NBC viewers had it right Tuesday night when some 223,000 viewers from around the country paid 50 cents to call in their choice of a killer on "Matlock" during seven minutes of the telecast ...

In the Eastern and Central time zones, 41 percent of the voters correctly picked Jane Barnes (played by Beth Broderick) as the murderer of a cheap TV huckster ...

Stephen Spector, another suspect, played by James A. Watson Jr., got 32 percent of the vote, while Don Ridgely, the poor innocent accused of the crime, drew 21 percent ...

NBC promised the phone proceeds will go to charity ...

Dave Sweeney, the former Channel 7 weathercaster, started work this week at KUSA-TV, the Gannett-owned ABC affiliate in Denver ...

He replaced one of Denver's TV fixtures, a weatherman named Stormy Rottman, who retired after 19 years at the station ...

Denver greeted him with a 4-to-8-inch snowfall for his Monday night debut. He does the 5 and 10 p.m. weeknight newscasts at KUSA (a sister station to WUSA here, of course) ...

Sweeney's contract is for three years, with two guaranteed. Yesterday, he said he still misses Washington and hinted (again) that in a few years he'd like to return to this market (Hi, Gordon!) ...

The Winter Olympics on ABC skated all over network coverage of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night as ABC averaged a 25.5 national Nielsen rating and a 39 percent audience share between 8 and 11 (see Olympics story below) ...

First to be iced was CBS News' "48 Hours," which dealt with the New Hampshire races and included up-to-date results available between 8 and 9 p.m. delivered by anchor Dan Rather ...

"48 Hours" did a dismal 5.1/8. Later, an excellent NBC News hour on primary results and an analysis, anchored by Tom Brokaw at 10, could do no better than a 5.4/9, as the Games on ABC averaged a 28.6/46 during that hour and "Cagney & Lacey" on CBS averaged an 11.9/19 (each rating point represents 886,000 TV homes) ...

By the way, wasn't that a dainty little gavotte that Dan Rather and Vice President George Bush danced through later that evening on the CBS News half-hour election wrap-up? ...

NBC has scheduled a two-hour movie, "To Heal a Nation," for sometime in May (like February, a ratings "sweeps" month). It's the story of Jan Scruggs, the Vietnam veteran who inspired the movement to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial here. Scruggs will be played by Eric Roberts ...

The movie will mark the return of the GE Theater presentations to TV. Regular presentations of "GE Theater" appeared on CBS between 1953 and 1962. Host for the series between 1954 and 1962 was actor Ronald Reagan ...

General Electric, of course, now owns NBC, which undoubtedly explains the return of GE Theater to a network -- this time NBC ...

NBC is also threatening us in May with a TV movie called "The Incredible Hulk Returns," starring the original Hulks, Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno ...

Bill, you'll recall, was a mild-mannered scientist who, after an experiment went wrong -- very wrong, in Captain Airwaves' opinion -- would turn green once a week, pop his shirt buttons, and become nasty-tempered giant Lou ...

"The Incredible Hulk" ran for several seasons on CBS, starting in 1978 ...

To leave the TV Movie Scene on a considerably higher note, CBS plans a two-hour sequel to "Escape from Sobibor," last year's widely praised three-hour movie based on the true story about the only successful escape from a Nazi concentration camp ...

The sequel will focus on prison leader Leon, who was played by Alan Arkin in the original movie, and his life in Poland after the escape. Casting choices have not been announced ...

On Monday we revealed a trend to "live action" TV features for children (who apparently are tiring of hard-hitting afternoon cartoons). Yesterday Channel 5 announced that next Monday it will unveil a syndicated kids quiz show, called "Double Dare," which has been on the Nickelodeon cable channels since October 1986 (Five's daily "Double Dare" will be all-new episodes not seen on Nickelodeon, by the way) ...

The educational quiz, which is taped in Los Angeles, features two teams of youngsters who take turns answering academic questions ...

When one team draws a blank, it "dares" the other to come up with the right answer. If the second team fails, it "double dares" the other to a "physical" matchup (smashing eggs on the others' heads was the "typical" example Five gave us yesterday, but we're hoping they're wrong) ...

"Double Dare" debuts at 5 p.m. Monday, replacing "Gimme a Break," which moves to 5:30 p.m., replacing "Silver Spoons," which is going to take a rest after a full year on the air ...

The Olympics ABC's coverage of the Winter Olympics finally paid off Tuesday night as the three-hour primetime coverage -- featuring figure skating pairs competition and the men's combined slalom ski races -- averaged a very strong 25.5 national Nielsen rating and a 39 percent audience share ...

ABC said the total number of TV homes delivered, 22.59 million, was the highest ever for a Winter Olympics night, beating the 22.05 million homes that watched the Feb. 23, 1980, hockey final between the gold medal-winning U.S.A. team against the Soviets in Lake Placid ...

Network researchers also estimated that that 83 million viewers saw all or part of the Tuesday night coverage, but wouldn't hazard a guess if that, too, was a record ...

Figure filberts will be entranced to learn that ABC research estimates an average audience of 2.2 persons per TV set for the Games, which still figures out to a nice 49.5 million steady viewers for Tuesday's action ...

Researchers come up with those more mundane but solid figures because they are aware that an advertiser would not be remiss in thinking a lot of those "83 million" viewers peeking in for maybe just a minute may have missed his particular commercial ...

The Games Tuesday night wiped out NBC, which had a 12.4/19 for the night and CBS, at 8.9/14 ...

ABC had promised big advertisers (who are paying between $255,000 to $300,000 per 30-second spot) an average 21.5 primetime Nielsen rating for the Feb. 13-28 run of the Games ...

But after the first three nights (including the slow, if colorful, ceremonial opener on Saturday) the Games had averaged only a 15.8/24 (or a healthier 18.9/28 if you count only the two event nights, Sunday and Monday) ...

Tuesday's good results thus raised the overall average to 18.6/28, or a ballpark 21.1/32 average for the three nights of events ...

We promise not to do this again for a few days, TV Column fans, but we should also point out that the Games are getting a better reception in Nielsen's 15 major markets, which were averaging a 20.1/31 after four nights, and a very strong 25.0/35 for the three event nights, than in the Nation at Large ...

Locally, Channel 7 has averaged an 18.7/28 in the Nielsen count for the four nights, a 21.8/32 for the three event nights, very close to the national averages but below the 15-city average (each local rating point represents 16,116 TV homes)...