Now that sportscaster Glenn Brenner is safely back at work at Channel 9 after a one-night layoff following his brief tryoutas a music critic, TV Column fans should know that another major sportscaster in this market could be making news soon ...

George Michael over at Channel 4 is facing a problem. As NBC adjusts its work force following the end of the 17-week strike by National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, the status of six key members of Michael's "Sports Machine" staff is uncertain ...

The network announced early on that several hundred NABET employes would be dropped on their return to work -- in part because of long-range restructuring plans at NBC and in part because the long absence of NABET workers demonstrated many jobs were superfluous, according to cost-cutting executives ...

So far, 18 employes at WRC have been dropped since the strike ended, but the final decisions on further cuts haven't been made as union seniority lists come into play at the various units at the station ...

Michael learned recently that those seniority lists could cost him four editors and two cameramen. He brought all six to WRC in 1984 when then-general manager John Rohrbeck hired him and created the "Sports Machine," which now is seen on 102 stations around the country on Sunday nights ...

They are the technicians who make Michael's heavy use of tapes from all over the U.S. sports scene work so effectively. All six also work for WRC on other assignments. Their status will eventually depend on contract buy-outs, resignations or retirements that will also affect the final WRC union seniority count ...

"I'm very nervous," Michael confessed Friday. He has discussed the situation with Al Jerome, president of NBC's owned-stations division, as well as WRC officials ...

Michael didn't want to talk about the situation in detail Friday but expressed hope that things can be worked out favorably ...

According to folks close to Michael, his contract is up next May and he's had a long-standing offer from WCAU, the CBS-owned station in Philadelphia, a city he likes ...

Although he has said privately he does not want to leave WRC and the smooth-running sports operation he has put together, our sources say he has warned management he could walk if his team is broken up ...

"Sports Machine" is number one in most major markets where it airs late Sunday nights and Jerome reportedly doesn't want to throw that away, either ...

NBC Entertainment president Brandon Tartikoff suggests that the number one network's first cancellations of the season are imminent. He and other network executives are in Hawaii right now meeting with the affiliates board of governors and the announcement could follow soon thereafter ...

Tartikoff has already hinted that it will be "aloha" to "Private Eye" on the Friday schedule. And in a recent rundown of satisfactory new series performances, he somehow forgot to mention Tuesday night's "J.J. Starbuck" ...

Although NBC has won six of the first seven weeks of the new season, ABC has Tuesday and Wednesday under control while CBS dominates the Sunday and Friday night schedules. All three take turns on Monday. So despite the fact NBC owns Thursday and Saturday nights, TV Column fans might expect changes in the network's Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday lineups ...

Tartikoff, by the way, is experimenting with the lineup for Sunday, Nov. 29, following Thanksgiving (when holiday weekend viewership will be down). He'll air episodes of "Night Court," "Beverly Hills Buntz" and "Unsolved Mysteries" instead of the 9 to 11 Sunday movie ...

Also in the News

ABC, whose disillusionment with miniseries is well founded, didn't set any records with three nights of "Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story" last week. Still, the miniseries did improve slightly on the performance of its regular schedule on all three nights, at least compared with the previous two weeks ...

On Tuesday, the unhappy couple opened with an 18.6 national Neilsen rating and a 30 percent audience share, which compares favorably with the 16.8/29 the previous two Tuesdays from "Moonlighting" and "Thirtysomething." On Wednesday, Nap and Josie retreated to a 16.2/26, still up from the 13.8/23 for the regular 9 to 11 p.m. offerings over two weeks (each rating point represents 886,000 TV homes) ...

Nap and Josie finally met their Waterloo on Thursday when confronted by NBC's all-conquering lineup, and dropped to a 13.3/21 -- still better than the 9.8/15 for Thursday the previous two weeks ...

Thursday, by the way, that one-hour "Cosby" scored a 33.9/51, the best rating for any series on TV so far this season ...

Wednesday, the House telecommunications and finance subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), will hold a hearing on public broadcasting, billed as an overview of the industry as it marks its 20th anniversary, with a look at recommendations for what changes, if any, are needed to make it work better ...

The list of eight or nine witnesses is not complete yet, but Corporation for Public Broadcasting board chairman Howard Gutin is already penciled in. Station managers and independent producers are among those expected to be called ...

Last week, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) chaired a hearing of the Senate subcommittee on communications at which public broadcasters were exhorted to lobby strongly for a bill (part of a deficit reduction package) that would create a trust fund for public broadcasting that could yield a minimum of $300 million a year starting in fiscal year 1990 ...

Those funds would be provided by license transfer fees of from 2 to 5 percent levied on broadcasters every time a TV or radio station is sold. Broadcasters, to no one's surprise, strongly oppose the bill, which also includes an equally unpopular, to broadcasters, codification of the Fairness Doctrine ...

Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, author of the bill, warned public TVers last week of the strong lobbying effort by the commercial broadcasters and urged them to get get busy countering that campaign ...

If you want this legislation, you're going to have to work for it, Hollings told them, predicting that "if Jesse Jackson were president of public broadcasting for a day you'd have your money" ...

Who He? Dallas-based CBS correspondent Harry Smith has emerged as the front-runner to be named the male anchor on "CBS This Morning," the upcoming two-hour morning show, now that Canadian Broadcasting Corp. ace Peter Mansbridge has turned the job down ...

The female anchor, Kathleen Sullivan, formerly of ABC News, finally reports to work today. But the News division program faces a debut just two weeks away with her key co-anchor job still unfilled. Mansbridge, Smith, correspondent Charles Osgood and KCBS sportscaster Pat O'Brien all participated in a tryout last week from which Mansbridge emerged as the popular choice ...

Now here's some happy news from New York, where yesterday Julie Hoover, vice president, corporate projects, Capital Cities/ABC Inc., was married to Marvin Cohen, vice president of Decision Science Consortium Inc., a research and development firm in Falls Church ...

NBC's "Today" show will feature interviews this week with Barbra Streisand -- plugging her new movie, "Nuts" -- Wednesday through Friday. Gene Shalit will tape the conversation today ...

And Finally

This memo from the overworked staff of the Airwaves Clarification Division, which points out, with considerable justification, that:

"Hey, dummy! In your recent story about the good deal Steve Bochco signed with ABC, you should have made clear that ABC has only the initial broadcast rights to the 10 series Bochco has agreed to produce for the network over the next six years ...

"Syndication or any other rights were retained by Bochco" ...