ABC was making news over the weekend . . . as management ordered staff cuts at two of the network's eight owned TV stations, and "Good Morning America" canceled a planned week on the French and Italian Riviera next month because of the dicey political situation abroad . . .

WLS in Chicago, despite enjoying a ratings boom, is expected to drop 72 full-time news and engineering positions by the end of the year, with half the cuts expected within the next two weeks. The station will be down to 318 employes by January . . .

KGO in San Francisco eliminated 41 positions from its 400-person staff, although 18 of the jobs were already vacant . . .

The KGO cuts came from among administrative and support staffs . . .

Recently, ABC News in New York cut between 70 and 74 positions, and another 10 or so are expected to be dropped over the next few weeks . . .

Meanwhile, "GMA" has canceled its first-ever international foray -- scheduled for the week of May 5-9 -- that would have taken David Hartman and Joan Lunden and the rest of the gang to Portofino, Monte Carlo, Nice and Cannes . . .

Instead, the show will examine domestic travel opportunities that week . . .

In a statement Friday, Executive Producer Phyllis McGrady said, "More and more, Americans have demonstrated that because of the uncertain climate abroad, they prefer to do their traveling within the United States and nearby countries" . . .

"It was a very difficult decision for Phyllis to make," said "GMA" spokesman Jachelene De Mave. "There is just a different mood about [international] travel now" . . .

NBC's peripatetic "Today" show will be casting off from Charleston, S.C., later in May for a five-day cruise down the East Coast to Miami on the S.S. Norway . . . and had already planned a three-day series on domestic vacation travel starting April 28 . . .

"Today" Executive Producer Steve Friedman, who had earlier questioned whether "GMA" could put together a European trip on relatively short notice, said Friday that "people are going to the Eastern bloc nations because they feel security is tight there. You know, the people at Disney World are licking their lips about this summer" . . .

Live programs such as "Today" and "GMA" could be terrorist targets, Friedman conceded. "You always think about what could happen on a live show, then you usually go ahead," he said. "If somebody really wants to do something, no amount of security will stop them" . . .

During the week of May 5, McGrady said, "GMA" will offer "fun-filled, offbeat, affordable vacation ideas for summer 1986" for families, couple and singles "in our own back yard: Canada, Hawaii, the Caribbean and Mexico." Added De Mave: "And with gas prices down, we'll look at automobile vacations every day, too" . . . Also in the News

On the Morning Front, it turns out that Susan Winston, who recently signed a multiyear deal with CBS News to be director of morning planning, isn't a shoo-in to eventually become executive producer of "CBS Morning News" . . .

She will begin cogitating about the problems of "Morning News" on May 5 but she has also signed on to cogitate about other program concepts. Turns out she and CBS will both have to agree that she should move to the program as executive producer once she's decided on a game plan for the program . . .

The "Morning News" analysis could take months . . .

The International Radio and Television Society in New York has named "Today" anchors Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel as Broadcasters of the Year. They'll be honored at a June 18 luncheon . . .

CBS shareholders will meet Wednesday in Philadelphia . . .

Channel 9 anchor J.C. Hayward will have a speaking part on the April 23 episode of the CBS soap opera "Capitol" . . .

Hayward and her crew, including producer Brigitte McCray and cameraman Rick Armstrong, recently spent two weeks in L.A., where "Capitol" is produced, interviewing celebrities for later broadcast on Nine . . .

The crew from Nine will appear on the soap opera as J.C., playing herself, interviews Zed on the occasion of his renewal of wedding vows . . . Wait, There's More

ABC News White House correspondent Sam Donaldson entertained the 1,300 guests at the 42nd annual Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner Thursday night . . .

He jumped on the stage to dance a little and sing -- to the tune of "The Rain in Spain" from "My Fair Lady" -- "immense expense is mainly in defense" . . .

The April 28 issue of Fortune has a brief profile of Channel 50's new owner, Nolanda Hill, in its "People to Watch" section . . .

In addition to WFTY and a station in Worcester, Mass., Fortune said Hill, 41, has just received permission from the Federal Communications Commission to start another UHF station in her home base of Dallas . . .

"With three stations in the top 10 U.S. markets," says Fortune, "Hill Broadcasting is about to sign a letter of intent to pick up one in Milwaukee. That should put Hill well on the way to her goal of five stations by the end of next year" . . .

Incidentally, WFTY was one of the stations around the country that were going to carry the canceled "A Concert That Counts" on April 26 . . .

Also on the Travel Front: "NBC Nightly News" commentator John Chancellor is taking off for a trip around the Pacific Rim that will take him to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bali and the Philippines . . .

His first on-air commentary from the Pacific is scheduled for next week. . .

CBS Sports reports that its 11 regular-season NBA games averaged a 7.1 Nielsen rating, the pro basketball league's best ratings since the 1974-75 season, and up 11 percent from last year's performance . . . And Finally

The Associated Press reports from Tecumseh, Neb., that "actor Robert Urich won't buy a truck from a local auto dealer he met while filming the [ABC] mini-series 'Amerika' because he got a better deal from the company that makes the vehicle, the dealer said Thursday . . .

"Don Brinkman said the actor, who had been in this community of 1,900 residents since March 31 to film the ABC mini-series, agreed Wednesday to buy the Chevrolet Suburban . . .

"Urich, who also stars in the TV series 'Spenser: For Hire,' canceled the order later Wednesday because General Motors Corp. offered him a better deal, Brinkman said . . .

"The price was not disclosed. ABC-TV spokesman Bill Wilkens confirmed that Urich had changed his mind about buying the truck from Brinkman . . .

" 'It's kind of a thrill to deal with a person like that,' Brinkman said before the deal fell through. 'And yet, he seems to be on the same level as a common person' " . . .

And then there's the "Mayflower Madam," Sydney Biddle Barrows, who this weekend auditioned to become cohost of a syndicated TV show, "Comedy Tonight," being produced by WNYW in New York . . .

"I don't want to be known as the Mayflower Madam the rest of my life," said Barrows, who was arrested in 1984 for running a prostitution service and received a $5,000 fine . . .

"I want to show that I can handle a position like this," Barrows said . . .