Nothing firm yet, but ABC News' "Nightline" is hoping to originate from Cuba and Nicaragua during the week of Nov. 2 ...

The trip by Ted Koppel & Co. apparently hinges on the availability of Cuban leader Fidel Castro for a broadcast ...

In addition, "Nightline" hopes for a rare interview featuring both Sandinista and contra leaders, perhaps on Nov. 5, the day the Central American peace plan, authored by Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias, president of Costa Rica, goes into effect ...

(ABC News questions the conventional wisdom that Nov. 7 is the start date, on the grounds that the timetable originally set by the five Central American presidents when they signed the Arias plan in August set a 90-day target, which comes up on Nov. 5) ...

A few more details about the whys of NBC plans to lay off about 200 employes by the end of the year ...

According to an NBC senior executive, about half of those to be let go worked on the NBC Radio Networks, which were sold this summer to Westwood One ...

Like the radio employes, the other 100 or so will be members of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians union, which has been on strike against the network since June 29 but is voting on the most recent NBC contract offer this week at locals around the country ...

About 18 months ago, just about the time General Electric completed its purchase of NBC parent RCA, management had completed a "functional analysis" of the network by the heads of all departments ...

A restructuring at NBC followed over this past year that resulted in a reduction at the network of between 500 and 600, including 300 people who were not represented by any union. The other 200 or so positions were eliminated through early retirements and attrition, reducing the total network workforce to about 7,500 ...

The current NABET strike, affecting 2,800 employes -- or about one-third of NBC overall -- has demonstrated to senior management that additional jobs at the network were superfluous as management personnel filled in for absent camerapersons, writers, producers and other technicians ...

"About 200 NABET jobs jumped off the page when we looked at the structure," our source said yesterday. "We've found that we can operate without about 100 NABET jobs, in addition to those already lost because of the sale to Westwood One ...

"We hope to make the cuts through a combination of attrition and layoffs," our source said. "The actual total is unknowable right now" ...

Waiting in the wings is the possibility of further cuts at NBC News, as the result of the management consulting study conducted earlier this year by McKinsey & Co., which could include some additional NABET positions ...

Starting this morning at 9:30 a.m., C-SPAN will carry live testimony on the controversial issue of surrogate motherhood before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on transportation, tourism and hazardous materials ...

The hearings, chaired by Rep. Thomas Luken (D-Ohio), are in connection with pending H.R. 2433, which would make surrogate motherhood illegal. Among the witnesses will be Mary Beth Whitehead, the surrogate mother of "Baby M" ...

More good news for the hearing-impaired ...

Although "ABC World News Tonight" has provided "real-time" closed captioning since 1981, neither of the other two major evening network shows has offered the service for the nation's large deaf audience ...

Then, earlier this month, CBS announced "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" would begin closed captioning, along with certain other CBS News shows, probably starting in January ...

Yesterday, NBC announced that "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" is going to "real-time" captioning Mondays through Fridays, and hopes to begin the service as early as Nov. 2 ...

Also in the News You "Max Headroom" fans -- all three of you -- better take a g-g-good look at tomorrow night's episode ...

ABC c-c-c-canceled "Max" yesterday as of Friday's show and will replace it from 9 to 10 p.m. starting Oct. 30 with two sitcoms in that timeslot ...

With Network XXIII skiddoo, "Mr. Belvedere" will return on the eve of All Hallow's Eve with all new programs at 9 p.m., followed by the new "The Pursuit of Happiness" at 9:30 ...

Next week, ABC will air the movie "The Flamingo Kid" between 8 and 10 p.m. on Friday ...

As we explained yesterday, "Max," which was pretty special for American tastes, has performed poorly this season after just missing cancellation last spring ...

In the most recent ratings, he finished 65th out of 65 primetime programs ranked after visiting 66th and 72nd places in two previous outings this new season (c-c-cable viewers will still be able to see Max on -- what else? -- Cinemax) ...

"Belvedere" has been in and out of the ABC schedule since the spring of 1985 and stars Christopher Hewett as Mr. B., Bob Uecker as a sportscaster, Ilene Graff as a mother/lawyer and three forgettable juveniles ...

"The Pursuit of Happiness" stars Paul Provenza as "David Hanley, until recently a footloose idealist who has criss-crossed the country, soaking up a lot about America and its people" before committing to his "first grown-up job" as a history professor at a small Philadelphia college ...

Also starring will be Wesley Thompson as David's best buddy from college; Wendel Meldrum as his "beautiful office mate and scholar of Egyptian history"; Judie Arson as the attractive daughter of a professor who "sets her eyes on Hanley"; and Brian Keith as the "senior history professor whose books have inspired Hanley to his new career" ...

Twenty minutes into the future, C. Airwaves m-m-m-misses M-M-M-Max already ...

More on the Channel 26 m-m-m-membership drive (now stop that, Airwaves, that's not funny!) set for a 10-day run starting Nov. 27 and running through Dec. 6 ...

Cut down from two weeks a year ago, the drive seeks $450,000 and 5,500 new members. As started in the August drive, there will be prizes every night, with a grand prize awarded on the last night ...

Highlights of the annual preholiday alms talks will be a new special from WTTW in Chicago called "Remembering Bing" -- as in Crosby -- on Saturday night Nov. 28, and "Jessye Norman's Christmas Symphony," featuring the great soprano (and Howard University graduate), the American Boys Choir and the Bournemouth Symphony in a 90-minute special featuring traditional holiday music ...

WETA is also negotiating with actor James Stewart, who will be in town that week, for an appearance Dec. 5, when the station airs the Johnny Carson-hosted documentary about the well-liked actor, "A Wonderful Life," followed by the Frank Capra classic starring Stewart, "It's a Wonderful Life" ...

Incidentally, Airwaves was vacationing on the family estates in Ireland (Pater still makes him welcome at Castle Aerwaves, despite everything) last August and never did get around to revealing that in WETA's unusual "Pledge Takes a Holiday" drive that month, the station raised a fantastic $680,725, a revenue increase of 90 percent over the previous late summer drive ...

That was the drive that actually withheld those annoying on-air pleas for funds for a whole week, but the station has apparently resisted the temptation to try the strategy again so soon ...

In the national Nielsen numbers released Tuesday, the weekend Fox lineup averaged a 5.2 rating and an eight share (compared with NBC's 16.1/27, CBS' 15.1/25 and ABC's 13.4/22) ... but the fledgling network was happy about the 6.3/10 earned by the debut of "Women in Prison," good enough to lead the Fox entries for the week ending Oct. 11 ...

All Fox entries finished below "Max Headroom," who took up last place among series on NBC, ABC and CBS ranked last week ...

Second-best for Fox last week was "Married ... With Children," followed in order by "21 Jump Street," "Werewolf," "Adventures of Beans Baxter," "The Tracey Ullman Show," "Second Chance," "Duet" and "Mr. President." The last, starring George C. Scott, is still floundering with a mere 3.7 rating and a 6 percent audience share for the week ending Oct. 11 (each rating point represents 886,000 TV homes) ...