Between 70 and 75 ABC News employes received dismissal notices yesterday, including "less than 10" at the Washington bureau . . .
Rumors sw,-1 sk,1 of the dismissals had been rife for several weeks at the News division, which had dropped another 200 employes since 1984 . . .
About 1,170 employes remain at the division. Yesterday's dismissals included producers, associate field producers and several unnamed "executives," some of whom chose early retirement . . .
A total of about 20 were fired from the various ABC News bureaus around the world . . .
One on-air reporter in New York lost his job, but otherwise no on-air talent was affected by the cuts . . .
ABC News President Roone Arledge said the dismissals are effective April 11. He said all received "a very good severance" package but admitted it was "a very tough thing to have to do" . . .
Arledge said the dismissals also involve a restructuring of some news operations, a combination of circumstances that "grew out of internal studies that have been going on since last November. It involves the way we produce things" . . .
He said, as a for instance, that staffs of "20/20" and the "Closeups" documentary unit will "use each other's people on projects" in the future. He also said the special events unit will "borrow" personnel from other units as required. The special events unit, he pointed out, has been smaller for some time, since "Nightline" specializes in such stories . . .
The firings come at a time when ABC News is planning at least one additional primetime magazine-type program later this year. The new Capital Cities management, which took control of ABC Inc. in January, has ordered staff cuts throughout the company. Yesterday's dismissals in the News division reportedly were made independently of any Cap Cities orders regarding News . . .
"Overall, I think we'll be streamlined and more efficient, but that's the trend of the times," Arledge said . . .
Sources at ABC News yesterday suggested more cuts can be expected but only in "some areas that overlap with other divisions, such as engineering" . . . Also in the News
A spokesman for CBS' "60 Minutes" yesterday confirmed that the U.S. district attorney in Kansas City, Mo., has subpoenaed film taken by a "60 Minutes" crew at a remote Missouri missile silo site last Friday . . .
The missile site was the scene of an antinuclear protest that resulted in the arrest of five protesters . . .
The "60 Minutes" crew, including correspondent Mike Wallace, producer Paul Fine and sound technician Craig Gibson, was detained for about an hour at the Johnson County jail in Warrensburg, Mo., Friday before being released with no charges filed against them. At the time, CBS film and equipment was seized but it was later released to the "60 Minutes" crew . . .
CBS spokesman Roy Brunette said yesterday, "We are going to resist the subpoena on the grounds that what was in the camera is no different from what eyewitnesses saw and there is no reason to turn it over, in our opinion. There were officials there from the Air Force" . . .
First Assistant U.S. District Attorney Tom Larson in Kansas City yesterday said that "as far as I know, no charges have been filed against" the CBS crew . . .
The five protesters were arrested at the site after paint was sprayed on concrete and a fence cut. Reportedly, federal authorities want to examine the film for use as evidence against the protesters . . .
"Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry" on CBS Sunday night averaged a 20.8 Nielsen rating and a strong 34 percent audience share in Nielsen's 12 major markets between 9 and 11 p.m. . . .
During those same two hours, "The Ten Commandments" on ABC averaged an 18.8/31, while "I Dream of Jeannie -- 15 Years Later" on NBC did a 10.5/18 . . .
Over its full four hours, "The Ten Commandments" averaged a 16.2/28 in the 12 cities . . .
In Washington, "Mrs. Delafield" averaged a 20.9/36 on WDVM, "Ten Commandments" a 17.5/30 on WJLA and "Jeannie" a slim 8.7/15 on WRC . . . For its four hours, "Ten Commandments" averaged a 14.7/26 on Seven . . .
Signing new contracts at Channel 4 are 5 o'clock coanchor and consumer reporter Lea Thompson and legal and business reporter Joe Krebs . . .
And from our If It's Tuesday It Must Be Annapolis file: During the May ratings sweeps, Channel 4's 5 o'clock news team, including Thompson and Dave Marash, will be on the road, broadcasting daily (at least that's the early plan) via satellite from different locations around the Washington area . . .
Sponsors of the "Comic Relief" benefit on Home Box Office Saturday night postponed until today release of any figures on just how much the four-hour appeal for aid to the homeless realized . . .
An early report estimated $2.4 million had been raised but that was based on an extrapolation of preliminary figures and was discounted yesterday . . .
HBO had allowed local cable companies to carry its signal on a free channel, increasing the potential audience Saturday night from 14.5 milliion to 39 million homes . . .
Early reports had the 500-line telephone bank jammed. About 40 comedians showed up for what had been planned as a three-hour program, hosted by Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams . . .
A 90-minute version of the program will be aired on HBO sometime later this month . . .
Money from viewer pledges will be disbursed to Health Care for the Homeless in 18 cities, including Washington . . . Moving Right Along
CBS Entertainment plans a four-hour sequel to last year's eight-hour mini-series "George Washington" . . .
It will be called "Washington II: The Forging of a Nation" and begins in 1788 when the new Constitution has been ratified and the way is cleared for Washington to become our first president . . .
Barry Bostwick and Patty Duke will reprise their roles as George and Martha . . . No air date has been set . . .
And NBC on Monday, April 28, will rebroadcast "An Early Frost," the TV movie about a "traditional American family" coping with the news that their son is dying of AIDS . . .
NBC News, which has been ahead of the other networks in pursuing the story of right-wing cult leader Lyndon H. LaRouche, starting in 1983, plans a two- or three-part series on LaRouche this week on "NBC Nightly News" . . .
Interest renewed in LaRouche two weeks ago when his candidates for lieutenant governor and secretary of state won places on the Democratic state ticket in Illinois, precipitating a major crisis among Democrats there . . .
The segments, containing new material, will be produced by Pat Lynch with correspondent Mark Nykanen reporting . . .
A report by Brian Ross and Ira Silverman on "Nightly News" early in 1984 was followed by a 25-minute report by Lynch and Nykanen for NBC's "First Camera" magazine later that spring . . .
That program precipitated an unsuccessful libel suit against the network by LaRouche, who had been portrayed in the segment as the anti-Semitic leader of a "violence-prone" political cult. NBC also charged that he at one time suggested the assassination of President Carter . . .
NBC's countersuit against the three-time presidential candidate resulted in a $3 million award in punitive damages and $2,000 in actual damages to the network, which had claimed that LaRouche followers played "dirty tricks" on the network by trying to sabotage its interviews for the broadcasts . . .
A federal judge later reduced the award to $202,000, which, Lynch said yesterday, still has not been paid . . .
The "First Camera" report subsequently won both a news Emmy and a duPont-Columbia broadcasting award . . .
Lynch said this week's broadcasts would probe where money for LaRouche's campaigns comes from and the size of his organization . . .
As expected, Redskins coach Joe Gibbs has notified Channel 9 that he will not renew his option with the station for pre-NFL game broadcasts next fall . . .
Sources indicate he has contacted Channel 4, which last year aired a successful interview show featuring George Michael and Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. With the latter's departure from the Skins almost certain, Gibbs would seem to be a reasonable replacement . . .
Channel 7, which featured Skins fullback John Riggins and Frank Herzog last year, is waiting to see what Riggins plans to do, now that he has been released by the ball club. Should he stay in the area, Seven just might stick with Riggo. Meanwhile, the station has expressed no outright interest in Gibbs, who is seeking a considerable increase from the reported $75,000 paid him last season by Nine . . .