Let the Daily Miracle begin! ...

With the news that "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather" out-peoplemetered the competition last week to win the nightly news race with a 10.5 Nielsen rating and a 22 percent audience share, its highest rating since mid-April and its second win in four weeks (two of which were peoplemeterless, for whatever that's worth) ...

"ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" was second at 9.6/20, while "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" -- which has had a lock on the top for months -- fell to third place for the first time since August 1986 ...

Underscoring that last point, final third quarter ratings (June 29 through Sept. 25) released yesterday, showed NBC News in first with a 9.8/22, followed by ABC at 9.3/20 and CBS at 9.2/20 during that three-month period ...

That's the first time since January 1967, when the three network news shows began head-to-head competition, that ABC News has ever finished in front of CBS News in a quarterly matchup ...

Cybelle O'Sullivan, a senior at Howard University majoring in broadcast management, is the winner of the first scholarship to be funded by the Washington Area Broadcasters Association designed to aid "promising and worthy students aiming at a career in broadcasting" ...

The award was announced yesterday at a WABA luncheon and board meeting at which Gene F. Jankowski, president of CBS/Broadcast Group, was the principal speaker ...

Suzanne Allen has been named "CBS Evening News" senior producer for foreign coverage, replacing Richard Cohen, who has been named senior political producer for CBS News ...

Allen, just returned from maternity leave, had been a senior producer for the Evening News ...

The College Satellite Network, which reaches more than 500 campuses (or campi) around the country, launches its third season tonight with a two-hour live broadcast on the subject of "Sex on Campus," which deals with AIDS and the changing morals in student life ...

The broadcast, which will be seen at American University here starting at 8 p.m., will originate in the Biznet studios at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Mariel Hemingway and Alexandra Paul are among the speakers scheduled for the telecast ...

Monday night's unsettling "Cagney & Lacey" episode dealing with racism drew a 13.6 national Nielsen rating and a 23 percent audience share. In its season premiere a week before, the CBS series had averaged a 16.4/28 ...

Although the episode plot line differed, it had been inspired by last year's incident in Howard Beach, a Queens neighborhood where white youths attacked three black men who were strangers to the area. A 23-year-old fled onto a nearby parkway, where he was struck and killed by a car ...

The trial of four white teen-agers charged with murder or manslaughter in the Howard Beach death began three weeks ago. Defense lawyers sought to block the airing of Monday's episode but State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Demakos dismissed the motion, saying, "I'm not going to tell a TV station not to air a show" ...

Sources at both CBS and ABC said late yesterday that ABC News' Kathleen Sullivan was due to sign with CBS News, perhaps by last evening ...

She is to become a co-anchor on the two-hour morning news program that will begin Nov. 30 on CBS, replacing "The Morning Program" ...

With the move almost a certainty, the fate of her weekend half-hour health show on ABC is now up in the air ...

Speaking of CBS News' return to control of the 7 to 9 a.m. time slot on weekdays starting Nov. 30, here's a partial list of the CBS News on-air talent who have tried to make something of the morning news slot since 1954:

Walter Cronkite (and his puppet, Charlemane the Lion), Jack Paar, Will Rogers Jr., Harry Reasoner, Mary Fickett, Mike Wallace, Joseph Benti, John Hart, Hughes Rudd, Sally Quinn, Bruce Morton, Lesley Stahl, Richard Threlkeld, Bob Schieffer, Morton Dean, Charles Kuralt, Diane Sawyer, Bill Kurtis, Phyllis George, Forrest Sawyer, Maria Shriver, Faith Daniels, Charlie Rose and Sandy Hill ...

And why do I have the feeling that even when the news is good, CBS News is making too much news these days? ...

By the way, the contract between CBS and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers expires tomorrow night at midnight. About 1,500 employes, including camera operators, video and audio technicians and editors and electricians, are involved. The two parties have been meeting in Phoenix since the end of August. In recent days, CBS management has reportedly pulled back from its original very tough demands, particularly in the area of daily hires, and the parties were still talking yesterday ...

As both sides try to avert a walkout, no strike has been authorized so far by union leadership. About 105 technicians, of slightly less than 200 employes of the CBS News Washington bureau, are affected by the negotiations ...

Dissidents among the 2,800 National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) members who have been striking NBC for 14 weeks but have never had a chance to vote on the NBC offer are conducting a telephone poll this week seeking support for a move to force NABET leadership to permit a vote ...

Members of locals in Washington, New York and Chicago are involved in the effort but NABET leadership so far has shown no support. Arthur Kent, president of NABET Local 11 in New York, said the dissident activity "borders on the verge of treachery" ...

1 31.5 The Cosby Show 51 NBC

2 31.3 A Different World 49 NBC

3 28.4 Cheers 44 NBC

4 24.9 Night Court 40 NBC

5 24.7 Dolly 38 ABC

6 23.4 Who's the Boss? 39 ABC

7 23.3 Growing Pains 36 ABC

8 22.3 The Golden Girls 40 NBC

9 21.7 Full House 34 ABC

10 21.5 Hooperman 35 ABC

11 21.0 Family Ties 34 NBC

12 20.4 Murder, She Wrote 32 CBS

13 20.3 I Married Dora Special 33 ABC

14 20.0 60 Minutes 37 CBS

15 19.1 Newhart 30 CBS

16 18.7 NFL Patriots/Jets 34 ABC

17 18.3 Moonlighting 32 ABC

18 18.2 Slap Maxwell 31 ABC

19 18.1 My Two Dads 28 NBC

20 17.9 Unsolved Mysteries 32 NBC

17.9 ALF 29 NBC

New season -- but not quite the same old song. Oh, sure, NBC was the winner again but not by the margin it enjoyed a year ago on premiere week ...

And the overall audience for the three networks opening week was down 2.3 million TV homes from last year ...

For the week, NBC led with a 16.5 rating and a 29 percent share of the primetime audience. CBS was second at 14.6/25, ahead of ABC at 14.2/24. A year ago, when each rating point represented 874,000 TV homes, NBC stepped out smartly in premiere week with an 18.6, compared with a 15.1 for ABC and a 14.9 for CBS ...

But let's look at the Bright Side. ABC had three new series in the Top Ten last week, five in the Top 20. NBC had two, CBS none ...

On the Down Side, ABC had a firm grip on some pending failures, including eight of the nine lowest-ranked programs, among them three new series, "I Married Dora," tied for 60th in its regular Friday time slot; "Full House," in 63rd; and "Once a Hero," which quickly found the bottom of the barrel, or 68th place for the week ending Sept. 29 ...

"Hero" averaged a 3.7/7, finishing behind underaffiliated Fox network's best-rated show, "21 Jump Street," which did a 5.4/10 and only tying Fox's second-best rated show, "Married ... With Children" last week ...

In that same threatened nine, ABC could also find "Spenser: For Hire" (tied for 60th), "Sledge Hammer" (64), ""Max Headroom" (66) and "The Charmings" (67th) ...

The CBS movie special, "Gunsmoke: The Return to Dodge," tied for 27th, NBC's "The Terminator" tied for 29th ...

An early Airwaves favorite, "Beauty and the Beast" (the Beast turns out to be the Equalizer in whiskers) finished 44th, following a two-hour "Dallas" on Friday that finished 26th ...

Speaking of nighttime serials, "Dynasty" premiered in a tie for 29th, "Knots Landing" tied for 37th and "St. Elsewhere," which is kind of a serial, tied for 45th ...