The first week of the new/old look on "Today" may have snapped the NBC show out of a near-record slump but it didn't have fans lining up at the Nielsen box office in particularly greater numbers ...

(Alert TV Column fans have probably already detected the baseball mode we've adopted to mark catcher Joe Garagiola's return to the show.) ...

For the week ending June 15, ABC's "Good Morning America" batted 4.0 with a 21 percent audience share, compared with a 3.3/17 for "Today" and a 2.3/11 for "CBS This Morning" ...

Each at-bat (er, national Nielsen ratings point) represents 921,000 dugouts (er, TV homes) ...

The debuts of Garagiola as a third anchor and Faith Daniels as the news anchor apparently accounted for a two-tenths of a ratings point increase (i.e., about 184,000 homes) in the "Today" audience from the 3.1s registered the previous two weeks -- the show's lowest since August 1983 ...

Still looking at the stats, so far in the second quarter of 1990, GMA has averaged a 4.3/21, "Today" a 3.3/16 and CBS a 2.4/12 ...

You will not be surprised to learn that GMA won the morning race for the 24th week in a row ...

Nor will you be surprised to learn that ABC Entertainment announced yesterday that GMA cohost Joan Lunden has signed another five-year contract with the show for a salary estimated to be well over $1.5 million a year ...

Lunden, 39, first joined GMA in 1976 as a part-time reporter/anchor, became a full-time staffer in February 1980 as a feature reporter/fill-in anchor and became a permanent cohost with David Hartman in August of that year ...

She and Charlie Gibson have been teamed since February 1987 ...

Peter Jennings, one of the few national broadcasters to evince continuing on-air interest in the AIDS epidemic (NBC's Brian Ross is another), has extended the stay of "ABC World News Tonight" in San Francisco -- where he's been covering the international conference on AIDS since Wednesday -- for an additional evening, through tonight's broadcast ...

Jennings's "AIDS Quarterly" specials have been a feature on PBS for some time now. He's been moved by what he's seen at the current conference and suggested the stay-over so at least two more segments from the international meeting could air tonight ...

Incidentally, Bunn Communications International Inc. of Fort Myers, Fla., this week is producing a "Daily Conference Report" for the AIDS conference sponsor, the University of California at San Francisco ...

The four daily one-hour news and information programs are being satellited to audiences in Africa, South America, Asia, Europe and North America, and are available, via cable, in some 9,000 conference hotel rooms in the Bay Area ...

The programs, in English, French and Spanish, have a potential audience of 3 billion worldwide ...

There were few original shows on the networks Wednesday night as NBC won the evening. The second episode of that network's "Singer & Sons" averaged an 8.1/15 at 9 ...

ABC's "Brewster Place" did an 8.4/15 at 9:30, while an original "Equal Justice" averaged a 9.9/19 at 10 ...

At CBS, which averaged only a 6.9/13 for the night, "Normal Life" at 8:30 did a 4.8/9, while the comedy-drama pilot "Sporting Chance," starring Bruce Boxleitner, at 10 did a 6.8/13 ...

With that kind of competition, it's no wonder that locally Channel 5 cleaned up with its "World's Greatest Stunts" special from 8 to 10 here, averaging a 15.0/26 ...

That propelled Five's 10 o'clock news to an 11.9/22. On the other hand, Four's news at 11 did a 9.2/21, Seven's news a 6.3/15 and Nine's news a 5.4/12! Each local ratings point represents 17,278 TV homes ...

Lest Gordon and Maureen despair, however, they should know that "Siegfried" on Channel 26 averaged only a 1.5/3 between 8 and 12:20 a.m. The third Wagner "Ring" opera drew a 2.9/6 in the first half-hour and then Das Ratingz, as they say in Bayreuth, plotzt ...

Mandela Coverage

The three-day visit of South African leader Nelson Mandela to the nation's capital starting Sunday will undoubtedly receive more local coverage than even the recent Bush-Gorbachev summit here ...

Since the stations are already burdened with full daily coverage of the drug and perjury trial of Mayor Marion Barry, resources at all affiliates will be strained ...

Coverage by the four-network pool (being run by NBC) accompanying Mr. Mandela throughout his visit to the United States will be seen mostly on network newscasts, including the morning programs ...

Mr. Mandela's final schedule in Washington was still being refined as of late yesterday, and will be announced today. As a result, some major coverage decisions were still pending ...

However, as of yesterday, both CBS and Cable News Network are definitely going to have live coverage of Mr. Mandela's appearance before a joint meeting of Congress at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. NBC and ABC are still undecided ...

CNN also will have live coverage Monday of the White House ceremony in the morning and Mr. Mandela's visits that afternoon to the State Department and AFL-CIO headquarters ...

The scheduling uncertainty, by the way, is why local viewers have so far not seen the kind of on-air promotion one might expect of upcoming coverage of such a historic visit ...

Here is a rundown of what each station expects to do, as of yesterday, subject to the usual secretiveness of tough competitors who don't want to reveal every card they're holding this early in the high-stakes audience game. As one news director put it, "We're prepared to blow out any scheduled programming if the event warrants" ...

At Channel 4, news director Kris Ostrowski says anchor Susan Kidd, who has been following Mandela in New York, will continue to be a principal reporter during the Washington stay. No time has been set for Mr. Mandela's arrival in Washington on Sunday but the station expects to have live coverage of the event. "At a minimum," says Ostrowski, "we'll be breaking into regularly scheduled programming with coverage of some of the events live." There's a good chance that Four will also break into the NBC schedule on Tuesday night for an hour of Mr. Mandela's address at the Washington Convention Center rally (already the originally scheduled time for his speech has moved from 8 to 9 that evening) ...

At Channel 5, news director Kim Montour said yesterday that outside of extensive coverage during regular newscasts (including the early morning "Fox Morning News," which debuts Monday at 6:30), Five plans live coverage of the White House ceremony at 11 a.m. on Monday and the address before Congress. Five is not planning live coverage of the Tuesday night rally address ...

Montour said Five will have several crews assigned to the story that will provide extensive interviews of participants in the events with Mr. Mandela during his stay ...

Channel 7 has assigned five reporters and 10 crews for coverage of the visit and will have live coverage during every regular newscast. Anchor Renee Poussaint -- who has been covering Mr. Mandela in New York (she accompanied him on his surprise walk from Gracie Mansion early yesterday morning) -- has been named a co-emcee of the Tuesday night rally at the Convention Center ...

Channel 9's J.C. Hayward, who has been in New York, will also travel to Boston for the apartheid foe's visit there before returning to Washington with the press party on Sunday ...

Nine, with its noon news and three full hours of early evening local news, will have time for maximum coverage of events during the three days. On Monday, for instance, Nine will cover live Mr. Mandela's visit to The Washington Post (across 15th Street from his Madison Hotel headquarters), cutting into "CBS This Morning," while also providing Metro Traffic reports on any problems that may tie up downtown. Noon news will have extensive coverage of the White House ceremonies, the visit that afternoon to the State Department and a meeting with AFL-CIO leaders that follows ...

WUSA executive editor Pat Casey said "Eyewitness News" will "have all hands on deck," including four reporters, all the major anchors, six photographers and three producers -- "at least 20 people in all" -- during the Mandela visit ...

Channel 26 will carry the speech before Congress live at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. That same night a "Washington Week in Review Headline Special," called "Headline: Mandela," will look at the significance of the visit ...

At Channel 32, there were no plans for live coverage as of yesterday. But a spokesman said a meeting is scheduled Monday by the news department to review possibilities ...