Good old old "Hunter" on NBC was the winner at 10 as the three big networks aired their regular schedules on Wednesday night for the first time this season ...

"Hunter" averaged a 13.4 national Nielsen rating and a 24 percent audience share, compared with an 11.3/20 for the debut of "WIOU" on CBS and a 7.3/13 for ABC's "Cop Rock" ...

Each ratings point represents (sigh!) 931,000 TV homes ...

"WIOU," from the Grant Tinker stable, received excellent reviews but in its debut didn't improve on the 20 share that "Wiseguy" averaged in the same timeslot on CBS last year ...

Earlier in the evening, the new timeslot for "48 Hours" on CBS yielded a 9.2/15, not too hot but a nice improvement over the 7.5/15 it had averaged in two appearances at 10 on Saturday night ...

NBC was the winner Wednesday night, averaging a 13.3/22 from 8 to 11, narrowly beating out ABC at 13.0/22. CBS did an 11.0/18 ...

Yesterday out in Century City, ABC Entertainment president Bob Iger told reporters that "Cop Rock," the only primetime musical left on the air since NBC canceled "Hull High" on Wednesday, is still in the hunt, despite the fact it's averaged below an 8 rating in six outings so far this year ...

Iger said the network, with a pretty solid schedule this season, can afford to be patient with "Cop Rock." A decision whether to pick up the "back nine" episodes of the Steve Bochco series for a full complement of 22 for the year won't be made until mid-November, he said ...

"We haven't written it off," said Iger ...

He pointed out that ABC has "heavily invested" in Bochco, whose "Doogie Howser, M.D." has been a very pleasant surprise for the network these past two seasons (it's sitting in 16th place so far this year) ...

He said there had been some discussions with Bochco about either removing the music or reducing its presence each week on "Cop Rock" but the network finally decided not to make a change in the season's most unusual program ...

The word "patience" cropped up several times during the press conference as Iger made a point of saying no major program or primetime schedule changes are planned at least until the end of the year ...

He said viewers have suffered from "mass confusion" this fall as a result of the introduction of 30 new programs on the four networks and the fact that 19 returning series were in new time periods ...

He blamed the confusion for the fact that there has been no "breakout" new series on any network this season so far and even tweaked NBC's recent $28 million lottery promotion with McDonald's for the perplexity ...

"I don't think a viewer should have to go to a fast-food store to find out what's on television," the Entertainment executive said ...

Iger counseled that it will take time for audiences to find their favorites. It's a long season and where ABC ends up is more important than the fact it's running a close third after five weeks ...

The good news for ABC (and its advertisers) is that it is leading the competition in key demographics (notably adults 18-49) in regular programming so far ...

As an example, Iger insisted on calling "Twin Peaks" on Saturday night "a great ratings success." He doesn't mean in total households (it's 69th so far this year) but like "China Beach" (tied for 75th) the preceding hour that night, "Twin" has increased the important 18-to-49 adults audience by a huge 48 percent compared with the much older audiences that watched last season's mystery wheel on the network between 9 and 11 on Saturday nights ...

Advertising time on "China Beach" at 9 that night is completely sold and it has increased the 18-to-49 adult audience by 28 percent over last year's programming in that timeslot ...

Iger disclosed that the killer of Laura Palmer will be revealed on the Nov. 10 episode of "Twin Peaks." Viewers learned on this season's premiere episode that the killer has long hair and is named "Bob," but on Nov. 10 we're all going to find out who in the devil "Bob" is ...

David Lynch, creator of "Twin Peaks," will direct the episode and appear for the second straight week as Agent Cooper's bureau chief ...

Continuing his rundown of network performance so far, Iger also praised the good second-year showings of not only "Doogie," but also "Family Matters," "Life Goes On" and "The Young Riders." The last now wins the 8 p.m. Saturday timeslot regularly ...

Iger found good news on most every night of the ABC schedule. On Monday, he said, he was "very pleased" by the performance at 8 of "MacGyver" (tied for 48th) as a lead-in to "Monday Night Football" ...

On Tuesday, he confirmed that "Head of the Class" (tied for 19th) might be moved from 8:30, reiterating that he expects no schedule changes until the first of the year -- although he reserves the "right to change my mind" ...

He said "Roseanne" (fifth so far with an 18.6 rating) has done very well considering the competition from CBS's baseball and NBC's dynamite counter-programming during the playoffs. "Very few shows are getting consistent 20 ratings this year," he pointed out (actually, only NBC's "Cheers," with a 21.2 rating after five episodes is in the 20s so far). He's "delighted" with "Doogie" and "Wonder Years" (25th) on Wednesdays but said "we're evaluating" "Married People" (tied for 38th) ...

Iger has "no complaints" about Thursday and is even happy with "Gabriel's Fire" (tied for 60th with its follow-on program, "PrimeTime Live") ...

He discounted rumors that "Cop Rock" and "Gabriel's Fire" might switch time periods. He cautioned that such a move -- and similar flips in the schedule this fall -- could cost the network "millions of dollars" in a very skittish advertising market ...

He said advertisers are committed to the time periods they have already bought but they have the option to withdraw if a program is moved. With the current "scatter market" (i.e., commercial time that wasn't bought in bulk long before the season began) in sad shape this fall "there are no guarantees" that a change in timeslots would be economically prudent ...

Iger expects that the three networks will have their closest race in years. He said a second-place finish again for ABC would be acceptable considering the improved demographics (i.e., younger audiences) attracted by ABC series so far this year ...

In Other News

Henry Hampton, the executive producer of the acclaimed "Eyes on the Prize" PBS series, will inaugurate George Washington University's new Center for History in the Media today ...

The center is a new program designed to "examine and teach the intersection of history with the television medium. Historians, journalists, producers and funders of public interest programming will come together to study historical inquiry and television techniques for use in historical documentary and docudrama" ...

Today's ceremonies begin at 3 p.m. in the third-floor ballroom of the Marvin Center at 800 21st St. NW ...

The National Association of Broadcasters announced yesterday that Lynn McReynolds will replace Susan Kraus as vice president for media relations ...

Kraus left for an executive position with U.S. Sprint two weeks ago ...

McReynolds spent seven years with the National Cable Television Association, most recently as director of public affairs and special projects. Since leaving NCTA in May, she has been with the Grocery Manufacturers Association ...

ABC's "Good Morning America" won the morning race for the 42nd week in a row with a 4.3/22, compared with a 3.1/16 for NBC's "Today" show and a 2.3/12 for "CBS This Morning" ...

Republican mayoral candidate Maurice Turner will be interviewed on D.C. Cablevision at 7 tonight on Channel 44, instead of the originally announced Channel 24. Independent D.C. delegate candidate George X Cure will be interviewed on Channel 44 at 8 p.m... .

The good news: CBS announces that "Northern Exposure" has returned to production. The summertime series, which got good reviews, is scheduled to be a mid-season replacement ...

On the other hand: Tired old "Dallas" returns to the CBS schedule at 10 p.m. next Friday ...

ABC News has scheduled a special about abortion for next Thursday night that will preempt "PrimeTime Live." Peter Jennings will anchor ...

Later that night, a live ABC News forum in New York on the same subject will preempt "Nightline" from 11:30 to 1 a.m... .