The news weeklies are in a tough competitive business, but it didn't look that way this morning as people opened their copies of Time and Newsweek. Both magazines ran the same dramatic color photograph of American soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division arriving in Saudi Arabia. In both magazines, the photo was run across two pages as the opening to the lead story on the military buildup in Saudi Arabia. The photograph was by Black Star photographer Dennis Brack, who also took the lead photograph in U.S. News & World Report. He is the pool photographer for the news weeklies.

Newsweek editor Maynard Parker described the picture choice as "unfortunate but not embarrassing." He said that "because of the paucity of material coming from the {photo} pool, it's not terribly surprising that we came up with the same lead photo." Time would not comment. Kathy Bushkin, U.S. News director of editorial administration, said she's not surprised about the Time/Newsweek lead photo; "we call them clones," she said. U.S. News, Bushkin added, tries to avoid the same situation by not choosing the obvious pictures from the pool. "It's a fine line between the most powerful photos and the ones that will be overused," she said.

There was no danger of a "clone" photograph on U.S. News's cover this week since advertising had committed the magazine to a World War II anniversary issue. This week's cover shows Hitler, Churchill and Roosevelt. U.S. News is taking the week off for Labor Day, but Bushkin says if something big breaks in the Middle East the magazine is prepared to print an issue. Out and About Entertainer Karen Akers, who has been appearing in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical "Grand Hotel," will be leaving the show on Sept. 15. Akers said she misses her sons here in Washington. "Spending one day a week with them isn't enough," she says, "and the weekly commute by train is a drain." She's working on new material for her nightclub act, which she will bring to Blues Alley Oct. 18-21 and will then take to the Ballroom in New York through November ...

Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel was there with his wife, Olga, and 110,000 fans Saturday for the Rolling Stones concert in Prague. Before the show the Stones (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman) met with the former dissident playwright, who told them about the role rock music played in the events leading to the November revolution and in the revolution itself. The Stones gave Havel several leather and denim bomber jackets with the band's insignia. Proceeds from the concert are to go to the Czechoslovak Children's Foundation ...

If you suspended your disbelief, "Pretty Woman," one of the hit films of the summer, was the ultimate in romance: Richard Gere picks up beautiful streetwalker Julia Roberts and pays the tab for a glamorous long weekend. It was undoubtedly expensive, and Entertainment Weekly went about figuring how much it would actually cost. The itemized account included a presidential suite at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, $3,000; continental breakfast, $80; tips, $50; Roberts's shopping spree on Rodeo Drive, $26,804; dinner for four at Rex, $777; sponsorship of polo matches at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, $60,000; Gulfstream jet to San Francisco, plus opera, $9,000; white limo, $45 an hour; and a dozen roses, $75. That's about $100,000, and worth every penny ...