But first, this bulletin: Captain Midnight will return to TV in a series of ads introducing "Classic Ovaltine" early next month. A Secret Squadron spokesman reports that interest in Captain Midnight, off the air since the 1950s, zoomed after Lt. Col. Oliver North dropped his name during last summer's Iran-contra hearings on the Hill ...

Captain Airwaves, of course, salutes Captain Midnight ...

The Washington Redskins continue to be a TV draw. Despite lovely fall weather outside and a lot of strangers inside Skins uniforms, Sunday's game on Channel 9 drew a 34.0 Nielsen rating and a 69 percent audience share between 1 and 4:20 p.m. (each rating point represents 15,800 TV homes locally) ...

By comparison, with Real Redskins on the field, the first Washington game of the NFL season Sept. 13 on Nine did a 40.0/76 and game two on the 20th did a 36.0/69 ...

CBS Sports said the Washington numbers were tops among the overnight major market figures. Dallas viewers racked up a 33.8 local Nielsen rating for the Cowboys-Jets game later in the afternoon ...

CBS Sports also reported that 12 major markets gave the first game Sunday a respectable 15.7 Nielsen rating on average, down just 10 percent from the 17.5 rating two weeks ago. The second game, however, fell to a 12.6 in nine markets, down 36 percent from two weeks ago ...

Meanwhile, NBC-owned Channel 4 attracted an 11.4/22 for the late Miami-Seattle NFL game ...

But that season-ending American League East game on ABC for the whole shooting match between Detroit and Toronto on Channel 7 could only come up with a 5.9/12 ...

Also in the News

A major drop in donations has forced the Rev. Jerry Falwell to pull his "Old-Time Gospel Hour" program off nearly 50 TV stations ...

So far neither Channel 20 nor Channel 50, which carry the "Old-Time Gospel Hour" here, has been affected by the cutback ...

Falwell spokesman Mark DeMoss said yesterday "there's an understandably negative feeling that is toward Christian television and all television ministries or most television ministries" ...

Apparently referring to the publicity over the PTL scandal this year, DeMoss called the donation drop "the unfortunate result of one tragedy" ...

DeMoss said the program has received $5.3 million less in donations from TV viewers over the past six months, since the PTL scandal broke ...

More of the 340 stations still airing the "Old-Time Gospel Hour" nationwide could be cut in coming days, DeMoss said, but ministry officials in Lynchburg, Va., hope to avoid layoffs ...

Channel 20 said yesterday it is still scheduling the program at 9 p.m. Sundays. Channel 50 carries the program at 9 a.m. Sundays ...

Falwell became chairman of the PTL ministry, based in Fort Mill, S.C., after evangelist Jim Bakker resigned, admitting to adultery more than six years before with a church secretary, Jessica Hahn ...

DeMoss said the drop in funding to the "Old-Time Gospel Hour" makes Falwell even more eager to bail out of the PTL, and he may do so before the end of the year if he can find someone to replace him ...

DeMoss said Falwell "knew from the beginning and said it would be unrealistic to think he could remain in that role forever without negatively affecting his Lynchburg ministry" ...

DeMoss said the $5.3 million loss was offset by funding increases from other parts of Falwell's religious empire, including tuition increases at the 8,000-student Liberty University. He added that Falwell hopes the damage from the PTL scandal will be temporary ...

Coincidentally, the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee holds hearings this morning starting at 9:30 on "television evangelists," which will air live on C-SPAN ...

Chairman J.J. Pickle (D-Tex.) is looking into the tax-exempt status of all television ministries. Among this morning's witnesses are the Rev. Falwell, the Rev. Oral Roberts, a representative of the National Association of Religious Broadcasters, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department ...

The Soviet Union, which had first refused him a visa, yesterday gave Ron Reagan, special correspondent for ABC's "Good Morning America," permission to visit ...

The president's son immediately left for the U.S.S.R., where he plans to film a five-part series, visiting Moscow, Leningrad and Pskov, during which he will profile students at Moscow University, a cosmonaut and a ballerina from the Kirov Ballet for broadcast on the morning program ...

The two-hour debut of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" on Channel 20 Saturday night turned out very well for the independent, finishing second in this market only behind the blockbuster NBC lineup on WRC between 8 and 10 p.m. ...

Its success reflected earlier reports of popularity for the new series in other major markets around the country, as it averaged a 9 Nielsen rating and a 17 percent audience share here for the two hours ...

WRC programming averaged a 33 share during the same two hours, compared with a 13 share for WUSA (CBS) programming; a 9 for WTTG (Fox), a 4.5 for WJLA (ABC) ...

In a repeat on Sunday, WDCA did a 4.6/8 ...

WDCA will air "Star Trek: The Next Generation" at 6 p.m. Saturdays on a regular basis starting this weekend, repeating it at 9:30 a.m. Sundays ...

As talks resume tomorrow here between NBC and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, dissident members of Local 31 here yesterday turned in a petition to union leadership containing the names of 155 out of the 268 NABET members affected by the strike against the network, now in its 15th week ...

They seek to have the union submit NBC's latest contract proposal to a membership vote, which the leadership has so far refused to do ...

The union dissidents, who claim they want to work within the union to get the strike ended, may hold a press conference soon to get their side of the issues aired. Similar actions by the New York NABET local are also in the works. There is even talk of a recall action against union leaders by some ...

Some 2,800 employes of NBC, including camerapersons and writers, have been on picket lines since June 29 ...

One light note: that poor weather Saturday claimed a large cardboard cutout of Bob Hope that's been used on the NABET picket line at Channel 4 ...

Bob, brandishing a NABET strike card where his Made in the USA label was usually displayed, came apart in the rain and wound up in the bushes ...

CBS' "Beauty and the Beast" won its 8 p.m. timeslot Friday in the national Nielsens. An Airwaves favorite, the Beast not only likes Beethoven, he's solved travel on New York subways. He rides on top of the cars ...

Channel 50 will return the "20 Minute Workout" to 6:30 a.m. weekdays starting Oct. 19 ...