John Goldsmith, the Peabody Award-winning Channel 9 reporter, has left the station after three years . . .

Goldsmith exercised an option in his contract that permitted him to leave, and the parting (as of last Friday) is amicable . . . to the point that Goldsmith, after taking some time out to attend to family business affairs (he is one of the Oscar Mayer weenie Goldsmiths) could return to Nine on a part-time basis within a matter of months . . .

Nine news director Dave Pearce, who yesterday called Goldsmith "a fine man, very talented," said he hopes to talk to John about returning shortly after the first of the year . . .

Goldsmith attracted national attention last January with his live, on-the-scene reports from the Air Florida crash . . . segments of which gave CBS News a clear beat on the tragedy that afternoon around the country . . .

He won a Peabody Award for his year-end half-hour special on Nine marking the end of 1981 . . .

Goldsmith reportedly hasn't been all that happy with his latest assignment to an interview segment on Nine's 5 p.m. news show . . .

That, in particular, and a growing disillusion with the state of TV news in general, apparently led to his decision to leave the medium for a while . . .

In a telephone conversation yesterday . . . Goldsmith said he had been happy working at Nine and stressed that his departure had nothing to do with the recent shake-up in the news operation there, which saw Betty Endicott replaced by Pearce last October . . .

Goldsmith, who started in radio at WWDC here 20 years ago, said he might even try teaching . . .

Goldsmith moved to TV and Channel 5 as a co-anchor in 1968 and after a hiatus in the business world during the mid-'70s joined Nine in 1979 . . .

Two late-hour corporate grants . . . totaling $850,000 . . . have saved Channel 26's award-winning "The Lawmakers" from cancellation at the end of the year . . .

In the past, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting had furnished a large share of the $1.4 million required to air the weekly review of Congress each year, but those funds have dried up . . .

Since October, WETA has been carrying "Lawmakers" with its own funds . . .

CPB president Ed Pfister said yesterday that no decision on additional funds for "Lawmakers" will be made until February . . . when the Corporation reviews the status of all public affairs shows on PBS in light of the funding shortage currently facing the system . . .

(This week's TV Guide reports that sources close to Pfister say that the CPB president "thinks the U.S. Congress isn't worth a show," but Pfister said yesterday that "of course, Congress is worth covering. It deserves even more programming," adding that he is "perfectly willing to talk about more funds for 'Lawmakers' " pending the February reviews) . . .

Last Friday the Sun Co. came through with $500,000 and the American Council of Life Insurance (which last year donated $250,000) upped its annual contribution to $350,000, enough to keep the weekly review on the air . . .

Since the station has guaranteed a 52-week run to the corporate contributors, WETA is looking for additional corporate funds and meanwhile is hoping CPB will change its mind about funding before next year is out . . .

Last year the CPB contribution was augmented not only by the ACLI grant but also by another $250,000 from LTV . . .

Front-running CBS is fine-tuning its prime-time schedule again . . . moving "Walt Disney" from Saturday at 8 to Tuesday at 8 and moving "Bring 'Em Back Alive" from Tuesday at 8 to Saturday at 8 . . .

The flip-flop will take place the first week in January . . .

Both shows have finished in the bottom one-third of the weekly ratings most of the fall season . . .

After three nights of its annual December fund-raising drive, Channel 26 has $77,000 in pledges . . .

The current drive, which ends Dec. 15, is seeking $350,000 . . .