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August 11, 1985|HOWARD ROSENBERG

"WEST 57th," Tuesday, 10 p.m. (2) (8) (Illustrated on the cover)--It's getting to be a tradition.

This is the third consecutive summer that CBS is launching a magazine series. In 1983 it gave America back-to-back series hosted by Charles Kuralt and Bill Moyers. They were good. They were canceled.

Last summer brought "Crossroads," an ill-designed union of Kuralt and Moyers on the same program--following the demise of Kuralt's fleeting "American Parade" series--that was finally beginning to gel as fall neared.

It was canceled.

Now comes a change of address, if not necessarily a change of script. This summer's entry is "West 57th" which appears to have a stronger network commitment than its predecessors. CBS says that "West 57th" will bow in with a six-week run and return later in the season with 13 additional episodes.

Already, sight unseen, it has come under fire from some critics for allegedly being soft, spongy Yuppievision, a determination by CBS to ignore weighty issues and cater to the interests only of upwardly mobile young Americans.

Each episode will emphasize numbers, containing four to six segments, perhaps an indication that stories on "West 57th" will be thinner than those on muckraking "60 Minutes" on CBS and "20/20" on ABC.

The production team is headed by the talented Andrew Lack, a producer and major contributor on last summer's "Crossroads." The reporting staff includes John Ferrugia, Bob Sirott, Jane Wallace and Meredith Vieira, the latter two among those who lost out to Phyllis George in the scramble to succeed Diane Sawyer on "The CBS Morning News."

"West 57th" joins NBC's "American Almanac" as a newcomer to the prime-time magazine arena already long occupied by "60 Minutes" and "20/20."

ON THE COVER: Jane Wallace, John Ferrugia and Meredith Vieira of "West 57th," on the streets of New York.

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