Retails from the script

You won’t have to go to Macy’s basement to find bargains anymore.

The New York retailer announced Tuesday it is launching a 24-hour shopping channel in the fall of 1994.

Backers of “TV Macy’s” include Cablevision Systems Corp., the nation’s fourth-largest MSO, and CBS Television executives Don Hewitt and Tom Leahy. Both exex have small interests in the venture.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Hewitt, executive producer for CBS’ television show “60 Minutes,” will remain with CBS and be involved with the venture as a creative consultant. Leahy, a former president of CBS’ television network, will serve as an adviser to the new venture.

Leahy, who is president of Theater Development Fund, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of taking the top spot as head of the Macy channel. But, he said in an interview, he favored remaining as a consultant.

The move gave a tremendous boost to interactive shopping in general. Rival QVC Network gained 2 3/4, or 4%, to close at $ 70.75 with 569,800 shares trading hands, compared to an average volume of 400,000. Earlier in the day, it peaked at a new 52-week high of $ 72.25. QVC already has offered Saks Fifth Avenue merchandise on its program.

TV Macy’s will carry the same terms with cable operators as other shopping channels. Typically, those programs don’t charge operators to carrying the program. TV Macy’s will follow industry practice by giving operators 5% of gross sales in their franchise area.

Macy’s said it was in discussions with other potential investors.

The company expects to rely on its in-store branded clothes and other goods as the basis for the channel’s merchandise. The channel also will promote the stores to new shoppers.

In a statement, Macy’s chairman, Myron E. Ullman III, said, “When people watch the channel, they will want to come to the store. The prices and our liberal return policy will be the same.”

Cablevision chairman Chuck Dolan estimated that the venture will reach 20 million subscribers when it is launched. Cablevision currently has more than 2 million subscribers, half of whom are in the New York City area.