The coveted Order of Murrow first class (with damp cluster) goes to New York-based CBS News senior production supervisor Joe Peterson ...

When it rained hard during Thursday's live broadcast of a late-night summit special, a leak developed in the roof of the special CBS News anchor booth erected for the summit on the Ellipse ...

Peterson climbed onto the roof and sat on the source of the leak until the conclusion of the telecast ...

The Maryland Public Television system raised a total of $439,138 from 8,818 new membership pledges during the 13-day fund-raising drive just ended. The goal had been $425,000 ...

On Nov. 28, an evening of Dr. Who and the Grand Ole Opry pulled in a grand old total of $51,000. The Bing Crosby specials alone attracted $13,000; "The Frugal Gourmet" accounted for a tasty $10,000; and the late-night "From the Blitzkrieg to the Bomb" percussed for $7,100 ...

That was the good news for public broadcasting last week ...On the Other Hand

A breakthrough proposal to finance public broadcasting through a tax on the sale of commercial stations was deleted by a vote of 66 to 28 late Thursday as the U.S. Senate deliberated over a bill to reduce the federal deficit ...

Public broadcasters had high, if unrealistic, hopes for the measure, which would have established a trust fund insuring an appropriation floor of $300 million and up annually starting in two years. But commercial broadcasters mounted a major campaign against the tax threat, reminding legislators that an election year was nigh. It's not just the money broadcasters can raise for potential opponents, it's the chance to appear on TV news shows back in the old home town next October that senators have to think about ...

Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.), author of the innovative revenue plan, was frank about its defeat as well as the death of another portion of the fiscal bill that commercial broadcasters disliked -- codification of the Fairness Doctrine ...

"If the local broadcaster calls," he told colleagues, "you are going to do him a favor. You are not worried about {President Reagan's opposition to the Fairness Doctrine codification}. You are worried about your own reelection. That is common sense ... We had unanimity, but the broadcasters are way more powerful" ...

Under the proposal, a license fee of 2 percent of the price of a station, cable system or satellite station would have been imposed at the time of a sale. If the seller had held the license for less than three years, another 2 percent would have been added -- a move to slow profit-making in the turnover of lucrative stations -- and an additional 1 percent could have been added if a station were found to have violated the Fairness Doctrine ...

Edward O. Fritts, president of the National Association of Broadcasters, said in a statement expressing pleasure over the Senate vote, "The many broadcasters who contacted their senators over the past seven weeks clearly presented effective arguments which the majority of senators, in the final analysis, agreed with" ...

He had praise for "the leadership" of Sens. John Danforth (R-Mo.), Bob Packwood (R-Ore.), Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.) when the money bill hit the floor, but expressed his regret that Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Hollings was on the opposite side in a "confrontation we did not seek and did not relish" ...

"We also expect to work with our public broadcasting colleagues to achieve the long-range and stable federal financing which public broadcasting deserves," Fritts added ...Now This

Channel 4 has gone back to the future in a bid to restore lagging ratings for its 5 p.m. news ...

The NBC-owned station has bought the rights to "Superior Court" and "People's Court" for next fall. The two syndicated courtroom shows will air from 4 to 5 p.m. weekdays on Four starting next September. That spot is currently held by two game shows, "Win, Lose or Draw" and "Hollywood Squares" ...

Currently the two courtroom shows are number one in the 10-to-11 a.m. weekday timeslot for Channel 7 ...

Back in January 1984, the last time WRC's 5 p.m. news was number one here, "People's Court" was the successful 4:30 p.m. lead-in ...

Getting a stronger early news lead-in was at the top of the agenda for new general manager Allan Horlick when he took over at Four earlier this month ...

Incidentally, WRC's "News Four Carolers" make their final appearance tonight -- at the Mazza Gallerie starting at 7:30 p.m. ...

Recently, a terminally ill child in Indianapolis talked with ALF on closed-circuit television before she died. And that's behind tonight's story line for the one-hour Christmas "ALF" special on NBC during which the alien learns the significance of the season when he makes a holiday visit to a hospital and meets with a young girl dying of leukemia ...

The kindhearted furred one is scheduled to visit the White House today when Mrs. Reagan hosts the annual diplomatic children's Christmas party ...

Social scientists Linda and Robert Lichter have compiled some interesting facts regarding coverage of the Big Buildup, starting Nov. 30 on ABC, NBC and CBS and running through the Four Days of the summit that ended Thursday, Dec. 10 ...

According to their research, ABC and CBS together ran 15 stories on anti-Soviet demonstrations during those 11 days. NBC, which landed that exclusive, one-on-one interview with General Secretary Gorbachev, failed to cover a single protest ...

During the 11 days, the networks ran 168 summit-related stories, accounting for over six hours of airtime and nearly 60 percent of the total newshole time available ...

Four out of five sources (79 to 21 percent) quoted on the networks gave positive assessments of Gorbachev while a slight majority (53 to 47 percent) portrayed Reagan in negative terms. CBS sources gave Gorbachev his highest marks -- 94 percent positive ...

And Soviet citizens and officials appeared 124 times, about 11 times a night. That included 44 appearances by Gorbachev. Reagan made 40 appearances in the same time period ...

The Lichters run the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization that conducts scientific studies of news stories. Complete reports of their surveys appear in the Center's monthly newsletter, Media Monitor ...

Cable News Network reports that during its marathon, four-day coverage of the summit last week, audiences were 71 percent higher than during a similar period in November ...

The biggest audience was for the 15 minutes between 8:45 and 9 p.m. Thursday when Gorbachev's departure was seen in 1.3 million TV homes (that's 175 percent over the usual audience size at that time). Actual cable universe numbers were a 3.0 rating and a 5 percent audience share ...

CNN also reports that on Tuesday, between 1 and 1:45 p.m. when the INF Treaty was signed, the cable news system picked up 300,000 homes while the three commercial networks lost 20 percent of their cable audience during the same 45 minutes (in Pinsk, that could be considered a meowski, TV Column fans) ...

Captain Airwaves dropped by yesterday to tell us that "L.A. Law" is now one of only two series he actually hates to see end every week. He said that doesn't mean he likes Harry Hamlin, however. "Susan Dey deserves someone with a spark of intelligence in his pretty face," according to Airwaves ...

His other favorite show, of course, is "Beauty and the Beast." Airwaves slipped us a note that Terrylene Theriot will play the part of a young deaf woman from the tunnel world who witnesses a murder on this Friday's episode. Theriot is a graduate of the Model Secondary School for the Deaf here. In March, she appeared in a "Cagney & Lacey" episode ...

By the by, Terry Louise Fisher, barred from her duties as co-creator and producer of "L.A. Law," has filed a $50 million breach of contract suit against co-creator Steven Bochco and 20th Century Fox Television ...

Fisher, a lawyer, said she filed the suit in a Los Angeles Superior Court last week because of personal conflicts with Bochco ...

She wants $50 million in punitive damages and an injunction to prevent Bochco and Fox from barring her from her job duties.