Local stations, obviously intent on stability in what has become a most competitive news market in recent years, have been busy renewing contracts with their major talents ...

Channel 4 on Friday signed co-anchor Jim Vance, a 20-year veteran of WRC, for another four years. Entertainment reporter Arch Campbell was renewed for three more years, with an option for another two years if both sides agree ...

And Channel 9 yesterday signed sportscaster Glenn Brenner for another five years ...

The renewal of Vance underscores the success of NBC-owned Four in recent months. He and co-anchor Doreen Gentzler are currently number one in the ratings at both 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. in a market once dominated by Channel 9 ...

Details of Vance's new contract were unavailable (the veteran anchor has always guarded his privacy as much as possible) but he is believed to be taking home at least $400,000 annually, with a package worth considerably more overall ...

Richard Leibner, agent for both Vance and Campbell, was unavailable for comment yesterday ...

"Whatever we pay Jim, he's still underpaid," news director Kris Ostrowski said yesterday. "We're delighted that both Jim and Arch have agreed to stay" ...

Vance made a couple of headlines himself this year, for a day fishing the Potomac with President Bush and for his controversial meeting with Mayor Marion Barry after the latter's arrest on drug charges ...

Moving Right Along

The re-signing of Brenner yesterday to a new five-year contract at Channel 9 ended speculation (and wishful thinking at rival stations) that he might be headed for New York or Chicago or Los Angeles when his current pact expires in December ...

The promise of a new weekly half-hour program at Nine that will showcase Brenner's comedic talents in a format still to be decided was apparently the clincher for the re-signing ...

Informed sources indicate he will take home more than $500,000 a year, part of a package that could be worth nearly $1 million annually, including salaries deferred beyond the age of 60, college costs for his children, insurance and other amenities ...

Not bad for a 42-year-old who arrived at Nine from Philadelphia 14 years ago as a weekend sportscaster making $28,000 a year ...

The signing buoyed Gannett-owned WUSA, which in the past two years has seen its longtime dominance of local news eroded and finally ended in late night by Channel 4, and challenged in the early evenings by both Four and Seven in what is now a daily dogfight ...

WUSA president and general manager Hank Yaggi said yesterday: "We're absolutely delighted that Glenn will be with us in the future. We look forward to seeing Glenn, after the first of the year, in a new half-hour program done on a weekly basis that will further showcase his incredible comedic talents" ...

Brenner is especially important to the mix at Nine because sportscasters get unusual attention in this market due to the unique effect of the Washington Redskins on local news for at least six months of each year -- a special impact at WUSA, the CBS affiliate that carries the bulk of the Redskins schedule, sometimes achieving audience shares of nearly 70 percent ...

According to local surveys, Brenner's humor is especially attractive to women, while his chief sportscasting rival, Channel 4's George Michael, has a slight edge with the male audience. Even with Brenner's new contract, Michael reportedly still makes a little more in annual salary, largely because of the syndication of his "Sports Machine" on Sunday. Regardless, both men are among the very highest paid sportscasters in the country ...

A study of Nielsen audience trends in the Washington market, nevertheless, indicates both Brenner and Michael account for demonstrable increases in their newscast audiences in the second quarter-hour of their 11 p.m. appearances ...

Brenner's agent, Steven Dickstein of Philadelphia, yesterday denied that any serious negotiations had taken place with NBC. But there have been reports in recent weeks that the network had made a substantial offer to place Brenner at one of its other owned stations, including WNBC in New York, WMAQ in Chicago or KNBC in Los Angeles ...

"It's not the first time NBC has tried that," one source close to the negotiations said yesterday. "The network would do anything to get Glenn out of town to give George a clear shot" ...

The NBC New York offer reportedly was worth some $80,000 more annually than Gannett was originally prepared to pay ...

The key to Brenner's remaining at Nine was the opportunity for him to expand with a program that could eventually be syndicated nationally ...

Dickstein said yesterday that the "most important aspect {of the new contract} is that WUSA management demonstrated their commitment to producing a show in which we hope Glenn will be able to showcase all his talents, comedic and otherwise, for an even broader audience" ...

The show -- now being considered for an early Saturday evening timeslot -- would debut after the conclusion of this season's Washington Redskins schedule. Brenner and Sonny Jurgensen co-anchor the Saturday night "Redskins Sidelines" on Nine during the NFL season ...

Dickstein said the station wants "to choose an alternative that will stretch Glenn. It may be a talk show format, or in the context of a quiz/comedy format. It's really ill-defined at this point"...

(Channel 7 here took a nibble at Brenner, dangling the prospects of a nightly half-hour show at midnight, but talks never got really serious. Dickstein is also the agent for WJLA sports director Frank Herzog, which could have made things sticky) ...

In Other News

The Washington Post Co. and Ventura Entertainment Group Ltd. yesterday announced the joint production of a series of eight one-hour specials called "Inside the White House" that will use newly available material from the presidential libraries to give viewers an "incisive, behind-the-scenes look at presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt through Ronald Reagan" ...

Co-executive producers will be Harvey Bibicoff, chairman of the board of Ventura; Irwin Meyer, Ventura president; and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post ...

Pincus, who won an Emmy as co-writer of the CBS News documentary "Defense of the United States" in 1981 and has served as a consultant to both NBC and CBS News, will also write the series, which is expected to be available in the fall of 1991 for national syndication ...

The Post will put together the material, develop it and supervise the writing of the scripts, Pincus said yesterday, while Ventura will produce the program at its Orem, Utah, studios and be in charge of the syndication effort ...

The series of eight programs will also be made available on home video, combined with photo books. Production is scheduled for the first quarter of 1991 ...

Washington Post Co. vice president Diana Daniels noted that "this is the first time The Washington Post will use its resources and expertise in covering Washington for a TV series. With Pincus's seasoned insights, the result will be something very different and, we believe, engrossing" ...

In addition to newly released information about the presidents and their personal lives, the series will make extensive use of their own writings and those of their closest aides. Dramatizations with actual historical dialogue will be combined with existing footage ...

Pincus stressed yesterday that "any reenactments will be done only where there is an exact transcript of what was said" ...

Channel 9 anchor Maureen Bunyan received an award as "journalist of the year" from the National Association of Black Journalists during the NABJ's 15th annual convention in Los Angeles this past weekend...

The award cited Bunyan for her "standing in the community, the honors and awards she has earned and the respect and admiration of her colleagues" ...

Bunyan co-anchors the 6 p.m. newscast with Gordon Peterson and hosts the Sunday program "22:26" ...

"Twin Peaks" returned to ABC Sunday and the two-hour premiere averaged a 12.8 Nielsen rating and a 21 percent audience share to win the 9-to-11 time period, at least in 24 Nielsen major overnight markets ...

That compared with a 22.0/33 in the overnights when the show first premiered on April 8. That later translated to a 21.7/33 national Nielsen rating ...

Given the dismal history in recent years of primetime soap opera reruns, ABC expressed pleasure yesterday at the early returns ...

Locally, "Twin Peaks" on Channel 7 finished second behind the strong Fox lineup on Channel 5 ...