Network news audiences were off by about 1.6 million TV homes from a week ago as "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" won for the 32nd straight week with a 9.7/21, compared with an 8.8/19 for "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" and an 8.5/19 for "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw." In the previous week, as the Iraqi crisis heated up, the news shows had actually outdrawn the primetime audience averages on the three big networks ...

The Monday start of NBC Entertainment's early run at its new fall schedule won the night for the network ...

But the meanies at CBS research were quick to point out that NBC's average for the night, with all original programming, was only a 12.0/21, up just slightly from an 11.3/20 the previous week ...

ABC, which devoted the evening to the NFL exhibition contest between the San Francisco 49ers, champions of the world, and the Denver Broncos, averaged an 11.4/21 to finish second ...

Finishing third was CBS, at 10.2/18 for the three hours ...

For NBC, an hour-long version of "Parenthood," from 9 to 10, was the top draw, averaging a 14.1 national Nielsen rating and a 24 percent audience share. Earlier, a preview of "Hull High" averaged an 11.0/20 in the first hour, while the medical drama "Lifestories" did a 10.9/20 at 10 p.m... .

When the regular schedule gets underway, "Parenthood" will kick off Saturday nights as a half-hour show, "Hull High" will occupy the tough 7 p.m. Sunday hour and "Lifestories" will follow at 8 ...

On CBS Monday night, "Doctor Doctor" returned to the schedule, averaging a 9.4/17 at 8:30 ...

ABC, meanwhile, announced that it plans two outings of the James Earl Jones vehicle, "Gabriel's Fire" -- touted as one of the network's few new hits this fall -- starting with a preview on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 10 that will be repeated at 9 the next night in what will be its regular timeslot. "Gabriel's Fire," which stars Jones as an ex-con turned investigator, will premiere with a new episode on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 9 ...

ABC also revealed yesterday that "Doogie Howser, M.D." will return for its second season Wednesday, Sept. 12, starting at 9 p.m., its regular timeslot ...

Tomorrow morning, in the 7:30 timeslot, NBC's "Today" show will have cameras at WNTL-AM (1030) in Waldorf, Md., as host Mohammad Al Bedrawi conducts his regular Arab call-in radio talk show. Guest on the program will be Jim Zoghby, director of the Arab-American Institute ...

TV RATINGZZZZ

Following are the top 20 network prime-time shows last week, ranked according to the percentage of the nation's 92.1 milllion TV households that watched, as measured by the A.C. Nielsen Co. A share represents the percentage of actual sets-in-use tuned to a particular program when it aired.

...RATINGS....................................SHARE......NETWORK

1.....15.8....60 Minutes.........................33..........CBS

2.....15.1....Cheers.............................29..........NBC

......15.1....Roseanne...........................27..........ABC

4.....13.7....The Simpsons.......................24..........FOX

5.....13.6....Designing Women....................23..........CBS

6.....13.4....Empty Nest.........................28..........NBC

7.....13.0....America's Funniest Home Videos.....24..........ABC

8.....12.8....Coach..............................22..........ABC

......12.8....Married ... With Children........22..........FOX

10....12.6....Unsolved Mysteries.................24..........NBC

......12.6....Murphy Brown.......................22..........CBS

12....12.5....The Cosby Show.....................26..........NBC

......12.5....Cutting Edge/Maria Shriver.........23..........NBC

14....12.2....A Different World..................24..........NBC

......12.2....Murder, She Wrote..................22..........CBS

......12.2....The Wonder Years...................22..........ABC

......12.2....In the Heat of the Night...........21..........NBC

18....12.1....Grand..............................22..........NBC

19....12.0....The Golden Girls...................25..........NBC

20....11.9....20/20..............................25..........ABC

......11.9....Major Dad..........................22..........CBS

NBC won the primetime race for the 14th week in a row, averaging a 9.7 rating and a 19 share, followed by CBS at 9.2/18, ABC at 8.9/17 and FOX at 5.5/11 ...

CBS won Sunday, ABC Friday and NBC took the other five nights ...

Seventy-four of the 90 programs aired last week were reruns. An updated "60 Minutes" and the Maria Shriver special on NBC were the only original programming in the top 20 but viewers weren't particularly partial to all those other new shows being offered by the networks, anyway ...

For instance, the third most popular original series last week was ABC's "Tim Conway: Funny America," which finished way down there in a tie for 37th place ...

Among other original offerings, CBS News's "Face to Face With Connie Chung" tied for 39th, CBS's "Northern Exposure" was 41st and CBS News's "48 Hours" was 42nd ...

ABC's "New Attitude" was 43rd, FOX's "America's Most Wanted" was 49th and the Buffalo-N.Y. Giants NFL exhibition on ABC tied for 50th with ABC News's "PrimeTime Live" ...

ABC's pilot "The Ladies on Sweet Street" was 55th and the CBS pilot "Steel Magnolias" was 68th ...

CBS's "A Piece of Cake" tied for 71st while its "Room for Romance" was 74th ...

A rerun of ABC's "China Beach" was 85th, which gave it the lead in the Final And Usually Fatal Five Plus One for the week. The rest (the remainder?) were all FOX entries, including, in order, "Alien Nation," "The Tracey Ullman Show," "Ghost Writer," "21 Jump Street" and "Molloy" ...

In Other News

Slowly but surely local stations are revealing their decisions on what non-network shows viewers can expect to see this fall ...

At Channel 4 most of the changes will take place Monday, Sept. 17, with two game shows -- "Joker's Wild" and "Quiz Kids" -- moving into the 9 a.m. timeslot that's been occupied by Mac McGarry's comedy-nostalgia show this summer ...

At noon, Four will introduce "Preview," moving "Generations" up to 12:30. In the "Entertainment Tonight" genre, "Preview" features highlights of entertainment subjects ranging from TV to fashions. It's produced by TPE (Television Program Enterprises) ...

"Inside Edition" and "Hard Copy," although they aren't delivering very well, will stay in place at 4 p.m. on weekdays. Ditto "Family Feud," which has turned out to be a demographic dream for the NBC-owned station at 7:30 ...

At Channel 9, it's pretty much status quo, with demonstrated reliables like the "Donahue" show and "Sally Jessy Raphael" remaining in place in the morning this fall, while the 4 p.m. news continues for at least one more season ...

The main change this fall is the arrival on Monday, Sept. 3, of "Entertainment Tonight" in the 7:30 timeslot being vacated by "Wheel of Fortune," which moves to the 7 p.m. timeslot the same night over on WJLA (which, as we've previously reported, moves "Jeopardy!" to 7:30 starting that same evening) ...

In late night on Nine this fall -- right up through Dec. 27 -- "Divorce Court" remains in place at 11:30, followed by CBS programming for the next two hours and then "Instant Recall" at 2 a.m. This is one of those down-memory-lane shows using interviews, videos, music and newsreel footage, and is hosted by former "Today" regular John Palmer. CBS News's "Nightwatch" will continue at 2:30 until 6 a.m... .

Then, as we've mentioned before, starting in January, "The Arsenio Hall Show" moves (from Channel 20) into the 11:30 p.m. timeslot on Nine, followed by "The Party Machine With Nia Peeples" at 12:30, "Divorce Court" at 1, "Instant Recall" at 1:30 and "Nightwatch" at 2 ...

If the summer reruns have gotten to you, you might want to try Channel 50 at 10 tonight, when the station's new talk show, "Our Town," tackles the subject of "Washington Gossip" ...

The program is taped weekly at Duke Zeibert's restaurant. Hosted by WFTY executive Andy Ockershausen, this week's guests will include Morrie Siegel; Ms. Sam Foster, a Washington-area bartender; Carmello Chiedi, a Capitol Hilton barber; and Joe Levaca, a waiter at the Palm restaurant ...

Future "Our Town" programs are expected to deal with the area's drug problem, child abuse, traffic, music lyric censorship and capital punishment ...