CBS yesterday announced some fixes for a late-night schedule that was a disaster area since long before the "The Pat Sajak Show" staggered briefly into the spotlight a year ago ...

Starting July 23, the network will introduce "The Midnight Hour," described as a "showcase introducing unusual and original talents" for the 12:40 to 1:40 a.m. timeslot. Translation: more "comics" ...

Then, starting in mid-September and running through the end of the year, repeats of "Wiseguy" and the "new" "Mission Impossible" will air at 11:30 p.m. ...

In late October, the network will introduce a Norman Lear series called "Jody Gordon and the News" at 12:40 a.m. ...

In January -- if you're still with us -- CBS will premiere five first-run "highly styled action/adventure hours for the '90s" at 11:30. Titles are "Judgment Night," "Paris Steele," "Sweating Bullets," "Slick" and "Scene of the Crime." More about these breakthrough concepts on Monday, TV Column fans ...

After all, what's a Friday morning without some Nielsen ratingzzz? For instance, Night III of "Quantum Leap Week" on NBC Wednesday found the "Leap" rerun with a 10.3/20. The final episode of the season for "Equal Justice" on ABC did an 8.0/17. And that same hour, a special "48 Hours" on CBS about sex and censorship (with pitchers) won the timeslot with a 10.8/21. Of course it did. Each ratings point represents 921,000 TV homes ...

Sheila MacVicar, who has been with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. since 1977, most recently as co-host of CBC's "the fifth estate," has jumped to ABC News as a London correspondent. Her husband, CBC's chief news editor John Owen, is leaving the network to join her in London. It's expected he will rejoin CBC in some other assignment after getting the family, including 15-month-old daughter Tess, settled in ...

General Electric has renewed its sponsorship for "The McLaughlin Group" for a fifth year ...

NBC commentator John Chancellor, who had been on the road publicizing his new book, "Peril and Promise," experienced some back pains and Monday turned himself in to the doctors. A stress test revealed heart trouble. Wednesday Chancellor underwent double bypass surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. Yesterday he was listed in "guarded condition," a standard procedure during the first couple of days following open-heart surgery ...

Now This

Here's how viewers first learned of the contents of the long-awaited tape of the arrest of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry at the Vista Hotel on Jan. 18 ...

CBS News correspondent Rita Braver, two Washington Post reporters and one Associated Press reporter had been asked by the judge to be the news pool on the tape. Shortly before 2 p.m., as the tape was to be introduced as evidence in the trial, Braver followed a U.S. attorney's office press aide from the courtroom and was handed a copy of the FBI's composite tape ...

Braver, in turn, handed the tape to an ABC motorcycle courier ("I only had it about two seconds," said Braver), who then sped to the ABC News bureau on DeSales Street. The one-inch tape was relayed by ABC to the telephone company's switching center downtown, which transmitted it over the wires to about 20 subscribers, including the local TV stations, the networks, CONUS, BBC and others ...

Meanwhile at the bureau, newspaper reporters and others interested in obtaining copies of the tape had facilities available on the seventh floor to make their own recordings ...

The most newsworthy 10 minutes on the tape, showing the mayor's crack use and arrest, was the first segment made available. Later the entire hour and a half was made available, as well as a separate tape of the bathroom scenes, which were shot with another camera ...

At 2:02 p.m. Channel 4, alerted that the court has released the tape to Braver, goes on the air with excerpts of its own copy, from the mayor smoking the drug to his arrest. Four signs off at 2:47 ...

2:10 p.m. Channel 5 goes on the air for five minutes with an audio-only version of the crucial part of the tape as a graphic is displayed on the screen. Station presents a three-minute video excerpt from the tape at 2:46. Expletives are deleted from both broadcasts, suggesting Five had its own copy of tape beforehand (management refuses to comment, on advice of attorneys).

2:22 p.m. Channel 9 picks up ABC pool feed but because of profanities airs only the video as Bob Strickland narrates ...

2:34 p.m. Channel 7 goes on air with video and audio that includes many of the profanities. Seven interrupts tape before the arrest is shown for comments from Del Walters at the courthouse, returns to video starting with the arrest. Goes off air at 2:44 p.m.

2:34 p.m. Nine returns to air with its edited version with all profanities deleted (five minutes later news director Dave Pearce goes on air to explain deletions) ...

Stations repeatedly return to the tapes during the afternoon (except for Seven, which is carrying the Daytime Emmys) and all go heavy with the tapes once regular early evening newscasts begin. Five preempts regular movie at 8 for a two-hour news special that includes the entire 90 minutes of the tape ...

A Pro Retires

A private party tonight at the Rhapsody Restaurant, around the corner from the CBS News bureau here, will mark the end of the remarkable 42-year career at the network of correspondent Bob Pierpoint ...

He and his wife, Patricia, are moving to a new home on Bodega Bay, Calif., to be near three of their children (a fourth is in the hospital care business in Denver). California native Pierpoint, 65, expects to do "lots of fishing and lots of tennis," some freelance reporting on politics and the environment for old friends like John Hart of "World Monitor," maybe teach a little and do some traveling ...

We're talking here about a man who has seen a great deal of the world already His first assignment with the network was as special correspondent in Scandinavia and for two years, starting in 1951, he reported from Korea. He remained in the Far East as bureau chief in Tokyo until 1957, when he first went to the White House, where he remained for 23 years. For the past six years he has been the mainstay of CBS's "Sunday Morning" ...

Any regrets after so many years in the trenches? Well, yes, said Pierpoint yesterday. "To be perfectly honest, my biggest regret is leaving this town. We're going to miss this town. We raised our kids here. It's been wonderful, the center of the world ...

"And looking back at my career, I think now that a lot of the time I was too concerned with the surface of the news. Working at the White House, where the headlines and instantaneous hard news was so important, I wish I'd taken a step back, taken a different look at things ...

"But I've had a hell of a good time. I've been an eyewitness to history. The changes in the world in the past years have been mind-boggling" ...

The future of the news business has some troubling aspects for Pierpoint but he's sentimental about CBS News as departure time nears ...

"The company's been good to me," said Pierpoint. "I've had a wonderful time with a lot of fine colleagues within the business and outside it ...

"Sure CBS has changed in the last 40 years. The economics of the business have changed, the News division has changed from Ed Murrow to Dan Rather, not all of it necessarily for the better, not all of it bad. There's not as much depth as there was in the old days" ...

One of the reasons is the disappearance of the documentary "except for stories about sex or diets." Another he blames on the Reagan administration, which, he says, "did away with some of the requirements for local stations to be involved in public affairs. That's hurt the networks too" ...

Old Pierpoint pal Bob Schieffer yesterday said "I'll certainly miss him. He's one of the great guys" ...

Pierpoint has recorded a 25-minute farewell interview with Charles Kuralt for CBS Radio that will be heard over the next few days on stations like WTOP here. With Pierpoint's departure, Kuralt, who has been at CBS since 1957, becomes the longest continuous correspondent at the network. He, Schieffer, Rather, Bruce Morton and Mike Wallace are all that remain of the old guard on the air ...

You could probably just blame it on the summertime viewer drop (and NBC undoubtedly will) but the arrival of Joe Garagiola, Faith Daniels and Katie Couric on the "Today" show two weeks ago hasn't turned anything around yet. As a matter of fact ratingzzz for "Today" slipped back to a 3.1/16 last week, once again tying that August 1983 low recorded a few times earlier this spring by the show (including the last two weeks before Garagiola and Daniels got there) ...

ABC's "Good Morning America," meanwhile, was winning for the 25th week in a row with a 4.0/21 and "CBS This Morning" was falling to a 2.1/11, its lowest since last October ...