NBC has been telling viewers that "prime time starts at 7:30 this fall." But that's a bit misleading.

What's really happening is that the five NBC-owned stations -- WRC here, and stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Cleveland -- are using the 7:30 "prime-time access" slot for a set of five sitcoms -- a different one each week-night. Other NBC affiliates can run whatever they want during that time.

The five sitcoms were selected from nearly 75 pilots considered by NBC television stations division president Al Jerome and his vice president for programming, Wes Harris. Monday night's entry is "Marblehead Manor," Tuesday night's is "She's the Sheriff," Wednesday it's "You Can't Take It With You," Thursday it's "Out of This World" and Friday's offering is "We Got It Made." All of them are newcomers except "We Got It Made," which went around a couple of season ago. These episodes are new ones.

The five shows are also up for syndication, so you may see them on other stations.

Weekdays, WRC airs the new "Wil Shriner Show" at 9 a.m. and runs a game show, "Win, Lose or Draw" at 11:30 a.m. (with a different installment at 4 p.m.). "Headlines on Trial" begins its second season at midnight Sunday, and "The Arch Campbell Show" gets moved to late-late-night Saturday, at 3 a.m. Elsewhere at Channel 4, Susan Kidd and Joel Spivak are taking the news-anchor seats at 5, Dave Marash and Jim Vance at 6 and Marash and Vance at 11.

On Tuesday, WJLA, which recently acquired newscaster Susan King from Four, begins the city's first closed-captioned news designed for the hearing-impaired: "The Late Edition" at 11 p.m., including King's "Cover Story." The program will be repeated at 1:30 a.m.

This week, Seven begins new "Truth or Consequences" with host Larry Anderson weekdays at 9:30 a.m., and more recycled "Magnum, P.I." at 4 weekdays.

WTTG continues its monthly local specials at 8, called "Eight O'Clock Hot," and 8:30, called "WTTG Reports." The next ones up, set for Sept. 22, are "Hail to the Redskins' Wives" and "Jamming in Washington" (traffic jams).

Also scheduled: Oct. 21, "Washington Scandals -- Fanne Fox to Gary Hart" and "Washington's Top Scams -- Con Games and How to Spot Them." Nov. 11 you'll see "Laughing All the Way to the White House: A Satirical Glimpse at the Campaign Trail," with Art Buchwald, Mark Russell and the Capitol Steps, and "The Bad Guys: Stories of Top Drug Dealers, Killers and White Collar Thieves Still on the Run." Specials for Dec. 9 are "Christmas Fantasy: A Video Version of the World's Most Expensive Christmas Gifts" and "Christmas Fear: Toys (for Adults and Children) That Are Hazardous to Your Health."

For children, WTTG plans to carry a new Disney animation, "Duck Tales," a two-hour special on Friday at 8, then airing at 4:30. A new series of Hanna-Barbera specials begins Sept. 20 at noon with the two-hour "Yogi Bear and the Great Escape." And this Wednesday, Five offers another in its "For Kids' Sake" specials, "Working It Out: Kids and Race."

Beginning Thanksgiving Day and for several school holidays during the year, Five will skip its daytime programming entirely and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. will devote the day to Disney productions.

Tuesday, WTTG will carry the two-hour "National AIDS Test" beginning at 8. And Nov. 2 through 6, WTTG plans to air a controversial miniseries called "Shaka Zulu." Each night's installment will run from 8 to 10 p.m. The production was filmed in South Africa and was shown there on the non-government channel.

On Nov. 8, WTTG will attempt the first live coverage of the annual Marine Corps Marathon, from 9 a.m. to noon.

WUSA, the CBS affiliate, picks up several syndicated shows this season: "Star Search" (Fridays at 1 a.m.), "The New American Bandstand" (Saturdays at noon), and "George Schlatter's Comedy Club" (Saturdays at midnight).

WUSA's "Redskins' Sidelines," now in its 15th season, runs at 7:30 p.m. most Saturdays throughout the season (at 2:30 on Dec. 26). Glenn Brenner and former Redskins quarterback Sonny Jurgenson host. The show is taped on Wednesday evenings except for tapings on Tuesdays, Nov. 24 and Dec. 22. The annual show from Children's Hospital will be taped Thursday, Nov. 12, but no tickets are available for the public.

"Countdown to Kickoff" returns today at noon for its second season with Jurgensen and his former teammate Sam Huff. "Countdown" airs Sundays (except Saturday, Dec. 6, when it airs at 3 p.m.) and is taped Friday evenings (except Saturday, Sept. 26; Wednesday, Nov. 25, and Wednesday, Dec. 23).

To attend tapings, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to either "Redskins' Sidelines" or "Countdown to Kickoff," WUSA, 4001 Brandywine St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20016.

High school sports are covered on WUSA by two programs: "All-American High School Sports Report" (6:30 a.m. Saturdays), hosted by Olympic Gold Medalist gymnast Bart Connor and sportscaster Sharlene Wells, and "Fastbreak," produced by Channel 9, which returns in January for its fourth season to spotlight area high school basketball teams. Sportscaster James Brown and DeMatha High School coach Morgan Wooten will host.

WDCA gets a couple of significant newcomers: "Star Trek: The Next Generation," with a new cast and crew, will begin Oct. 3 at 8 with a two-hour pilot and then run Saturdays at 6 beginning Oct. 10. Channel 20 also gets "The New Monkees," a younger version of the wacky quartet, airing at 5:30 Saturdays after "Webster" reruns.

WDCA will begin the recycled "Cheers" with four back-to-back episodes on Sept. 25, then two episodes each weeknight at 6:30 and 7. Late-night newcomers include "Alfred Hitchcock" at 10, "Tales From the Darkside" at 10:30, "Love Connection" at 11 and "Dating Game" at 11:30.

On Saturdays, Channel 20 will carry four hours of Westerns beginning at noon. New weekday children's programming includes "DynaSaucers," "Comic Strip," "Teddy Ruxpin," "Jem," "Brave Star" and "The Brady Bunch."

WFTY has a new general manager, Andy Ockershausen, and is setting out to improve its offerings. This fall, Channel 50 adds a different pro wrestling program -- including women wrestlers -- each afternoon at 5, extending its pro wrestling offerings to seven days a week. Other additions: reruns of the original "Untouchables" at 7 weeknights, before the two-hour movie at 8; "The 50-Yard Line" (Sundays at 7:30 p.m.) covering local high school football. The station will have a college game every Saturday at noon, and a local Redskins show Saturdays at 11 p.m. during the season. Pete Wysocki and George Starke are hosting, with Tony Kornheiser's commentary, and Doug (Greaseman) Tracht will join on Sept. 19. Also premiering at 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 is "Washington Style," a half-hour program looking at entertainment, fashion and music with "video personals" and area celebrities signed up to host. First up: a profile of Blues Alley.

New acquisitions are "Richard Simmons' Slim-Cooking" weekdays at 2:30, followed by a new game show, "Matchmaker," and a new Saturday schedule: "Bustin' Loose," based on the Richard Pryor movie, at 5; "It's a Living" with Ann Jillian at 5:30; "At the Movies" with Rex Reed at 6, and "The Spectacular World of Guinness Records" with David Frost at 6:30. Sundays at 10, Channel 50 adds "The Computer Show," an hour-long users guide.

At WETA, "Independent View," a weekly series showcasing the works of film and video producers in the District, Maryland and Virginia, gets its season premiere Sept. 30 at 11.

Other Channel 26 offerings include: "New Towns," focusing on the 50th anniversary of Greenbelt, Md., on Oct. 9, and a week of horror films beginning Oct. 26 starting with "The Bride of Frankenstein." And on Nov. 6, WETA presents "AIDS: Changing the Rules" with Ron Reagan as host, which will be carried by other PBS stations.

WHMM will resume its live local show, "Evening Exchange" Monday through Friday at 7, and its taped magazine-format show, "Just for You," Mondays at 8, and will begin a new series, "Minority Business Report," a combination live-with-tape show, premiering Oct. 6 at 8.

Channel 32 has also acquired "Black Film Focus" (Fridays at 8), "Go Tell It" narrated by Benjamin Hooks (Tuesdays at 10:30), and "In Black and White," a magazine-format interview show, runs Tuesdays at 10.

WNVC and WNVT, Channels 53 and 56, offer a variety of new programs this fall as well as their usual plethora of college football, basketball and hockey games. Both stations also plan to begin pro wrestling coverage, Fridays on 56, Saturdays on 53.

Among the new series are "Exit 13," half-hour performances of musical groups and humorists, airing Tuesdays at 11:30 on 56; Channel 53's "Currents," a series examining issues of social change, on Sundays at 5, and a new General Education Development (GED) Series every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 on 53. The GED series is hosted by Wally (Famous) Amos, spokesman for Literacy Volunteers of America, who got his GED certificate while serving in the Air Force.

Channel 56's "Southeastern Outdoors," debuting at 10 on Sept. 22, is produced by a Virginian, David Gilley. The first installment includes material on lakes, camping and outdoor activities in Virginia.

Both channels will cover local elections, including the race for Fairfax County board of supervisors chairman and the Fairfax Democrats state senate race.