CBS Entertainment yesterday announced it will begin a repeat of the award-winning "Lonesome Dove" the night of Sunday, Jan. 20, with a two-hour telecast ...

The mini-series starring Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones and Anjelica Huston, based on the novel by Larry McMurtry, will continue in two-hour segments on Jan. 22, 23 and 24 ...

The story of an epic Old West cattle drive from Texas to Montana not only won seven Emmys and a George Foster Peabody, it also gave CBS a much-needed ratings boost in February 1989 when it caught the public's fancy ...

Alvin H. Perlmutter -- whose producing credits range from "The Great American Dream Machine" to "Adam Smith's Money World" to Bill Moyers's "The Public Mind" -- has been chosen to direct public TV's 1992 election year project, supervising a major effort by PBS to cover issues and candidates in the presidential and congressional election campaigns ...

Following the 1988 election -- the coverage of which made a lot of people unhappy -- the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation underwrote a "commission on the media and the electorate," a major recommendation of which was to explore how public broadcasting could contribute to improved coverage ...

Perlmutter headed a further feasibility study sponsored by the Markle Foundation and PBS earlier this year that suggested a wide variety of projects for election coverage. His first task now will be to come up with some specific plans to present to PBS station executives by March 1991 ...

Public and commercial news network leaders are enthusiastic about the chance to "maximize" the ways viewers can be better served in an election year. Among the many possibilities: free air time for the major candidates and close scrutiny of media campaign coverage and political advertising content ...

The PBS coverage would probably begin in January 1992, extending through the November elections ...

Perlmutter said yesterday he plans to talk to "anybody and everybody" as he prunes the Markle commission recommendations down to workable size. He envisions "a kind of ecumenical collaboration" that could include input from the commercial networks, cable operations like C-SPAN and CNN as well as public radio networks and independent producers ...

"It's an opportunity to make good use of the people already within public TV and outside the medium," he said ...

Ensuring adequate financing will be another of his chores, of course ...

Hoo-boy! They were jumping up and down at ABC News yesterday when Nielsen revealed that "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" had finished 2.2 ratingzzz points ahead of "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" and "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather," which tied at 10.0/18. That's the biggest margin ABC has ever had over second place since the show went to a half-hour format in (are you getting a firm grip on your Wheaties bowls?) 1967!!! ...

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.

...RATING..................................SHARE...NETWORK

1....27.0...NFL Giants-49ers..................42.......ABC

2....23.0...60 Minutes........................38.......CBS

3....21.4...Cheers............................34.......NBC

4....19.0...Roseanne..........................29.......ABC

5....18.0...A Different World.................29.......NBC

6....17.2...Murder, She Wrote.................26.......CBS

7....17.0...Empty Nest........................31.......NBC

8....16.1...The Golden Girls..................29.......NBC

.....16.1...The Cosby Show....................25.......NBC

10...15.9...Matlock...........................25.......NBC

11...15.8...In the Heat of the Night..........25.......NBC

12...15.6...America's Funniest Home Videos....24.......ABC

13...15.5...Unsolved Mysteries................25.......NBC

.....15.5...America's Funniest People.........23.......ABC

15...15.3...Who's the Boss?...................24.......ABC

16...15.2...L.A. Law..........................27.......NBC

.....15.2...Full House........................27.......ABC

.....15.2...Coach.............................24.......ABC

.....15.2...Murphy Brown......................22.......CBS

20...15.0...The Simpsons......................24.......FOX

Led by Monday Night Football's Game of the Year, ABC won the weekly primetime race for the second time this season, averaging a 12.7 rating and a 21 share, compared with an 11.9/20 for NBC, an 11.2/19 for CBS and a 5.9/10 for FOX ...

Among the highlights, ABC's "Columbo Goes to College" movie tied for 21st, CBS's "Donor" tied for 23rd and NBC's "Good Cops, Bad Cops" tied for 58th ...

Although NBC's "Cosby" rated higher in households, FOX's "The Simpsons" outdrew Bill in total viewers Thursday night, 26.1 million to 24.5 million ...

After 12 weeks, there is only six-tenths of a ratings point difference between first-place NBC at 13.1 and third-place CBS at 12.5. ABC is second at 12.7 ...

Monday aside, NBC had the most nightly wins, including Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. ABC also took Friday while CBS, as usual, won Sunday ...

The Final and Eventually Fatal Five last week was an all-FOX production again. NBC's "Saved by the Bell" special finished 92nd among 97 programs that surfaced during the week ending Dec. 9. ABC's poorest performer was the canceled "Cop Rock," which tied for 89th, while CBS's worst was "Wiseguy" in 83rd ...

The Robert Redford special on NBC was 82nd, which would seem to bode ill (as they say at the Polo Lounge) for his upcoming movie, "Havana" ...

Now This CBS has announced its late-night lineup of action dramas, which will be in place just in time for the start of the February sweeps on Jan. 30 ...

The new "checkerboard" lineup starts Jan. 21. Channel 9 here will start carrying "The Arsenio Hall Show" at 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 1. Starting Jan. 7, Hall will be followed at 12:30 a.m. on Nine by the half-hour syndicated "The Party Machine With Nia Peebles" ...

WUSA has asked the network for permission to air its new drama schedule starting at 1 a.m. No decision from CBS yet ...

The five new hours include, on Monday night, "Sweating Bullets," about an ex-DEA agent turned private eye; and, on Tuesday, "Fly by Night," starring Shannon Tweed as an "enterprising young woman" (talk about life imitating art!) whose "latest enterprise is 'Slick Air,' a luxury security air charter" ...

Wednesday there's an anthology mystery series called "Scene of the Crime," featuring "stories of suspense and intrigue" produced by Stephen J. Cannell; Thursday is "The Exile," starring Jeffrey Meek as an intelligence agent whose "death" was reported by the New York Times when he went undercover as a double agent during the Cold War. According to CBS: "Although he longs to return home, he is considered a traitor and risks his life in revealing his true identity" (to say nothing of a long-overdue correction on Page 3 of the Times) ...

On Friday, "Dark Justice" stars Ramy Zada as a criminal court judge who adheres to the letter of the law by day but at night adopts a secret identity to ensure that criminals who go free on technicalities are brought to justice ...

Carol Ross Joynt has been named consultant for the broadcast coverage of the National Gallery of Art's 50th anniversary, which will be celebrated in mid-March ...

Joynt begins her temporary assignment next month. A freelance producer, she most recently spent 14 months at ABC News here with "This Week With David Brinkley" and "Nightline." She previously had been with CBS News's "Nightwatch" and "USA Today: The Television Show" ...

The Raiders-Lions game on Monday Night Football averaged an 18.2/31 between 9 and 12:11 a.m. Tuesday in the national Nielsens for ABC ...

On FOX, the "Billboard Music Awards" averaged an 8.9/14 from 8 to 10, NBC's "The Dreamer of Oz" did an 11.8/18 from 9 to 11 and the "Face to Face With Connie Chung" special on CBS averaged a 13.1/22 at 10 p.m... .

As if ABC Entertainment hadn't already broken a few hearts out there by announcing that "China Beach" was going on hiatus after this Saturday night's episode, the network announced yesterday that it's preempting the "China" episode in favor of a one-hour "tongue-in-cheek" drama called "Hammer, Slammer and Slade" ...

"Hammer, etc." stars Jim Brown, Bernie Casey and Isaac Hayes as "three crime-fighting legends whose expanding girth and declining strength force them to rely more on their wits than their fists when they come out of retirement to help an old friend" ...

ABC says the preempted "China Beach" episode -- about the impending wedding of Lila and Sarge Pepper and still more coziness between Dr. Richard and Colleen -- is so good it will be the first episode to be shown when "China" returns to the schedule. Whenever that is ...

Diane Keaton, who directed an episode of "China Beach" earlier this year, will direct an episode of "Twin Peaks" scheduled to air in February ...