Brandon Tartikoff, the 41-year-old programming genius who has guided NBC to five straight years at the top of the primetime ratings, was seriously injured New Year's Day in an automobile accident near his family's vacation home in Glenbrook, Nev. ...

His 8-year-old daughter, Calla, was listed in serious condition. She was the sole passenger in the car driven by Tartikoff. Both were hospitalized at the Washoe Medical Center in Reno. Tartikoff's condition was upgraded to satisfactory yesterday and he was slated to be moved from the intensive care unit to the orthopedic recovery room later in the day ...

His wife, Lilly, was at her family's side at the hospital. The Tartikoffs, who reside in Beverly Hills, had been on a holiday vacation when the accident occurred ...

Tartikoff suffered multiple fractures and lacerations, according to the hospital. There was no report on the injuries to Calla, who remained in serious condition in the pediatric intensive care unit ...

The Nevada Highway Patrol said Tartikoff was attempting a left turn onto U.S. 50, which runs along the south shore of Lake Tahoe, from a side road when his car was struck by another driven by Stephen James Manos, 18, of Westlake, Calif. Manos was not injured. The Highway Patrol said no citations were issued and that an investigation of the accident is continuing ...

Tartikoff, a 1970 Yale graduate, joined NBC in 1977 as director of comedy programs. In 1980, at the age of 35, with NBC in the ratings cellar, he was named president of NBC Entertainment. By the 1985-86 season he had assembled a winning lineup, which is still number one although facing a tough challenge for a sixth straight yearly win ...

Last July, Tartikoff was named chairman of the newly created NBC Entertainment Group ...

In Other NewsChannel 7 yesterday signed Jan Fisher as a general assignment correspondent. Fisher, who worked as a special project manager at Channel 2 in Baltimore when WJLA news vice president Gary Wordlaw was news director at WMAR, most recently had been at CNN News Source here. The past two weeks he has been on the air for WJLA as a freelance reporter ...

Channel 20 viewers pledged $270,000 Saturday night for the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon benefiting the United Negro College Fund ...

Locally, Melvin Lindsey of Black Entertainment Television (BET also carried the telethon on local channels) and Robin Breedon of WPGC radio anchored the 11th annual telethon for the fund, local portions of which were broadcast between 6 p.m. and midnight on Saturday, from the WDCA studios ...

A station executive said the Washington figure was up about $1,000 over last year's total. Nationally, the telethon raised $11,103,748 in all, down from more than $12 million pledged last year ...

C-SPAN will have live coverage today, starting at noon, of the opening session of the 102nd Congress from the floor of the House. Ceremonies will include the swearing-in of new members ...

NBC's CNBC cable network is reformatting its primetime lineup, and will move its talk shows from weeknights to weekends, probably in late March ...

As a result, starting the week of Jan. 15, John McLaughlin will tape only two new shows a week of his one-hour "McLaughlin." Until the changes are made in the spring, there will continue to be four weeknight shows, two of them repeats. When CNBC goes to its new primetime format, "McLaughlin" will be seen on Fridays and Saturdays, with a repeat of one of those two programs on Sunday nights ...

Under the terms of a new 18-month "verbal agreement," McLaughlin has been named managing producer of the show. CNBC vice president of programming Andy Friendly will replace McLaughlin as executive producer and CNBC staffers will produce the show ...

As a result of the changes, some members of the current "McLaughlin" staff of nine in Fort Lee, N.J., where the CNBC program is produced, will be absorbed into the CNBC production staff but others -- employees of McLaughlin's Oliver Productions -- may be laid off ...

McLaughlin said yesterday no final decisions have been made on the reassignment of the CNBC show's Oliver staff ...

He said the "verbal agreement" with CNBC calls for "enhanced production values" on the revised show, including more "location" assignments ...

Also affected by the CNBC format change will be "The Dick Cavett Show," but details of that program's move were not available yesterday ...

The CNBC changes do not affect the staffs for "The McLaughlin Group" or the McLaughlin-hosted "One on One" ...

McLaughlin said he was "delighted" with his new pact. He said the prospect of more overseas interviews will give him "more latitude."

He said that while the status of the Fort Lee staff is now uncertain, "I owe them an incalculable amount. They're a crackerjack team" ...

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 ..23.3 ...........60 Minutes ...........40......CBS

2 ...16.6 ...........Cheers................27......NBC

3 ...16.4 ...........Full House ..........29.......ABC

4 ...15.8 .......The Cosby Show ..........25.......NBC

5 ...15.7 .......Family Matters ..........27.......ABC

.....15.7 ......Murder, She Wrote ........25.......CBS

7 ...15.2 .......Unsolved Mysteries ......26.......NBC

.....15.2.......A Different World ........24.......NBC

9 ...14.4 .......The Golden Girls ........26.......NBC

.....14.4.America's Funniest Home Videos..23.......ABC

11 ..13.5...........Empty Nest ...........24.......NBC

12 ..13.4 ..........Jake & the Fatman ....23.......CBS

13 ..13.2 ...........Perfect Strangers ...23.......ABC

14 ..13.0 ...........Matlock .............26.......NBC

15 ..12.8 ...........Prime Target ........21.......NBC

16 ..12.6 ...........Innerspace ..........21.......ABC

17 ..12.3 ...........Growing Pains .......21.......ABC

.....12.3 ...........Doogie Howser, M.D. .21 ......ABC

19 ..12.2 ...........Hunter ..............24 ......NBC

20 ..12.0 ...........Grand ...............20.......NBC

NBC won the primetime race for the 10th time in 15 weeks, averaging a holiday-season slim 10.6 rating and a 20 share, compared with a 10.3/19 for CBS, a 10.0/19 for ABC and a 5.8/10 for FOX ...

In a week chock-full of repeats, ABC's Ice Capades special skated to a 23rd-place tie, the CBS movie "Vestige of Honor" tied for 26th and "The Wizard" on CBS was 48th. "Wildcats" on CBS was 53rd, while the NBC News Special "1990: Living on the Edge" was 62nd ...

CBS Entertainment's new "You Take the Kids" continued to lag, a new episode thereof tying for 68th. And CBS's recently returned "Lenny" tied for 77th among 85 series ranked for the week ending Dec. 30 ...

Now This Channel 7 will carry the Redskins-Eagles NFL playoff game Saturday starting at 12:30 p.m., followed by the Miami-Kansas City game at 4. Seven will air a "Sports Saturday Special Redskins Edition" at 11:30 a.m., live from Philadelphia, followed by the ABC pregame show at noon ...

So what was the top choice of Washington viewers Tuesday night amid all those New Year's Day college football bowls? The CBS movie "Her Wicked Ways," which averaged a 17.5 rating and a 27 percent audience share on Channel 9, while offering one of the goofiest versions ever of how the White House TV correspondents corps operates ...

As for the games, top-rated was the Orange Bowl on WRC, which ended at midnight after racking up a 13.6 rating and a 22 percent audience share. Second in popularity was the Rose Bowl (and those tough Washington Huskies) on WJLA, which averaged an 11.2/19 between 5 and 9 ...

The Cotton Bowl in the afternoon on WUSA averaged a 7.8/16, the Citrus Bowl in the afternoon on WJLA a 7.8/16 and the Sugar Bowl in the evening a 9.9/18. On Four, the Hall of Fame Bowl averaged a 6.2/13, while the Fiesta Bowl did a 5.9/10 ...

Each ratings point represents 17,491 footballs, er, TV households ...

In one last burst of Ratingzzz Newzzz, "ABC World News Tonight" won the week ending Dec. 28 with a 10.6/21, compared with a 9.4/20 for "CBS Evening News" and an 8.7/19 for "NBC Nightly News" ...

NBC News, which didn't have a lot to cheer about last year, started 1991 by announcing that in the fourth quarter of 1990 "Nightly News" managed to tie "CBS Evening News" with a 9.4/18 over the 13 weeks. "World News Tonight," which has won 51 weeks in a row, averaged a winning 11.0/21 in the fourth quarter. The NBC research meanies also pointed out yesterday that in the second quarter of 1990, CBS was four-tenths of a point ahead of NBC, a margin that shrank to three-tenths in the third quarter ...

Combined viewership of all three network news shows is down 4 percent from the last quarter of 1989, with ABC up 1 percent, NBC down 5 and CBS down 10 percent. Mercy! ...