News flash! CBS Chief Takes Rap For Ratings Skid! (ometimes, the Daily Variety headline writer in me just bubbles to the surface.)

In an unusual move for a network bigwig, CBS chief Laurence Tisch told his network affiliates in Los Angeles Sunday that the Big Eye's first-ever third-place finish was his fault. If he had not urged his programmers to make the disastrous move of dropping the Tuesday night movie from the schedule in favor of four sitcoms, "we would not have ended up in third place," he said.But he promised affiliates that rebuilding the network's once-proud prime time tradition will be his "absolute highest" priority.

And he vowed to leave the programming decisions to his programmers.