CBS News announced yesterday that Rita Braver has been named CBS News Law Correspondent, which means she will cover both the Justice Department and the U.S. Supreme Court henceforth ...

Braver, whose industry has made her probably the most visible female correspondent at any of the three networks in recent years, has been covering the Justice Department beat for five years, picking up a news Emmy along the way ...

She first joined CBS in 1972. Washington bureau chief Joe Peyronnin, in making the announcement, said Braver "is the right person to take on the Supreme Court in this critical time of transition" ...

A debate featuring all six Democratic candidates for the presidency will air live from Miami Monday night at 11:30 p.m. on Channel 26 here ...

The debate will be moderated by ABC's Ted Koppel and is being held under the auspices of the Democratic Leadership Council, which is led by former Virginia governor Charles Robb. It is co-sponsored by the University of Miami ...

The 90-minute debate, which will also be seen on several southeastern regional PBS networks, is called "Defending America: The Democrats Debate National Security" ...

Defense and foreign affairs will be discussed before an audience of about 1,000 at the James L. Knight Center in Miami. Expected are Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, former Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt, Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, Sen. Albert Gore of Tennessee and Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois ...

The debate will be aired again Tuesday on C-SPAN, according to a Council spokeswoman ...

Now This The peoplemeters strike again! For the first time since the week ending Sept. 26, 1986, ABC's "Good Morning America" at least tied NBC's "Today" show for first place as both racked up a 4.2 Nielsen rating and a 21 percent audience share in the morning network race (each rating point represents 886,000 TV homes)...

"The Morning Program" on CBS trailed at 2.0/10 ...

Exactly 52 weeks ago, when a rating point counted for 874,000 homes, GMA won a clear-cut victory with a 4.7/24 over "Today" with a 4.5/23, while the old version of "CBS Morning News" did a 2.6/15 that week ...

For the next 52 weeks, "Today" took over and refused even to share first place in the ratings ...

Yesterday's report reflects the second week in which Nielsen has used peoplemeters to record viewership ...

Serious students of the Ratings Game (our chaps at the top secret Airwaves Research Laboratories refer to you as "metermavens," but then Nobel laureates will have their little jokes, won't they?) have probably already noticed that the cumulative audience for that week in September 1986 numbered 10.3 million TV homes, 10 percent more than this past week's 9.2 million total. The cumulative audience share also dropped from 62 to 52 percent in the year ...

Peoplemeter critics have warned anybody who would listen that audience counts might drop with the new system ...

Regardless, we should also note that Kathleen Sullivan co-anchored GMA last week with Charles Gibson ...

And that starting Nov. 30, she'll be in direct competition with her friend Charlie Gibson and Joan Lunden on the still-untitled CBS morning show ...

Which leads us to report that our sources say Miss Sullivan will receive $1 million in the first year of her new three-year contract with CBS News ...

Meanwhile, back at ABC News, Edie Magnus will replace Sullivan as host of tomorrow's edition of "The Health Show," which ABC airs at 12:30 p.m. With a couple of pre-emptions coming up later this month, no decision on a permanent anchor to replace Sullivan has been made, according to executive producer Dorrance Smith ...

Similarly, choice of a replacement for Sullivan on her other regular ABC News assignment, anchoring "World News Saturday," will be delayed since that show is pre-empted by college football into mid-December, Dorrance said yesterday ...

Moving Right Along The enterprising Cable News Network scored a clear beat over the Big Fellas yesterday morning in reporting on the earthquake that struck the Los Angeles area at approximately 10:42 Washington time ...

An enterprising assignment editor in the CNN L.A. bureau called Atlanta headquarters as the quake hit and CNN was on the air with the story at 10:43 a.m. ...

CNN also delivered the first pictures of damage at 10:57 a.m. Correspondent Anne McDermott was live on the air at 11:13 a.m. when the fifth aftershock hit the studios, giving viewers a sense of what it must feel like when the Richter scale has hit 6.1 ...

NBC News hit the air with its first report at 10:56 with Bob Jamieson reporting from New York. After another report at 11:17, the network came up with pictures on a noon report anchored by Garrick Utley in New York ...

CBS News' first report went on the air with Lesley Stahl in New York at 10:57. The quake hit during a conference call between New York and the L.A. bureau but it was decided to hold off an on-air report until some idea of the extent of damage could be determined, in order to avoid panicking viewers, according to a CBS spokesman ...

Dan Rather had a 13-minute report starting at 11:32 and CBS finally had pictures at 1:03 ...

ABC went on the air with Jed Duvall in Washington at 10:58, Peter Jennings reported at 11:30 and returned with first pictures of quake damage at 12:30 ...

Speaking of CNN, the Washington bureau has announced that Heidi Berenson, formerly of CBS' "Nightwatch," has joined CNN as senior producer for "Crossfire" (weeknights at 7:30 p.m.). She replaces Sol Levine, who becomes a general assignment producer in the CNN newsroom at the bureau ...

Also, Amy Gutman, most recently a free-lance writer at WTTG and a former press secretary to Sen. Mark Andrews (R-N.D.), joins CNN as a writer/producer ...

Deborah Marchini, CNN business news correspondent, moves from the New York bureau to Washington in the same position, covering regulatory agencies and government economic policy ...

And Bob Waller has been named a full-time producer at CNN ...

No We have no bananas, but we do have a teeny tiny correction of yesterday's story about the International Banana Association Inc.'s complaint against PBS for using a banana in an upcoming AIDS special in a demonstration on condom use. The PBS response came from Nancy H. Hendry, deputy general counsel of PBS, not PBS president Bruce Christensen, as Captain Airwaves reported. Thanks a bunch, Captain Airwaves...

Late yesterday, Christensen called a contrite Airwaves and generously assured him that the incorrect attribution didn't bother him a bit because Airwaves had quoted the PBS position completely accurately. Airwaves, nevertheless, has surrendered his WETA tote bag to authorities ...

Incidentally, Robert Forster, the second banana on ABC's sitcom "Once a Hero" (he plays Gumshoe, the private eye to hero Captain Justice -- no relation) is calling around to say that if the series doesn't get a 14 percent audience share tomorrow night ABC is going to give it the hook ...

Last week the 8 p.m. entry did a rock-bottom 3.7 Nielsen rating and a 7 share ...

"This one I gotta go to bat for," Forster telephoned one critic yesterday ...

And Finally The "moonshot" on NBC's "St. Elsewhere" Wednesday night with a 14.1 national Nielsen rating and a 24 share, won out barely over CBS' "The Equalizer" (14.0/24) but finished behind, as it were, ABC's "Dynasty," which scored a 15.2/26 between 10 and 11 p.m. ...