Now Here's the News: Veteran CBS News correspondent Charles Collingwood died yesterday in Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. He had been suffering from cancer . . .
Mr. Collingwood, 68, joined CBS in 1941 and was part of the famed team assembled in Europe by Edward R. Murrow for the network during World War II. He retired four years ago . . .
According to a spokesman for CBS News, his longtime friend Eric Sevareid visited Mr. Collingwood yesterday and Dan Rather had visited him before leaving earlier this week for Paris. Last night on "CBS Evening News," Rather delivered a moving tribute to his colleague, whom he remembered as "a great gentleman" . . .
Top executives at ABC News yesterday "voted unanimously" against airing a 14-minute segment on last night's "20/20" that alleged a romantic link between the late Robert F. Kennedy and screen actress Marilyn Monroe . . .
A 17-minute version reportedly was scheduled to air on an earlier broadcast this fall of "20/20" but was pulled at the last minute, ostensibly in favor of Mexican earthquake coverage . . .
The decision to kill it entirely was made yesterday. A piece on a drug-sniffing police dog was substituted for the Monroe segment, according to a program spokesman . . .
As originally put together the piece was 25 minutes long, according to ABC News President Roone Arledge, who said yesterday that the initial decision to cut the Monroe piece was based on his belief that devoting "two-thirds of a whole broadcast to the subject was giving it inordinate importance" . . .
The segment was cut even further over the weekend and all this week an ad hoc group of executives that included Arledge, ABC Vice President for News Policy Bob Seigenthaler, Senior Vice President Richard Wald and Joanna Bistany, Arledge's assistant, met periodically to discuss the piece . . .
Vice President David Burke, who had been a top strategist for Robert Kennedy, asked to be excused from the meetings, according to Arledge . . .
"The basis of the piece as originally done," Arledge said, "was an attempt to follow up on allegations that there were links between organized crime and Marilyn Monroe and President Kennedy and the attorney general that could have compromised the presidency" . . .
Arledge said that "after three attempts to get the piece in some kind of shape I said to myself 'this is not the stuff of which prime-time magazine shows are made of' " . . .
He said "it ended up with some people who said they'd participated in bugging Peter Lawford's and Marilyn Monroe's houses for Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa but they couldn't produce the tapes or any firsthand evidence. I just didn't think it was ready" . . .
As for suggestions that the Monroe piece was shelved because of his longstanding friendship with Robert Kennedy's widow, Ethel, Arledge said "let them say what they want" . . .
"The other executives and I made the decision on journalistic grounds. If in the future some hard evidence can be shown that proves the Kennedy relationship with Monroe somehow affected history and the presidency, we could run a piece" . . .
Anthony Summers, whose best-selling "Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe" was a major source of "20/20" research for the segment, said yesterday from Los Angeles that the last-minute debate over the segment proved "there was a sudden attack of cold feet on the executive level" at ABC . . .
"I've been aware for months that journalists whom I admire on the '20/20' program have been pursuing the evidence I uncovered concerning Monroe's relationships with both President Kennedy and his brother Robert and in particular with Robert Kennedy's behavior the weekend Monroe died in 1962 . . .
"I understand that '20/20' researchers not only confirmed the information I had gathered but took it further so that in some aspects the producers felt they had a world scoop on their hands" . . .
Summers, who at the time of the telephone conversation was unaware that ABC had cancelled the segment, added that "I am a reporter by training and the '20/20' program is internationally respected for its journalists' determined pursuit of the facts and their integrity in transmitting the facts fearlessly. Even if it is transmitted in its truncated form the Monroe segment will be thin-blooded, indeed, compared to the major hard story '20/20' journalists actually prepared. This result is a sorry day for journalism at ABC and one which its executives will surely regret" . . .
Summers said he has served as a consultant for a one-hour version of the same story due to air on BBC later this month and had been interviewed for the "20/20" program . . .
Av Westin, the executive in charge of "20/20," could not be reached for comment yesterday. Arledge confirmed, however, that producers of the Monroe segment "weren't thrilled" by the top-level decision . . . Also in the News
Veteran CBS correspondent Ed Rabel is leaving the network at the end of this month . . .
His slot with the "CBS Evening News" in the Washington bureau was one of some nine that were eliminated in the recent budget-cutting round and Rabel was asked to move to the Dallas bureau . . .
Reached in Dallas yesterday, Rabel said he is "leaving for personal reasons" and that his parting with CBS News after 19 years "has been amicable." He said he had about five months to run on his current contract . . .
Friends said that Rabel is due to be married in December and that both he and his fiance' preferred to remain in this area . . .
Character actor Sidney Clute, who portayed Detective Paul LaGuardia on the CBS series "Cagney & Lacey," died Wednesday of cancer in a Santa Monica, Calif., hospital. He was 69 . . .
His illness had prevented his appearance in new episodes of the series this fall, according to a publicist for the show . . .
NBC yesterday won the rights to telecast the 1988 Summer Olympics from Seoul, South Korea. The network is expected to pay approximately $360 million and up, depending on a formula based on advertising revenues . . .
NBC White House correspondent Robin Lloyd was arrested yesterday in Cincinnati and charged with disorderly conduct and assault for crossing a police barricade at a hotel where President Reagan was speaking . . .
According to a spokesman for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department, Lloyd tried to cross a security barricade set up outside the Clarion Hotel . . .
When asked to stop, Lloyd became disorderly, according to chief deputy Victor Carrelli. "Lloyd then shoved and pulled away from the officer," he said. "He began yelling obscenities in front of a large crowd. He was asked numerous times to stop, he refused and he was arrested" . . .
Lloyd appeared before a Hamilton County municipal judge and was released on his own recognizance. A trial date will be set today. Lloyd returned to the White House late yesterday afternoon . . .