When KSL yanked "Doctor, Doctor" off the air a few weeks ago, the station was actually out in front of the network.

CBS pulled the plug on the sitcom this week.Ch. 5 was worried about the adult nature of the comedy on "Doctor, Doctor." CBS was worried about the ratings, which were lousy.

So the good "Doctor" will make his last house call on Jan. 3 before heading off into hiatus land. (A few unaired episodes remain, and the network says they'll be seen at some point - but not on Ch. 5.)

And here's betting that reruns of the show will end up on one of the cable channels next year.

Jan 3. is also the date that KSL will stop inflicting . . . er, uh, programming reruns of the "The Cosby Show" on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.

CBS (and KSL) will replace "Doctor" with "Good Sports," a half-hour sitcom starring Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal, which will premiere Jan. 10.

The real-life couple will star as a pair of "mismatched anchors at an all-sports cable network," according to the network.

Theirs is a love/hate relationship. (Is this art imitating life, or what?) Fawcett plays Gayle Roberts, "a former supermodel now making a career in sports journalism," and

O'Neal plays "Downtown" Bobby Tannen, "the former bad boy of pro football, known for his quick temper and wasted talent."

Let's just hope that's not an omen of things to come.

FUNNY BUSINESS: Well, the war of the laughs is over - cable competitors The Comedy Channel and HA! have finally called off their battle and agreed to merge.

Here in Utah, we haven't had a chance to see either the HBO-owned Comedy Channel or the MTV Network's HA! - and we're not alone. Both channels had a tough time getting on many cable systems as the cable operators sat back and waited to see who would win the war.

The new Comedy TV will combine the programming of both networks - old sitcoms, original programs and standup - and will be available 24 hours a day.

But will we see it in Utah?

Well, maybe. TCI is at least looking into the situation, but it may wait a while to see how Comedy TV does in other markets.

But at least it's now a possibility.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE: What with the American viewing public rejecting en masse the 30-plus new shows on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox this fall, here's a commentary that seems particularly apropos:

"A whopping 94 percent of viewers think the current season's TV programs are worse than programs of past years. While the reasons giver were diversified and sometimes contradictory, the most widespread themes were sameness, repetition, imitation and lack of imagination."

Sounds like it's written for the 1990 TV season, doesn't it?

Well, it wasn't - the quote is actually a quarter of a century old. From North American Newspaper Alliance reporter Jack Boyle, it appeared in the Deseret News on Jan 1, 1966.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

BACK IN THE SADDLE: CBS will rebroadcast the miniseries "Lonesome Dove" Jan. 20, 22, 23, 24.