Now Here's the News

In an unusual move aimed right at the Monday night male audience in Washington . . . Channel 7 is scrapping the last half hour of its early news show on Mondays this fall in favor of the tentatively titled "John Riggins Show" at 6:30 p.m. . . .

The celebrated Redskins fullback has signed for 13 shows over 15 weeks starting Monday, Sept. 16. He will be joined on the program by WJLA sportscaster Frank Herzog . . .

Riggins appeared weekly on Seven last fall in brief conversations with Herzog during regular newscasts . . .

Over the past several years, Seven has detected a growing Monday night trend during the football season that begins in the early evening, as the male audience increases in anticipation of the ABC Monday Night Football game at 9 p.m. . . .

This year ABC has underscored that trend by scheduling "Hardcastle & McCormick," another male-oriented show, at 8 p.m. Mondays as a lead-in to the NFL game . . .

Tom Cookerly, president and general manager of Seven, said yesterday that Riggins "is the consummate football professional with a good future in broadcasting. We're delighted to have him" . . .

With the revised schedule, Renee Poussaint and Wes Sarginson will wind up 90 minutes of early evening news at 6:30 . . . West 57th II

In the second outing of its current six-week run Tuesday night, CBS News' "West 57th" averaged a 9.7 rating and a 17 percent audience share in the 10 major Nielsen markets . . .

That compares with an opening night 10.9/19 average in the 10-city overnights on Aug. 13 (which turned into a 10.5/19 in the national ratings) . . .

One possible reason for the magazine's slight audience decline: This past Tuesday night, New York Mets pitching ace Dwight Gooden was striking out 16 San Francisco Giants on WOR in New York . . .

"West 57th" averaged only an 8.3/14 in the Big Apple and even dropped to a 7.4/13 in the second half hour there as Doctor K flirted with a couple of strikeout records . . .

A week earlier, the New York TV market, biggest in the country, had contributed a 10.4/18 to the "West 57th" overnight average . . .

Locally, "West 57th" did a 9.0/16 on Channel 9 on Tuesday, compared with a 10.1/20 on opening night . . .

Variety reported yesterday that CBS News and the Associated Press have been discussing a news-sharing arrangement that would "fall just short of a merger between the two companies" . . .

The plan, according to the trade magazine, would be "to place a CBS reporter and camera crew in every AP bureau around the globe. Presumably CBS would retain its larger bureaus but would be able to close down the smaller ones. CBS officials refuse to comment on the talks, but one executive said the discussions were at the 'hopeful' stage -- hopeful such a link would enormously enhance its news-gathering ability" . . .

The Variety article points out that CBS News is under "mounting pressure" from CBS Inc. to hold down overall costs . . .

Variety is referring to recent reports that the News division has been ordered to find a way to cut $6 million from its current estimated annual budget of $225 million . . .

CBS News executives have been huddling for several weeks to discuss the various options available to the division in making those cuts and an announcement of their decisions is expected within a couple of weeks . . .

Yesterday, however, Van Gordon Sauter, executive vice president of CBS/Broadcast Group, who is in charge of the news division, branded the talks with AP as only "conceptual, exploratory" and said "the News division is not involved in any of it. So far there's been nothing of consequence" . . .

Sauter said that "fundamentally, a year ago, we approached the AP to see if it would be valuable to consider creation of a new venture that would distribute international video news . . .

"There was never a discussion of a merger and the discussions that have been held have taken place sporadically and at a very low level" . . .

Sauter, former president of CBS News, said he expected the low-level talks to continue . . . Also in the News

There's been a shake-up at the ABC News bureau in Los Angeles, where David Glodt has replaced Bill Knowles as bureau chief . . .

Glodt's assistant will be Kathy O'Hearn, who has been named assignment manager . . .

Glodt had been senior producer for operations for weekend news and "This Week With David Brinkley" in New York. O'Hearn had been national security editor for ABC News in Washington . . .

As Washington bureau chief for ABC in 1981-82, Knowles was in charge of the massive move of bureau headquarters on Connecticut Avenue to its present quarters at 1717 DeSales St. ABC News said yesterday Knowles is leaving the network "to pursue other interests" . . .

As L.A. bureau chief, Glodt will be responsible for all West Coast operations, including bureaus at Denver and San Francisco . . .

ABC News officials in New York yesterday denied the changes in Los Angeles had anything to do with budget trimming at the network, which is expected to cost the ABC News division about 35 jobs before the year is out . . .

Also at ABC News, Jeff Gralnick, formerly vice president and executive producer of political broadcasts, has been named vice president and executive producer of special programming . . .

CBS is changing the generic name of its late weeknight programming from "CBS Late Movie" to "CBS Late Night," as of Sept. 23 . . .

The host of NBC's "Late Night With David Letterman" took note of the change Tuesday night on his taped broadcast when he called the office of George Berntsen, CBS vice president for feature films and late night TV out in Los Angeles to complain that "I thought the name was already taken" . . .

Letterman has had a running gag about the CBS late-night lineup, complaining there are no movies on the "CBS Late Movie" lineup (actually, there are but they run very late, after the series reruns) . . .

Letterman never got through to Berntsen but he had fun with the CBS executive's secretary, named Audrey . . .

Incidentally, this fall's "CBS Late Night" lineup will include, Mondays through Thursdays, "Remington Steele," "Simon & Simon," "T.J. Hooker" and "Night Heat," with movies following each series plus a movie on Friday night . . .

Channel 5's "Capital City Magazine" has a rare 23-minute interview with Robert Green, the beleaguered president of the University of the Distict of Columbia set for Saturday night . . .

Taped on Tuesday, it will air at 10:30 p.m. . . . with questions from James Adams and Morris Jones . . .

That Redskins-L.A. Raiders game on NBC Sunday afternoon averaged a 10.3 rating and a 24 percent audience in the 10 Nielsen markets . . . including a 29.5/53 on WRC here . . .

And in case you missed it, the sold-out Skins-Patriots game tomorrow night at RFK will air on Channel 5, with pregame show starting at 7:30 . . .