CBS' "Windmills of the Gods" concluded Tuesday night with a 17.4 national Nielsen rating and a 27 percent audience share. Each rating point represents 886,000 TV homes ...

During the same two hours, ABC's combination of "Moonlighting" and "thirtysomething" averaged a 17.2/26, while "Hunter" and "Crime Story" on NBC did a 12.2/19 ...

In all fairness to ABC (and God knows we try to be fair to the third-ranked network whenever possible), it must be reported that "Moonlighting," with a 19.5/28, performed best Tuesday night ...

Buena Vista Television (the Disney people) yesterday announced that its new syndicated weekday series, "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee," is a "firm 'go' " for next fall ...

The one-hour show, to be satellited daily from New York, will be hosted by Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford, who are already paired on "The Morning Show" airing in New York on WABC. Philbin is big in both New York and L.A., and the Buena Vista project has already been sold in about 70 markets ...

So? Well, one of the stations still considering purchase of the Philbin show is Channel 9 here. Nine won't talk about it yet (local stations dislike revealing autumnal syndication plans this early in the year), but the talk on The Street is that Nine will pick up Philbin as a backup for Paramount's one-hour "Daytime" show starring Joan Lunden, the "Good Morning America" co-anchor ...

The word on The Street in Los Angeles is that Paramount is having very little luck selling "Daytime" and that the project will be dropped, as gracefully as possible, with an announcement soon that Lunden has signed another contract with GMA ...

"Daytime" would reportedly replace "Donahue" at 9 a.m., as Phil moves to 10 a.m., in place of "Hour Magazine," which would go bye-byes. End of gossip (actually we ran out of Streets) ...

Channel 53 announced late yesterday it has landed tonight's Western Athletic Conference basketball game between Wyoming (17-4) and Brigham Young University (18-1), starting at 9:30 p.m. The game will be picked up in progress by sister station Channel 56 at 11 p.m. ...

WAC leader BYU is tied for 8th in this week's AP college basketball poll; Wyoming is ranked 18th ... Moving Slowly Along

Dare We Forget?: "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" won the weekly network race with a 12.2 Nielsen rating and a 21 percent audience share. "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" was close behind with an 11.9/20, while "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw" trailed at 10.7/18. Jennings et Cie. hadn't been that close to a first-place finish since last August. CBS has won all 20 weeks of the 1987-88 season, which is why a tasteful bust of the inventor of the Peoplemeter has replaced the phone booth in the lobby of CBS News in New York ...

Catching Up: Terry Louise Fisher, the lawyer who co-created NBC's "L.A. Law," has settled her $50 million suit against 20th Century Fox, the series producer. Under terms of the agreement, supervising producer Fisher will no longer be connected with the show. She received an unspecified money settlement ...

She had been fired from the series in early December by Steven Bochco, the series co-creator and executive producer (with whom Fisher also put together ABC's "Hooperman"), after she asked for more money and series control while negotiating a new contract with 20th Century Fox. Under the terms of the settlement, she's out of "Hooperman," too ...

Tonight's episode of "L.A. Law," which Fisher wrote and produced, will be the last she's connected with. The plotline has a typical Fisher touch as a woman lawyer sues a law firm that let her go because she's overweight ...

Win one, lose one, CBS: "Entertainment Tonight's" Mary Hart would play the head veterinarian of a zoo who's married to a cartoonist in "Wildlife," a possible sitcom for CBS ...

And Lee Majors, the $6 million cigar store Indian, will star in a drama series pilot for the network ...

A federal jury in New York Tuesday decided that conservative author Victor Lasky had failed to prove he was libeled by an ABC News documentary on the McCarthy era ...

The six-member jury deliberated less than five hours at federal court in Manhattan before deciding Lasky's case had failed one of the necessary tests to prove libel ...

Lasky, 70, sued ABC for $9 million, contending that the 1983 documentary, "The American Inquisition," defamed him and wrongly depicted him "as a McCarthyite who falsely accused a young college teacher of being a Communist and thereby of ruining her life" ...

Lasky also contended that ABC knew he never called the woman a Communist but broadcast the program anyway in "reckless disregard for the truth" ...

ABC contended the documentary did not accuse Lasky of anything and merely reported on events during the emotionally charged 1950s, when Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy launched his anticommunist campaign ...

The jury, while agreeing that the documentary defamed Lasky, decided that he failed to prove the program was false ...

After the program was broadcast in 1983, Lasky complained it had failed to present his "unequivocal denial" of calling the woman a Communist ...

The network took the unusual step of running a correction expressing regret at the omission but Lasky claimed that wasn't enough and sued in October 1985 ...

ABC News spokeswoman Carol Olwert said, "We are pleased with the jury's decision. It confirms our belief in the accuracy and fairness of the broadcast" ...

Lasky, who told reporters he didn't know if he would appeal the verdict, said, "It's very difficult to fight big media" ...

Local Ratingzzz The local Nielsen ratings book for January is in and, as usual, most stations have something, somewhere, to brag about ...

And, as usual, rival stations still think Nielsen favors Channel 9 in its sample ...

From top to bottom, by the way, the ratings show a drop in local viewership from January 1987, reflecting a national trend (and an expansion of cable opportunities in the suburbs here) ...

Keeping in mind that each local Nielsen rating point represents 16,116 homes, here we go, TV Column fans:

In the early morning, Mondays through Fridays: "Good Morning America" on Seven leads with a 5.4/22, while "Today" on Four and "CBS This Morning" tie for second at 4.6/18. A year ago, GMA was two points ahead of CBS in this time slot ...

At noon, M-F: Nine's news is 'way ahead with a 9.1/32, followed by Seven's news with 5.7/20 and "Super Password" on Four at 3.6/13. Nine is down two ratings points from a year ago ...

At 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, "Oprah Winfrey" on Nine is tops at 10.1/24, followed by Five's cartoons at 9.5/23; "Magnum, P.I." on Seven at 8.4/20; Four's two game shows at 5.3/13; and Twenty's cartoons, 2.4/6. Five is up three points, Nine is up two points, Four and Seven are both off two ...

From 5 to 6 p.m., M-F: Five's "Silver Spoons" and "Gimme a Break" lead with 11.7/23, followed by Nine's news at 11.4/23; Four's news at 8.4/17, neck and neck with Seven's news at 8.3/17; and an hour of "The Brady Bunch" on Twenty with 3.8/8. Five is up a point, Seven and Nine are off one, and Four shows no change ...

From 6 to 7 p.m., M-F: Nine's local news leads with 15.1/25, followed by Five's combo of "Three's Company" and "Too Close for Comfort," 11.3/18; Four's local news, 10.9/18; Seven's local news (until 6:30), 9.8/17; and WDCA's combo of "Diff'rent Strokes" and "Facts of Life," 4.3/7. Nine is up a point from last year, Four and Seven were steady ...

In the network news race, M-F: "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather" on Nine led, as usual, with a 14.6/23; "ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" on Seven at 6:30 was second with 11.3/19; while "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw," on Four at 7, trailed with 8.9/14. None showed a major change ...

In the late news, Mondays through Sundays: Four was the leader with 12.7/27, followed by Nine at 11.7/25 and Seven at 9.6/20. All three were off January 1987 very slightly ...

Four is particularly proud of this last triumph because ABC (Seven) is first-ranked in the 10:30 p.m. lead-in programming with a 13.3/24, followed by CBS (Nine) with 13.1/23, while NBC programming, the nationwide leader in primetime, on Four trails slightly at 12.7/23 ...

Not to worry, NBC. You're still tied for the lead in primetime in Washington with Seven, with 15/24. CBS on Nine trails slightly with 14/22 ...