A Cable News Network home video ($14.98 retail) showing footage from the network's Persian Gulf War coverage and a "historical overview of the Middle East" will be available in stores around the country early next month ...

The video, narrated by CNN anchor Bernard Shaw, has been in the works since shortly after the start of fighting between Iraq and the U.S.-led coalition, according to a Turner Home Entertainment (T.H.E.) spokeswoman ...

"I don't think it was ever that we wouldn't do it. It was a question of who would produce it and how it would be presented," said Karen Welch in Atlanta ...

The one-hour video, called "Operation Desert Storm: The War Begins," is being produced by T.H.E. in association with CNN's documentary unit, Special Reports. Both are parts of Turner Broadcasting System Inc. ...

Apparently anticipating criticisms, T.H.E. yesterday issued some "CNN War Video Talking Points," one of which attempted to answer the question "Why is CNN trying to make a profit off of the war by releasing this video?" ...

"This is not an attempt by CNN to profit from the war," the Talking Point responds. "Since the allied invasion, CNN has received numerous requests for background information on Iraq, Saddam and the Middle East. This is an attempt to give those parties who have requested this type of information a chance to view a program at their leisure" ...

"If CNN thinks this story is so important," the next Point asks, "why not show it on television?" ...

"By putting it on video," says T.H.E., "we allow more viewers the chance to watch this program. It also allows those people who do not have cable the chance to educate themselves about the crisis. In addition, the video can be used as an education tool in schools" ...

The video will include those celebrated audio reports from Baghdad on the day the war began, when "CNN correspondents Peter Arnett, John Holliman and Bernard Shaw delivered the only continuous eyewitness accounts of the allied air raid throughout the evening," as well as interviews with top military commanders and "footage of CNN executives and personnel who continue to work around the clock to bring the story together" ...

Russell Williams II, with Jeffrey Perkins, Bill W. Benton and Greg Watkins, has been nominated for an Academy Award in the sound category for his work on "Dances With Wolves" ...

Last year, Williams won an Oscar for his sound work on "Glory" ...

The Wilson High School and American University graduate worked as a technician at both WRC and WJLA here in the late '70s before striking out for Hollywood, where he now operates Sound Is Ready Inc. ...

"L.A. Law," which is losing Susan Dey and probably Harry Hamlin and Jimmy Smits after this season, has added Cecil Hoffman, who plays "passionate but principled" assistant DA Zoey Clemmons, to the regular cast. She was introduced a week ago on the show as the ex-wife of attorney Tommy Mullaney (John Spencer, the other newcomer this season along with Amanda Donohoe) ...

Now ThisCameramen from WRC and WUSA tussled with security guards at Children's Hospital shortly after noon Wednesday. News executives from the stations raced to the scene to protest but eventually decided against pressing charges when the hospital apologized and promised to change procedures so it wouldn't happen again ...

Jim Forrest of Channel 4 and Tad Dukehart from Nine had been dispatched to get footage of the arrival of a 13-year-old Kramer Junior High School student who had been stabbed by a classmate in the school cafeteria ...

Three hospital guards complained that the cameramen weren't in the area set aside for photographers, harsh words were exchanged, and both photographers were manhandled and their equipment threatened. Forrest was thrown against a wall and his camera was slightly damaged ...

WRC news director Kris Ostrowski and WUSA executive news editor Bill Lawlor soon arrived to protest, threatening legal action ...

Yesterday, a hospital spokesman said the Children's staff was "very sorry the whole thing happened" ...

Beverly Jackson, assistant vice president for public relations, said the head of security has promised "appropriate disciplinary action" against the guards, and that "joint seminars" with public affairs and security personnel would be established to help guards "understand the important role of the media in this town" ...

Jackson also said a specific area for the press would be marked off with tape lines on the ground near the emergency entrance to help prevent similar incidents ...

Jackson surmised that the guards were tired after a rough few days and nights during which the emergency ward had been particularly busy. "The guards are trained to protect the privacy of the patient but we're very sympathetic to the ordeal the photographers went through," she said ...

In Other NewsPublic TV station Channel 32 launches a low-key, 11-week membership campaign this weekend with the theme of "Complete Trust in You" ...

During the drive, which ends April 30, the Howard University station will air new 30- and 60-second spots emphasizing the campaign theme ...

"In a light and humorous way," says WHMM, " 'Complete Trust in You' vignettes are played out in an auto dealership, a supermarket, a jewelry store, a house for sale, a bank, at RFK Stadium and a travel agency" ...

The three-phase TV campaign, produced in house by Calvin Barry, Byron Ezell, Tammey Drummond and Greg Poole, will be supported by print and direct mail advertising ...

Edward Jones Jr., WHMM general manager, says that since August of last year the use of similar membership spots during program breaks has raised $224,314 in contributions and the number of new members has almost doubled ...

Jones called the campaign "a different approach to public television fund-raising in our area. In a fun and entertaining way, we're educating the viewer about the reality of how a public TV station is funded. We produce a product and we trust the viewer to give later" ...

Kitsie Riggall has been named director for the entertainment division of Turner Broadcasting System Inc., which includes TNT and Superstation TBS ...

You didn't ask but yes, it's true that Andrew Heyward, executive producer of "48 Hours," was offered the job of executive producer of "CBS Evening News" but turned it down before "CBS This Morning" executive producer Erik Sorenson was tapped for the job earlier this week ...

It's also true that "Evening News" staffers are wondering why top CBS brass haven't issued a statement supporting Dan Rather during the latest round of press speculation about his future. Especially since, as one news executive put it: "Black Rock made such a big point of blaming David Burke for not publicly supporting Dan right from the start over that Afghanistan film business" a couple of years ago...

(You may recall that during Burke's tenure as CBS News president, there were charges that a freelance cameraman had staged Afghanistan war footage used on several Rather broadcasts. Burke opted for a probe -- summoning the cameraman to New York from New Zealand -- before giving everybody a clean bill of health) ...

C-SPAN cameras will be on hand this afternoon when National Public Radio continues a series of daily live panel-discussion call-in programs about the difficult task of explaining the Persian Gulf crisis to children ...

The simulcast will begin at 2 p.m. C-SPAN today will also conclude five days' coverage of Time magazine staffers as they prepare the Feb. 18 issue for publication ...

The Time coverage begins at 10 a.m. with a live editorial meeting and a series of interviews with key magazine staffers throughout the day and early evening ...

ABC's "Good Morning America" won the morning network race for the 58th week in a row, averaging a 4.9/20, compared with a 3.6/16 for NBC's "Today" and a 2.8/12 for "CBS This Morning." Each ratings point represents 931,000 TV homes ...

For the third straight week since the Persian Gulf War began, morning audiences fell back toward prewar levels. The week ending Jan. 18, when the war began, the three morning shows together were seen in an average of 13.9 million TV homes. Last week the count dropped to 10.4 million. A year ago this past week the three shows combined for 9.9 million homes. Don't cry, but those are absolutely the only ratingzzz you're going to get out of us this morning. Sorry ...