REDONDO BEACH, CALIF. -- CBS Entertainment, buoyed by the initial success of recent fixes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights, is mulling long-range strategies designed to end its unseemly battle with ABC to see who finishes second behind NBC ...

Once the Comedy King of TV, the Tarnished Tiffany of the networks hopes to put together a block of four situation comedies in the Tuesday or Wednesday night schedule -- as soon as CBS can find four sitcoms worth gambling with ...

That sitcom block is part of a plan to put Entertainment back into the CBS Entertainment schedule for general audiences, which obviously appreciate the fine points of shows like "Frank's Place," "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Equalizer," but are sometimes asked to work a little too hard to enjoy them ...

One of the potential entries for CBS' expanded sitcom lineup is a project involving the Brothers Smothers ...

They were at the TV press tour in Redondo Beach Wednesday night to plug their upcoming CBS special, "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 20th Reunion" ...

Their producer, Ken Kragen, revealed he had been talking to CBS Entertainment president Kim LeMasters about Tom and Dick's return to the network that fired them in 1969 for being a little "political" during a period when CBS affiliates around the country were offended daily by what they saw going on in the parks across the street from their stations ...

The Brothers Smothers have enjoyed something of a boom lately, especially after Magnavox chose them for a series of commercials.

Despite prodding from the TV Critics Assembled, neither Brother would say he still carries any resentment toward the network ... (surprise, surprise) ...

Tom Smothers even called Bob Wood, the then-CBS network president who fired them, "a very nice man" and both agreed that current management "gave us no boundaries" on the content of the special, which airs Feb. 3, but assured us it's "no reunion of radicals" ...

Confirming what C. Airwaves had secretly suspected for some time, Tom confessed that "our overview of the world is not very profound" ... To his credit, however, Airwaves rejected a suggestion to call the evening "Hands Across the Sheraton at Redondo Beach" ...

Kragen said other networks are also interested in the Brothers ...

Meanwhile

There are Other Forces at work that could bring about major changes in CBS' venerable soap operas, "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest" -- perhaps by next fall ...

Although both are blockbusters in foreign TV markets, domestic sales of the series as reruns are faltering -- reflecting the general apathy by jaded U.S. viewers toward continuing stories. Meanwhile, the plot lines are getting sillier and more difficult to follow and salaries for the too-large casts are out of hand ...

One solution would be to make each episode a complete story that stands by itself in three acts with fewer characters. Single episodes could make sales of the syndication packages easier in the U.S. and probably save beaucoup in salary costs ...

Lorimar, which produces both series, reportedly is considering the idea even as we type. "Knots Landing," the other major CBS soap, would not be affected by the strategy, according to our sources ...

Should CBS and Lorimar make such a switch, it could mark the end of a Significant Era after some 250 continuing episodes of J.R. and his pals ...

Last season, "Dallas" ranked 11th among 104 primetime series shown on all three networks. "Falcon Crest" was 24th and "Knots Landing" tied for 28th ...

This season so far, "Dallas" is 24th, "Knots Landing" is 31st and "Falcon Crest" is tied for 33rd ...

"Beauty and the Beast," which was aimed at children but has attracted big adult audiences, will probably move out of its 8 p.m. Friday timeslot to a later hour ...

Incidentally, since CBS changed Saturday night's lineup it has averaged a 12.2 Nielsen rating, compared with a previous season-to-date average of 6.7 ...

Thursday has jumped from 12.5 to 15.0, and between 9 and 11 p.m. on Tuesday, with the help of "Cagney & Lacey," the average has gone from 11.8 to 13.6 (each rating point represents 886,000 TV homes) ...

Moving Right Along

"USA Today" has signed ABC White House correspondent Kenneth Walker, NBC Sports (and "Sunday Today's") Bill Macatee and "Today" free-lancer Robin Young ... as three of its four-anchor team. Negotiations reportedly continue with ex-"West 57th" star Jane Wallace for the fourth and last spot ...

The syndicated show debuts next fall and will be seen on Channel 9 in Washington ...

Proving once again that even the lousiest weather can be beneficial for somebody (a view widely held in the sidewalk shoveling trade), snowbound viewers gave NBC's "Today" show a 5.7 Nielsen rating and a 25 percent audience share for the week ending Jan. 8, that show's highest number since last March.

ABC's "Good Morning America" did a so-so 4.4/19, but "CBS This Morning" registered a 2.9/13, the highest rating in the early morning timeslot for CBS since Jan. 30 of last year, when "The Morning Program" was only three weeks old ...

John Ambrose Walsh, former managing editor of U.S. News & World Report and a recent consultant to CBS Sports' "NFL Today," has been named managing editor for information programming at ESPN, the Bristol, Conn.-based sports cable network ...

Among other duties, he'll be in charge of ESPN's flagship "SportsCenter" show, which airs three times each weekday and four times daily on weekends ...

ABC News tonight is throwing a wingding for William Lord, who is retiring as executive producer of "ABC World News Tonight," well, tonight ...

The big bash will be held in the Rooftop Room of the St. Moritz Hotel, overlooking snowy Central Park. ABC News president Roone Arledge, who's also in charge of the network's Winter Olympics in snowy Calgary, is flying down from the Canadian city for the bash ...

Lord, who has been vacationing, will sit down with Arledge soon about his next assignment. His replacement on WNT, Paul Friedman, takes over Monday ...

Jon Miller, 31, has been named vice president for program planning and development at NBC Sports. The Woodrow Wilson High grad replaces Sean McManus (son of ABC's Jim McKay), who has joined Trans World International, a sports marketing group ...

Speaking of ABC, as we were, ABC News yesterday announced that Brian Rooney (son of CBS' Andy Rooney) will join the Los Angeles bureau as a general assignment correspondent as of Monday. He's been at WBBM, the CBS-owned station in Chicago ...

Also joining ABC News in L.A. will be Bonnie Strauss, formerly of "Good Morning America," who becomes a general assignment reporter on Feb. 1.

And Charles Thomas, formerly of WTAF in Philadelphia, joins the ABC News bureau in St. Louis on Monday ...