HBO once again swept the coveted CableACE Awards field, winning nine of the 17 major prizes announced during Saturday night's program, televised on TNT from Los Angeles . . .

In all, HBO won 27 of the 81 performance and craft awards during the 17th annual event, spread over three days in November and December this year. A record 21 cable networks were honored. Among the big winners Saturday:

HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show," produced by and starring Garry Shandling, won three during the evening (four overall), including one for best comedy series and one for Shandling as best actor in a comedy series. Shandling also was named best entertainment host for his role in "HBO Comedy Hour: The 1995 Young Comedians Special" . . .

Jane Wallace won the program interviewer award for her just-canceled "Under Scrutiny With Jane Wallace" show on the fX channel . . .

Linda Hamilton was named best actress in a movie or miniseries for "A Mother's Prayer" on USA Network; the late Raul Julia was honored as best actor in a movie or miniseries for HBO's "The Burning Season"; and Paula Jai Parker was named best actress in a dramatic special or series for HBO's "Cosmic Slop: Tang" . . .

HBO's "Citizen X" was named best movie or miniseries (for other winners from Saturday, see below) . . .

NBC News says the network is "of course" continuing negotiations with "Today" co-host Bryant Gumbel, whose contract has just run out but whose co-host, Katie Couric, is about to run out for some maternity leave, which makes the chances of NBC not signing Gumbel for another couple of years just about zilch . . .

CBS Entertainment announced that the hour drama "Matt Waters," starring talk show host Montel Williams, will debut in the 9 p.m. Wednesday time slot Jan. 3 as a lead-in to a restructured, returned and, who knows, maybe regretted "American Gothic" at 10 . . .

Montel plays a high school teacher in an unidentified urban area (it's filmed in Bayonne, N.J.) . . .

More video excitement is due from C-SPAN, which will have cameras at the Voice of America this morning off and on between 7 and 10 . . .

WETA pulled in $89,356 during the first three nights of its 16-day winter fund-raising drive, which concludes Dec. 17. Deepak Chopra's talks on the spiritual laws of success Saturday attracted a most successful $25,000-plus. He'll be repeated tonight . . .

The November ratingzzz sweeps ended Wednesday, and final national figures show NBC first with a 12.0 rating and a 19 share, ABC at 11.4/19, CBS at 9.9/16 and Fox at 7.5/12. One last poor-ratings night cinched a new all-time-low ratings record for CBS in any of the major Nielsen sweep periods. CBS's fall also helped set an all-time low for the three big networks: a combined 33.3/54, beating the previous low of 33.4/57 engineered -- with still more help from CBS -- by the threesome just last May . . .

NBC not only won in households in November but in total viewers, adults 18 to 34, 18 to 49 and 25 to 54. Meanwhile, basic cable was up 22 percent; pay cable was up 18 percent . . .

Radio talk show host Howard Stern's heavily edited Thursday night appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" still managed to draw an apology from NBC the next day. Because he had crossed "acceptable boundaries" on Leno's show, the network said, "NBC's broadcast standards and practices department made some edits that were necessary out of respect for the show's viewers. If anyone was offended by the edited telecast, we apologize" . . .

Gail O'Grady, who plays Donna Abandando -- the dishy blond secretary -- on ABC's "NYPD Blue," is leaving the series at season's end to star in a sitcom for Fox Broadcasting . . .

UPN, seen on Channel 20 here, launches its third night of programming on Wednesday, March 5, with two hours of the "Second Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards" . . .

A week later UPN continues its tradition of prime-time dramas by introducing two more in the Wednesday 8-to-10 time slot. "The Sentinel" stars Richard Burgi as a detective with "heightened sensory powers." "Swift Justice" stars James McCaffrey as a cop turned vigilante. The Monday and Tuesday night UPN lineups are already laden with dramas . . .

An "ER"-less Thursday night still provided an easy, if lower-powered, win for NBC last week. The Kelsey Grammer salute to Jack Benny that took the medical drama's place attracted about half of "ER's" audience . . .

"Seinfeld" was the big NBC scorer, averaging a 19.4 rating and a 30 share. The Grammer special did a 13.5/23 . . .

CBS seems to have edged ABC for second that night, though both were far behind NBC, as usual. "48 Hours" and "Murder, She Wrote" were tops for CBS, but "New York News" -- like most tabloids in the Big Apple -- continued to slump at 5.9/9 . . .

ABC's special on ghosts, mediums and psychics was tops at 8.8/14; Fox's three entries all produced 7 ratings points . . .

Locally, a special airing of a "Frasier" rerun that night earned an 18.5/26 and the Jack Benny special a 13.7/22 on WRC; "New York Undercover" led WTTG at 14.5/20; the "Commish" movie, with 8.9/13, led WJLA; and "Murder, She Wrote" led WUSA with a 9.4/13 . . . More Ratingzzz High Jinks!

As promised, here are some of the key numbers from the local edition of the just-completed key November ratingzzz sweeps . . .

In the news area, the highlights of the month, once again, are the heightened self-confidence of WRC (first in the early morning, second at noon, second at 4, third at 5, very nearly tied for first at 6 and, of course, very much first at 11); the challenge from WJLA news (first at 5, a so-so third at 6 and a close-to-second third at 11); the continuing challenge to still-hanging-in-there WUSA (second in the morning, first at noon, first at 4, second at 5, first at 6 and still second at 11); WTTG being first at 10; and, of course, a decline in audiences for most everybody from a year ago . . .

We adjure you to keep in mind that each local ratingzzz point represents 18,836 TV homes and that the previous November numbers are in (parentheses) . . .

From 7 to 9 a.m., Monday-Friday: NBC's "Today" show is first at 5.7/22 (5.6/21), followed by ABC's "Good Morning America" at 4.6/18 (4.9/18), "Fox Morning News" on WTTG at 3.1/12 (3.8/14) and "CBS This Morning" on WUSA at 2.1/8 (2.5/10) . . .

Noon news, M-F: WUSA's half-hour of news leads big at 8.6/34 (9.0/36), followed by WRC's hour of news at 3.2/12 (up big from 1.9/7), "American Journal" on WJLA at 2.2/9 (2.1/9) and WTTG's half-hour of news at 1.9/8 (2.9/11) . . .

From 4 to 5 p.m., M-F: Oprah Winfrey's show leads as usual for WJLA at 8.7/23 (8.5/23), followed by WUSA news at 5.8/16 (6.3/17), WTTG cartoons, 4.7/13 (6.4/17), WRC news, 4.6/12 (4.1/11) and WDCA cartoons, 1.9/5 (unchanged) . . .

From 5 to 6 p.m., M-F: WJLA news wins at 7.9/17 (8.0/18), followed by WTTG sitcoms at 7.8/17 (9.3/21), WUSA news, 7.7/17 (8.2/18), WRC news, 7.3/16 (7.4/16) and WDCA sitcoms, 2.5/6 (1.6/4) . . .

From 6 to 7 p.m., M-F: WTTG sitcoms lead at 9.6/18 (10.2/19), followed by WUSA news at 9.0/17 (9.9/18), WRC news, 8.9/17 (9.3/17), a half-hour of WJLA news at 7.9/15 (8.6/16) and WDCA sitcoms, 3.7/7 (3.8/7) . . .

(WRC's early figures give the station a 9.0/17, matching WUSA. But WUSA's and WTTG's early figures show WRC at 8.9/17. Airwaves, a stickler for the democratic way, went with the majority) . . .

Network news, M-F: "ABC World News Tonight" at 6:30 on WJLA leads at 10.8/20 (11.7/21), followed at 7 by "NBC Nightly News" on WRC at 9.4/16 (9.1/16) and "CBS Evening News" on WUSA at 8.7/15 (11.0/19) . . .

Also at 7 p.m., M-F: "The Simpsons" on WTTG at 11.6/20 (10.6/18), followed by "Wheel of Fortune" on WJLA at 11.2/19 (11.4/19), and "Home Improvement" on WDCA at 5.6/10 (4.1/7) . . .

From 7:30 to 8 p.m., M-F: "Seinfeld" on WTTG leads with a 12.7/21 (7.9/13), followed by "Jeopardy!" on WJLA at 12.0/20 (14.3/24), "Entertainment Tonight" on WUSA at 9.1/15 (8.8/15), "Inside Edition" on WRC at 7.3/12 (7.8/13) and another "Home Improvement" on WDCA at 6.4/10 (4.8/8) . . .

Prime time 8 to 11 p.m., M-F: NBC on WRC leads with a 13.4/21 (12.2/19), followed by ABC on WJLA at 12.7/20 (13.1/20), Fox on WTTG (8 to 10 only) at 11.8/18 (11.2/17), CBS on WUSA at 9.2/14 (11.6/18) and WDCA at 3.2/5 (4.1/6) . . .

10:45 p.m. lead-ins to late-night news, M-F: NBC on WRC at 14.6/25 (12.3/20), compared with a 13.3/23 (12.5/21) for ABC on WJLA, an 11.3/17 (10.9/16) for Fox on WTTG (at 9:45) and a 9.4/16 (12.1/20) for CBS on WUSA . . .

Late-night news, M-F: WRC leads with a 12.5/25 (11.5/22), followed by WUSA at 8.2/16 (9.2/16) and WJLA at 8.0/16 (7.6/15) . . .

WTTG's 10 o'clock news averaged an 8.8/14 (down from a 10.0/16, despite a healthier lead-in at 9:45), while WDCA's half-hour of UPN20 News at 10 did a 1.3/2 . . . CAPTION: Other Cable ACE Awards

Golden Cable ACE Award: "KNOWTV: Changing What, Why and How You Watch," the Learning Channel, Time Warner Cable.

Governor's Award: Kay Koplovitz, UAS Networks.

Animation Special or Series: "Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist," Comedy Central, HBO Downtown Productions; Nancy Geller, executive producer.

Children's Special or Series -- 6 and Younger: "Dr. Seuss' Daisy-Head Mayzie," Turner Network Television, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc.; Buzz Potamkin, executive producer.

Entertainment/Cultural Documentary Special: "Inside the Dream Factory," Turner Classic Movies; Carl H. Lindahl, executive producer.

Talk Show Series: "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher," Comedy Central, HBO Downtown Productions; Scott Carter, executive producer.

Writing an Entertainment Special: "Dennis Miller Live: America: Where Did Our Sense of Humor Go?," Home Box Office: Jeff Cesario, Ed Driscoll, David Feldman, Eddie Feldmann, Gregory Greenburg, Dennis Miller, Kevin Rooney.

Directing Live Sports Events Coverage Special or Series: Doug Holmes, "ESPN's 1995 Stanley Cup Finals," ESPN.

Educational or Instructional Special or Series: "One Survivor Remembers," Home Box Office; Stephanie Liss, executive producer.

Directing a Movie or Miniseries: John Frankenheimer, "The Burning Season," Home Box Office.