REDONDO BEACH, CALIF. -- Kim LeMasters, president of CBS Entertainment for just three months, met the TV press here Thursday night to tick off more details of the network's primetime plans through the start of next season ...

Even the start of next season -- which would traditionally begin the third week of September -- will pose problems for the network this time around ...

NBC will start the Summer Olympics on Sept. 17, and before the dust has settled in Seoul the major league baseball playoffs and World Series will be on ABC and NBC to further muddle plans for introducing new series ...

LeMasters said no decision has been made about introducing the new CBS schedule in September but that he's already considering alternatives -- like a very early start or counterprogramming through the month with miniseries and other "stunting" with special programs ...

"It's not going to be a picnic in the park," he admitted. "Actually, it will be a picnic in the park with one large bear there" ...

LeMasters gave a quick run-through of current schedule problems, saying "we're okay" on Monday but still not sure "Frank's Place" belongs in the 8-to-9-p.m. time period ...

The Tuesday lineup awaits the performance of "48 Hours," which debuts tomorrow night, he said, and "Jake and the Fatman" has some promise, providing it has the right lead-in (oh-oh "48 Hours"). The addition of "Cagney & Lacey" to the lineup has already helped the night ...

Wednesday will have a big hole in it when "Magnum" goes bye-bye on Feb. 17 (with a two-hour finale probably set for May). Wednesday faces some alterations, he said ...

Thursday is somewhat of a disappointment, since "Tour of Duty" hasn't done all that well against "Cosby," although it delivers, to the delight of CBS ad salespersons, an improvement in the number of men 18 to 49 watching that night ...

Friday and Sunday are holding up and Saturday, once a disaster area, is now looking stronger with surprise help from "High Mountain Rangers" ...

LeMasters cited "High Mountain" as an example of the "real, blue-collar, workmanlike show" that perhaps audiences haven't had on CBS recently and that "the audiences want to see" ...

Earlier in the press conference he had suggested that this past season has been one in which "the networks are beginning to learn that not all programming has to be for the highbrow" -- a choice of words that got him entangled in one of those semantic debates that plague the TV press after they've been exposed to network executive doubletalk for two straight weeks out on the West Coast ...

The "highbrow" debate has cropped up periodically at all three networks on this press tour because NBC Entertainment president Brandon Tartikoff first gave a less than ringing endorsement to "dramedies," which all three networks are playing with this year -- to the delight of TV writers, most of whom criticize the commercial networks for not looking like PBS, most of which they never watch ...

Asked about "dramedies" -- like his own "Frank's Place" -- LeMasters said, "I think their rating performance is not yet as high as we would all like them to be. Do I think they're working as far as an attempt on television to do something different? Absolutely. But I don't think they should become the meat and potatoes." He then praised two non-dramedies, ABC's "Who's the Boss?" and NBC's "Golden Girls," as shows "the audience watches" ...

Later, he spelled out some of the new sitcoms headed for CBS, none of which sounds like a candidate for the Dramedy Muse'e ...

They include "The Dictator," which stars Christopher Lloyd as the deposed dictator of the island of Bando, who now runs a laundromat in Rego Park, in Queens ...

"Eisenhower and Lutz," an Allan Burns creation, stars Bud Lutz Jr., who, "after going to the Southeast School of Law and Acupuncture in Las Vegas, relocates to his home town in Palm Springs to open up his law office" and chooses the name Eisenhower to give the law firm a little class ...

Also new will be "First Impressions," about a very small advertising agency in Omaha, and "Trial and Error," which "features two Hispanics, one of whom is a lawyer, who sells T-shirts" (well, that's what he said) ...

"Blue Skies" -- a personal LeMasters favorite -- is about "a blended family" that has moved to Northern California, where the male lead becomes a woodwright working with his father -- "an examination of a life that's a little bit slower than the hectic, urban life many of us lead" ...

There is another show for Mary Tyler Moore in development. This time she will play a divorced lady with an 11-year-old child, who meets and eventually marries a man who has two children ... "It will be a very, very romantic comedy," LeMasters promised ...

Also in the works, at least two shows from Grant Tinker's GTG Entertainment: One tentatively titled "Encore," starring Dick Van Dyke and his son Barry, who operate a small dinner theater in the Northeast, where they fight a lot; and a GTG pilot called "The Johnsons Are Home," about which there were no details. CBS and Tinker are also talking about another two shows covering an hour and a half ...

Also coming back to the schedule are "The Cavanaughs" and "My Sister Sam" ...

LeMasters also said, "We're hot and heavy in negotiation" with Richard Chamberlain for a series, although it won't be a reprise of "Dr. Kildare" ...

For all the programs in development -- mostly sitcoms, obviously -- LeMasters discounted suggestions that a massive overhaul was due for the current CBS schedule, now battling with third-place ABC to stay out of the cellar this season ...

He added, "It is self-apparent that we cannot expect shows like 'Dallas,' 'Falcon Crest,' 'Knots Landing,' 'Newhart' -- or whatever are those shows that are going on plus-five years -- to last forever" ...

He said the bulk of the massive overhaul at CBS occurred last year ...

LeMasters said that Frank Sinatra finally decided not to do a "Magnum, P.I." episode and that "Cagney & Lacey" could be picked up for another season if the network wants it ...

LeMasters' State of the Network address came to a halt when he made the mistake of asking Robert Conrad, who was spotted in the rear of the posh Redondo Room of the posh Sheraton at Redondo Beach, to predict how his "High Mountain Rangers" series will do against ABC's "Dolly" on Saturday nights ...

The High Mountain Ranger rambled on -- oh, didn't he ramble ...

Sample Ramble: "Hey, Kim, give me a minute. Now, they asked me. I'm your only hit, babe. I mean, you, you picked the show. The other guy's not there anymore {he was referring to B. Donald (Bud) Grant, whom LeMasters replaced as Entertainment president}. And {CBS Inc. president Laurence} Tisch goes, how much money? We're talking dollars. And the other guy goes -- {CBS Broadcast Group president Gene} Jankowski says, I'm Polish, why am I still in the business? Anyway, I've got your hit, babe. So anyway, let me finish. Wait a minute" ...

At that point LeMasters grabbed the mike to say, "You know how on CBS News, they always say this is not necessarily the opinion of the CBS television network?" ...

But that didn't stop Conrad ... who finally did admit "Dolly" would "take maybe two, three share points away from us," and then proceeded with a murky appraisal of his NBC competition on Saturday nights ...

This time, LeMasters gestured to another CBS executive at the back of the room who pulled the plug on the High Mountain Ranger's microphone ...

Also in the News

A spokesman for the network in Burbank on Friday denied reports that NBC had turned off the life support systems for "St. Elsewhere," which would end a six-year run on the network this spring. Although the network is still talking to the producers at MTM about another year, he hinted that the story was substantially true ...

The Wednesday night staple has won 12 Emmys so far ...

And ABC has changed its mind about what new show will get the prized slot following its Jan. 30 telecast of the Super Bowl ...

"China Beach" was originally set but now the network will go with the pilot of the half-hour "The Wonder Years," about a 12-year-old boy entering junior high in 1968 ...

The network didn't want to gamble with a two-hour show that might not get on the air until well after 10 that night. No new date has been set for "China Beach's" debut yet ...

Last Wednesday night's live broadcast of "The One & Only 9 Awards for Community Service" on WUSA, hosted by anchors Gordon Peterson and J.C. Hayward from the Omni Shoreham Hotel, brought in a 10 rating and a 15 share (each local rating point represents 16,120 households)...