The ratings have done what the Catholic League could not - they've killed "Nothing Sacred." The critically acclaimed series has been given the last rites.

ABC has pulled the show - perhaps permanently - from its schedule because pretty much nobody was watching. Last week's episode was seen by fewer people than any other show on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. (And even some shows on the WB and UPN had larger audiences.)There are still four episodes of this series about a Catholic priest that haven't made it on the air, but ABC is unsure if it will ever air them. (It's possible they could be burned off in the middle of the summer, but don't hold your breath.)

Unfortunately, the only attention the show ever got was when the self-proclaimed Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights - which is not affiliated directly with the Catholic Church - launched a protest against it. ABC showed some fortitude in resisting the campaign, but it couldn't resist all the evidence indicating nobody was watching "Nothing Sacred."

HOW WEIRD: This past Sunday, after the extensive interview with Clinton-accuser Kathleen Willey, CBS went to a commercial for the movie "Primary Colors."

And "Colors," or course, is the new film loosely (no pun intended) based on the 1992 Clinton campaign for the presidency, complete with sexual scandals.

The folks at CBS have admitted that, if they had it to do over again, they would have placed the commercial elsewhere.

MORE EDITIONS: For those of you wondering - no, "Early Edition" has not been canceled. It will return in its regular time slot (Saturdays at 8 p.m.) on April 4.

The show has been away for some time due to CBS giving "The Magnificent Seven" a tryout and because of the network's coverage of the men's NCAA basketball tournament.

MAKING IMPROVEMENTS: CBS is seeking to make some changes in the Tom Selleck sitcom "The Closer," what with the show dropping like a rock in the ratings.

The primary goal? Make it funnier.

Well, duh!

KEEPS ON TICKING: CBS recently finished first in the daytime ratings for the 468th consecutive week.

That's nine years in a row, for those of you keeping count.

The CBS soap "The Young and the Restless' has an even better record than that. It has been daytime's top-rated show for 480 weeks in a row.

Which pretty much proves how much a part habit plays in television viewing, given the fact that "Y&R" is such a flawed show that it can't even keep its time lines straight. It's not unusual to have one pair of actors playing out the same scene for days on end - same wardrobe, same few minutes of time - while other plot lines advance by several days.

Well, duh!

FUTURE SHOCK: Matt Groening, the creator of "The Simpsons," is preparing a new animated series for Fox. Titled "Futurama," it's another comedy about a family - this one living in the year 3000.

It's tentatively penciled in for a midseason debut during the 1998-99 television season.

TOTALLY COOL: How's this for a television music event - a "live" special featuring both Elton John and Billy Joel.

HBO will telecast a concert featuring Captain Fantastic and the Piano Man from Vienna, Austria, on Saturday, June 20. John and Joel will perform separately and together.

That alone might be worth a month's subscription to the pay-cable channel.

PUSHED OUT: "America's Funniest Home Videos" is history - again. The long-running show, which didn't make ABC's fall 1997 scheduled and returned in January, is being sent on hiatus.

(ABC says it will return, but don't be surprised if it doesn't make the network's fall 1998 schedule, either.)

Taking over the Monday at 7 p.m. time slot as of April 6 is an hourlong drama titled "Push." It's about Olympic hopefuls training at a fictional California university.

Think young, beautiful bodies involved in lots of soap-operatic plot convolutions - sort of "Melrose Place" with muscles.