 Minutes 35 CBS 20.3 Bob Hope Special 34 NBC 9 20.1 Growing Pains (Tues.) 32 ABC 10 19.5 My Two Dads 30 NBC 11 19.3 Highwayman 31 NBC 12 18.7 Murder, She Wrote 29 CBS 13 18.5 Night Court 31 NBC 14 17.8 Who's the Boss? 30 ABC 17.8 Moonlighting 28 ABC 16 17.0 St. Elsewhere 30 NBC 17 16.6 Highway to Heaven 28 NBC 18 16.5 Growing Pains (Fri.) 31 ABC 19 16.3 Newhart 25 CBS 20 16.2 227 31 NBC

The 1986-87 calendar year on network TV ended last week. And Nielsen introduced its controversial people meter ratings system ...

And sure enough, NBC remained in first on the eve of the new 1987-88 season, recording a 15.6 Nielsen rating and a 27 percent audience share, miles ahead of ABC in second place with an 11.8/21 and CBS in third at 11.7/21 ...

There have been suggestions that ABC could make a real race of it for second place with CBS this new season. It's too early to tell, but regardless, CBS must have felt a big chill yesterday on learning that NBC's gamble of pitting "Family Ties" and another sitcom against CBS' "Murder, She Wrote" from 8 to 9 on Sundays, just might work ...

Sunday night's NBC duo of "Family Ties" and "My Two Dads" gave NBC its first win ever over "Murder, She Wrote" with regular programming in that time slot ...

The Emmys, which aired on Fox Broadcasting this year, ended up with an 8.8 rating and a 14 share, which earned it a 48th place finish for the week ...

We'll have a further analysis of the national ratings tomorrow since the Nielsens came in too late last night for a Serious Study