After heated debate with the other networks, ABC announced yesterday that it will pool its coverage of the news segments of the opening ceremonies at Liberty Weekend . . .

Of the 2 1/2 hours of festivities surrounding the official unveiling of the renovated Statue of Liberty on July 3, ABC has agreed to increase the amount of coverage it will share from nine to a total of 16 minutes . . .

ABC has decided to pool coverage of remarks by President Reagan, Navy Secretary John Lehman, Interior Secretary Donald Hodel and Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Chairman Lee Iacocca as well as Reagan's unveiling of the statue and lighting of the torch . . .

A spokeswoman for CNN confirmed yesterday that an oral agreement with ABC had been reached. An NBC spokeswoman maintained that such an agreement was imminent, and CBS' spokeswoman said that negotiations were still under way . . .

Channel 9 has announced that Walterene Swanston, who has been with the station for five years, has been named executive editor of "Eyewitness News" . . .

CLANGER OF THE WEEK (Vivid Lead Department): Introducing his story of the Supreme Court's 5-to-4 decision on abortion Wednesday night on "CBS Evening News," law correspondent Fred Graham called it a "scalpel-thin margin" . . .

ONGOING CLANGER: The Arts & Entertainment cable network's introduction to the old CBS series "Airpower," which every Wednesday night says the series tells the story of "the infamous battles of World War II" (well, I guess you had to be there) . . .

CBS, which finished second in primetime last season after a six-year run in first place, moves into the limelight over the weekend out here . . .

Already the big-ticket item is a press conference with Tom Selleck of "Magnum, P.I." on Saturday afternoon, a rare appearance by any top-flight CBS star, even if he didn't twinkle as brightly last season . . .

Meanwhile there are conflicting reports as to just how promising CBS' fall schedule will be . . .

A recent internal memo from Scott T. Michels, who heads CBS affiliate relations, to Entertainment Division bosses Bud Grant and Kim LeMasters tells of an unusually positive response from those affiliates during their recent meeting with CBS here . . .

"Never before," said Michels, "have the affiliates felt so positive about our new programs" after the two CBS execs made a presentation to the 200-plus station managers . . .

On the other hand, CBS executives were very dismayed yesterday morning to read in Hollywood Reporter that Grant Tinker, the NBC chairman, respected as a "class act" in the industry . . . had offered a rare prediction regarding next season that put CBS in third place . . .

At Tinker's farewell address before the NBC affiliates meeting in Maui, according to the trade paper, he said, "It may be a little unseemly for a chairman to even get into this, but as I look at the three networks' schedules, I think ABC is the one that is on the comeback trail . . .

"If CBS believes what they are saying, that we had a good year and that they had the same year they had last year, I really think that they're in worse trouble than they know. And before they can catch up again the competition will be light years ahead" . . .

Tinker incidentally confirmed to the affiliates that he will be leaving NBC, now that the purchase of parent RCA and NBC by General Electric has been approved, most likely by the end of the year . . .

It's Award Time

Finalists for the 1986 Humanitas Prizes for "humanizing achievement in television writing" were announced yesterday at a luncheon here . . .

Winners in the three primetime categories for the 12th annual Humanitas Prizes will be announced this coming Thursday.

Nominatedin the 30-minute category for a $10,000 prize was David Lloyd, who wrote the pilot for ABC's "Mr. Sunshine." Also nominated were John Marcus for the "Denise's Friend" episode of NBC's "The Cosby Show" and Matt Williams for "An Early Spring" on "The Cosby Show" . . .

In the 60-minute category for a $15,000 prize, the nominees were Robert Eisele for "The Ordinary Hero" episode of CBS' "Cagney and Lacey," which dealt with the Sanctuary Movement; Channing Gibson, John Masius and Tom Fontana for the "Sanctuary" episode of NBC's "St. Elsewhere"; and Bruce Franklin Singer for the "Every Daughter's Father Is a Virgin" episode of ABC's "Moonlighting" . . .

In the 90-minute or more category for a $25,000 prize, the nominees were Clifford Campion for CBS' "Love, Mary"; Darlene Craviotto for NBC's "Love Is Never Silent"; and Vickie Patik for CBS' "Do You Remember Love?" . . .

Nominated in the children's live-action category for a $10,000 prize were Josef Anderson for the ABC Afterschool Special "No Greater Gift"; Jeanne Betancourt for the ABC Afterschool Special "Don't Touch"; and Alan L. Gansberg and Judith M. Gansberg for the CBS Schoolbreak Special "Have You Tried Talking to Patty?" . . .

And the Television Critics Association, which is gamely trying to establish its own awards as meaningful industry prizes (but for the second straight year embargoed its own members from releasing the news until everybody else had it) this week named Walter Cronkite winner of its career achievement award . . .

The CBS veteran beat out ABC's Roone Arledge, CBS' Bill Moyers, NBC's Brandon Tartikoff and producer David Wolper . . .

The program of the year category produced two winners: CBS' "Death of a Salesman" and "CBS Reports: The Vanishing Family -- Crisis in Black America" . . .

"The Cosby Show" on NBC was named outstanding comedy . . .

"Death of a Salesman" was named top drama, ignoring Captain Airwaves' pleas on behalf of PBS' "Anne of Green Gables" . . .

PBS' "WonderWorks" was named outstanding children's program . . .

Ted Koppel of ABC's "Nightline" and Bill Moyers with "Crisis in Black America" were named winners in the outstanding news information category . . .

"Live Aid" was named outstanding special program. There was no award in the sports programming category for 1985-86 . . .

Also in the News

Robert Vaughn -- it's nice to see Bob working again -- joins the regular cast of NBC's "The A-Team" next fall playing (what else?) a mysterious government executive who will direct the chaps' operations, since this fall the chaps will be cleared of their Vietnam indiscretions and go straight . . .

The early morning ratings for the week ending June 6 put NBC's "Today" show first with a 5.0 Nielsen count and a 24 percent audience share, followed by ABC's "Good Morning America" at 4.7/22 and "CBS Morning News" with a 3.0/15 . . .

The word from Hawaii is that NBC's Brandon Tartikoff, in signing on as Entertainment Division president for three more years, will get a piece of the action in the future production of NBC's in-house series and movies, including feature films . . .

Relaxed federal rules governing network production of those items makes that extra income a distinct possibility for various network executives . . .