Gary Reals, the ace courts and cops reporter who was fired by Channel 7 early in November, has been hired on a part-time basis by Channel 4 ...

Starting Friday, Jan. 4, Reals will become a weekend street reporter for Nielsen's number one news station ...

"And he'll follow up any stories he develops during the week too," news director Kris Ostrowski said yesterday ...

Reals left Channel 7 only months after signing a new three-year contract. At the time he ascribed his departure to a desire on the part of news director Gary Wordlaw to choose his own team and a perception by station management that he was loyal to Wordlaw's predecessor, Bob Reichblum ...

By signing with Four, Reals has come up with a rare trifecta in the local market, having previously worked at Channel 9 (1980-83) as well as Seven (1983-90) ...

Ostrowski said yesterday that she was "very, very pleased" that "a way has been found to create this job for Gary" despite budget constrictions affecting the business these days ...

Reals, who started as a copy boy at WMAL radio in 1970 and became a street reporter for the station five years later, joins an already-strong bench at Four that includes Joe Johns, Wendy Reiger, Tom Sherwood, Pat Collins and Jack Cloherty, among others ...

"And they're all ecstatic that Gary is coming on board," said Ostrowski ...

Meanwhile, over at Channel 9 (Arbitron's number one news station) Paul Malkie yesterday was named to the new position of creative services director, effective Jan. 1 ...

According to WUSA president and general manager Hank Yaggi, Malkie will oversee the promotion and graphics departments. Mark DeSantis continues as promotion manager ...

Malkie will also continue as executive producer of "The Glenn Brenner Show," which is due to be launched in February ...

Malkie first joined Nine in 1979 as an executive producer/special projects manager. He then joined CBS News here as a producer, returning to the station in 1984 to be producer of the 6 p.m. news. In 1987 he became executive producer of the 11 o'clock news ...

After the purchase of Nine by Gannett, Malkie worked on "USA Today on TV" and Gannett Broadcasting's special projects ...

In a statement yesterday, Yaggi said, "Paul's creative expertise in the news and programming production area has prepared him for this position. His knowledge of local, network and corporate operations will serve the station well as we embark on new and innovative projects for the 1990s." (Translation: Paul's got to do something about Nine's slip in the Nielsens) ...

This is the second big announcement from WUSA this week. On Monday, Jack Hurley, a longtime Gannett hand, was named to the newly created job of news operations manager, divvying up duties with news vice president Dave Pearce ...

In Other NewsCBS Entertainment has signed a five-series deal with the very successful production team of Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason, the husband and wife team that already produces "Designing Women" (CBS's most popular series, after "60 Minutes") and the promising "Evening Shade" (great demographics!) ...

Howard Stringer, president of CBS/Broadcast Group, said "this dazzling duo, which has given CBS two superb shows this season, is now a primary architect in our long-term rebuilding of the network. The Thomasons' great gift is to understand what Americans are feeling and thinking, to present it in brilliant series comedy that has warmth as well as bite. And to present it, may I say proudly, on CBS" ...

Bloodworth-Thomason, who created both series, has written 70 episodes of "Designing," and is writing most of the scripts for "Shade" ...

The network describes the deal as "the largest and most comprehensive production commitment CBS has ever made with a single production company" ...

A couple of years back, CBS had a limited deal with Grant Tinker's GTG for first-call on series he developed. Tinker's "WIOU" is currently on the network schedule ...

ABC has been the major force in signing top producers in recent years ...

Steve Bochco has a long-term deal with ABC to deliver one new series a year for 10 years. He has already come up with the hit "Doogie Howser, M.D." but slipped in 1990 with his canceled "Cop Rock" musical. Bochco's next offering is an animated show with the working title of "Capitol Critters" ...

ABC also has a "unique agreement" with James L. Brooks to produce a minimum of three half-hour sitcoms. Brooks created "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoffs, such as "Rhoda" and "Lou Grant," for CBS, "Taxi" for ABC and "The Tracey Ullman" show for FOX and had a hand in "The Simpsons." He also produced such movies as "Broadcast News" and "Big" ...

The husband and wife team of Neal Marlens and Carol Black, who produced "The Wonder Years," have a film and TV deal with Disney. Part of the enticement for that most successful of all U.S.-owned studios was their deal with ABC to produce 13 episodes each of three future series for the network ...

And Ed. Weinberger is doing two series for ABC. One is "Baby Talk," based on the movie "Look Who's Talking," and the other, with the working title "Honor Bound," stars Ray "Wiseguy" Sharkey ...

NBC in recent years has shied away from the exclusive deals with top producers. Early in the 1980s, Johnny Carson's Carson Productions got a primetime outlet as part of the "Tonight Show" host's huge contract, while Dick Clark produced some specials for the network ...

Now This Robert M. Kreek, most recently president of Fox Cable Programming (he's had other major posts at Fox, including the presidency of the Fox Television Stations), yesterday was named president and CEO of Comedy TV, the new 24-hour all-comedy cable network announced Tuesday that merges HBO's the Comedy Channel and MTV Network's HA! The TV Comedy Network early next year ...

Somebody at NBC News with a nicely developed sense of irony has titled a Dec. 30 retrospective "1990: Living on the Edge." The one-hour documentary will be anchored by three experts on the subject -- Tom Brokaw, Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley -- and will air at 8 p.m... .

The mobile home of a Texas man who appeared on "60 Minutes" earlier this month to expose odometer tampering by used car dealers was blown up yesterday apparently with a fire bomb ...

Former used car dealer Charles Vance, who talked about the Houston odometer scam on the Dec. 9 edition of "60 Minutes," called the bombing "retaliation" for his speaking out ...

No sooner had Captain Airwaves hinted very broadly that we'd seen the last of "Parenthood" (see TV Column for Dec. 19, 1990) than NBC announced that the sitcom, based on the movie of the same name, will go bye-byes after its Dec. 29 broadcast. Ratingzzzz-wise, it is tied for 72nd place among 104 series that have shown up on the four networks so far this season ...

On the other hand, Fox Broadcasting has ordered four more episodes of its Friday night entry, "Against the Law," which is ranked 100th so far ...

ABC won Tuesday night with a lineup of all original episodes, averaging a 14.0 national Nielsen rating and a 23 percent audience share from 8 to 11 ...

"Roseanne" was ABC's top producer with a 17.6/28, followed by "Coach" (who was reunited with Christine) at 16.0/25. "Thirtysomething" (great demographics!) tailed off at 11.2/20 ...

Over at NBC, which tied with CBS for the evening at 13.0/21, the delayed episode of "Lifestories" dealing with an AIDS-stricken TV anchor, averaged a 9.7/17 ...

On CBS, an original episode of "Rescue 911" averaged a 14.4/23, while the network premiere of the theatrical movie "Fletch Lives," starring Chevy Chase, did a 12.3/20 ...

Each national ratings point represents (if you're going to make faces, just remember that Santa Claus will be checking his computers right up until very late Monday afternoon) 931,000 TV hearths ...

KCET, the major public TV station in Los Angeles, has decided to give a long-term renewal to "South Africa Now" ...

KCET canceled the program in October after deciding it did not meet journalistic standards for objectivity (it generally favors the views of the African National Congress). The station later renewed it for a six-episode run. In a Tuesday announcement KCET said "South Africa Now" will continue to air with a disclaimer identifying it as "a point of view" series ...

The renewal came one day after a conservative media watchdog group, the Committee on Media Integrity, filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission requesting the station's license not be renewed and that a KCET request for a new transmitter also be denied ...

William Kobin, KCET president and CEO, called the group's demands preposterous and said the requests were part of a longstanding effort to control the station's programming ...

"South Africa Now" airs on Channel 32 here at 9:30 p.m. Sundays ...