"Double Dare," the new syndicated kiddie kwiz show on Channel 5, arrived with a bang last week, averaging an 11.4 Nielsen rating and a 26 share over five afternoons in its premiere week, beating all the competition in the 5-to-5:30 time slot (each rating point represents 16,116 TV homes) ...

"Good Morning America" co-anchor Joan Lunden will be taking some time off starting the end of this week. Friday, she'll be replaced by GMA correspondent Hattie Kauffman, and all next week KABC news anchor Ann Martin will join Charles Gibson on the ABC show ...

Bruce Boxleitner -- surely you remember Scarecrow from CBS' "Scarecrow & Mrs. King"? -- will receive the Buffalo Bill Award at the 1988 Nebraskaland Days in North Platte, Neb., during this year's celebration June 18-26 ...

Because of scheduling problems with the candidates, the League of Women Voters has moved a live 90-minute debate among Republican presidential hopefuls in Nashville from Saturday at 5 p.m. to Sunday at 2 p.m. ...

The Democrats will follow on Sunday at 5 p.m. from Nashville, as previously scheduled by the League of Women Voters ...

Both debates will be seen on Channel 26 here as well as on the Cable News Network ...

Also in the News

Among the 105 stations that have now signed up for GTG Entertainment's "USA Today" show is WCBS, the network-owned flagship station in New York. The show has also landed network-owned stations in Los Angeles and Chicago ...

Now WCBS will have to decide whether to move "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" back to 6:30, where it would compete with "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" on WABC in that time slot ... leaving "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" all by its lonesome on WNBC at 7 p.m. next fall in New York ...

As we've reported before, the same quandary, more or less, is facing WUSA, the Gannett flagship station, here. Gannett owns "USA Today," a half-hour weeknight (and Saturday night) show that will showcase the next morning edition of the newspaper USA Today ...

Nine management, which can't move the very successful "Wheel of Fortune" around too freely because of contract restrictions, still insists that Gannett isn't calling the shots as to "USA Today's" placement between 7 and 8 p.m. or even at 11:30 p.m. ...

But as we've mentioned before, Nine, with an embarrassment of ratings riches, is in a real dilemma. "CBS Evening News" gets maybe its highest local affiliate rating in the whole country every night on WUSA. Can't you imagine the long faces at CBS News if Rather is moved to 6:30 and "USA Today" is at 7? ...

How will viewers then react to what amounts to a full hour -- some of it maybe redundant -- of national news programming on Nine every night? How will Nine's news staff react to the loss of a half hour, leaving NBC-owned Four with the only 6-to-7 newscast in the market? How would Gannett react if Nine put "USA Today" at 11:30? How would CBS react if Nine doesn't put Pat Sajak's new talk show in at 11:30 when it debuts next January because "USA Today" is already there? ...

There was a rumor out of Houston over the weekend at the National Association of Television Program Executives convention that Nine has already agreed to the 7 p.m. slot for "USA Today," but the last unofficial word we've had is that Nine's top management plans a "retreat" later this year (when the weather warms up a nearby golf course, if we had to hazard a guess) to hammer out a final decision in the matter ...

Amidst rumors that ABC didn't hit the 21.5 national Nielsen rating promised advertisers on the just-concluded Winter Olympics, here are some preliminary figures for the last weekend (final primetime results will be in today) ...

In the Friday national Nielsen ratings, ABC Games coverage averaged a 14.5 rating and a 25 percent audience share, CBS' regular lineup did a 14.5/24, while NBC's schedule did a 12.4/21 between 8 and 11 (each national ratings point represents 886,000 TV homes) ...

As we mentioned yesterday, Nielsen overnights in its 15 big markets on Saturday gave ABC a 30.0/46 between 7 and 11:15, compared with a 12.9/20 for NBC between 8 and 11 that night and a poor 5.7/9 for CBS in primetime (overnight ratings in big urban markets seldom match national numbers, however) ...

And on Sunday, for the 7-to-11 p.m. period, ABC Olympics coverage averaged a 20.4/31 in the Nielsen overnights, compared with CBS' 16.9/25 and NBC's 13.6/20 ...

In Nielsen's 15 big cities, anyway, Part I of "Bluegrass" on CBS faded in the backstretch Sunday during its two hours against the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics on ABC ...

During the last two hours Sunday night, ABC romped to a 23.3/34, while NBC's "Perry Mason: The Case of the Avenging Ace" came from far back in the pack to finish with 16 and four-fifths/25 as "Bluegrass" faded in the stretch to a 14.8/22 ...

Locally, "Bluegrass" on Nine (19.9/30) almost caught the Olympics (20.2/30) at the wire on Seven while Perry Mason on Four, closing fast to finish third, was clocked at 17.7/26 ...

Catching Up: The Disney folks are seeking youngsters who look like the original Mouseketeers for a movie about the start of "The Mickey Mouse Club" in 1955 ...

Producers are looking for kids who resemble Annette Funicello, Darlene Gillespie, Tommy Cole and all the other original Mouseketeers ...

Disney is visiting Dallas, New York, Chicago and L.A. for tryouts, but parents can also send their children's photos to Mouseketeer Casting, Disney Studios, 500 S. Buena Vista, Burbank, Calif. 91521 ...

Writers Guild

Out in Hollywood, TV and movie producers yesterday put a comprehensive offer on the table as the current three-year contract between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expired ...

Reports out of the West Coast were scant yesterday, but one insider told us the Alliance offer was not final and no deadline on a strike had apparently been set. If the 9,000-member Guild strikes, its initial impact would probably be on TV's daytime soap operas. Reportedly, most regular series have completed work for the current season, which ends in six weeks and would not be affected ...

The Alliance represents some 200 companies, including the major studios and the television networks ...

A major issue again this year is the residual payments to writers when one-hour TV series go into syndication after appearing on a network. Currently, such series are doing poorly in syndication as more and more stations seek half-hour sitcoms, which do better in the ratings. The producers would like to tie residuals to the profits and losses on a series ...

Another key issue is that of creative control. Screen writers want a continuing relationship with a project, including the absolute right for the author of an original screenplay to do all the rewriting of that script and for all scripts to revert to the writer if they have not been produced within three years ...

The Guild struck the industry in 1981 and 1985 ...

And Finally

Friends of Nelson Benton, the longtime CBS News correspondent who passed away recently at the age of 63, have set up a scholarship fund in broadcast journalism in his memory at the University of North Carolina, his alma mater ...

Anyone wishing to make a contribution can send it to:

Nelson Benton Memorial Fund

c/o Carolina Fund

P.O. Box 309

Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514

When Mr. Benton was in college (he graduated in 1949), he and three friends formed a jazz band, in which he played the drums. The others played trumpet, trombone and string bass. It was the beginning of lifelong friendships as well as a continuing source of fun for the four men ...

Only last New Year's Eve, the four met again to play a date on the North Carolina campus, for which they received $160 each ...

On Feb. 16, after Mr. Benton was laid to rest in a Danville, Va., cemetery, his three friends -- two retired college presidents and the dean of the music school at Chapel Hill -- gathered at the grave site and played a last chorus of "When the Saints Go Marching In" ...