But first, chaps, Channel 53 announced yesterday that it will have live coverage of The Game between Harvard and Yale from New Haven, starting at 1 p.m. Saturday ...

This year, for the first time in eons, The Game will decide the Ivy League title. So it's Yo-Ho, the Good Ship Harvard! and Boola-Boola, too ...

There was guarded optimism at NBC News yesterday that anchor Tom Brokaw was still in the running for a one-on-one interview with General Secretary Gorbachev during the Soviet leader's summit meeting here with President Reagan starting Dec. 8 ...

Said one NBC source yesterday: "We have high hopes but we don't have anything to announce. That would have to come from the Soviet government, anyway" ...

Former NBC News vice president for special programming Gordon Manning, now a consultant to the network after retiring, has been quietly working on such an interview for 2 1/2 years, according to network sources ...

ABC News officials were less sanguine yesterday about anchor Peter Jennings' chances for an interview with Mr. Gorbachev during his U.S. visit, although News executive vice president David Burke pointed out that "we've enjoyed a good relationship with the Soviets, particularly with our 'Capital to Capital' series" ...

(Burke was in Washington Wednesday for the third such "Capital to Capital" broadcast, which linked Sens. Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.) and Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) and members of the Supreme Soviet, a live broadcast seen simultaneously on Soviet television ...

(Wednesday night's broadcast, by the way, attracted a 4.7 Nielsen rating and a 16 percent audience share in 15 major Nielsen markets. Channel 7 viewers here gave the program a 4.4/15 between 11:30 p.m. and 1:10 a.m. Thursday) ...

Another ABC News official, apparently bracing himself for an expected turndown by the Soviets, pointed out that "it might seem like a good idea to the Soviets to avoid any ill feelings by selecting just one network for such an appearance" ...

Wednesday, CBS News was removed from contention by the Soviets, who notified the network that questions from anchor Dan Rather at a 1985 Paris press conference held by Mr. Gorbachev and a documentary last summer on the Soviet war in Afghanistan displeased them ...

That turndown inspired some high rhetoric from CBS News president Howard Stringer and Rather -- rhetoric that was the subject of some merriment at rival network news organizations yesterday ("thin gruel," said one NBC News executive; "gimme a break," said an ABC News staffer) ...

In a letter transmitted to Mr. Gorbachev Wednesday after receiving word of the rejection, Stringer said "we firmly believe that declining an interview with CBS News is not in the best interests of either the United States or the Soviet Union" ...

And Rather, in defending his "tough questions" at the press conference and "our aggressive coverage of the war in Afghanistan," said that "neither our conscience nor sense of honor would allow us" to stop, even though the Russians had made it clear CBS' chances for an interview depended on it ...

Speaking Of

Interest in network news and public affairs programming in general, the respected (and pricey) National Journal weekly has published the results of an in-depth survey of 5,000 readers, most of whom reside in the Washington area ...

Asked which regular network news programs they watched regularly on television, the 684 (or 13.7 percent) who responded ranked PBS' "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" first with 44 percent, followed by "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" (43); "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" (27) and "ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" (23) ...

In the morning, "CBS Morning News" was tops with 20 percent, followed by NBC's "Today" show (18) and ABC's "Good Morning America" (12) ...

Channel 9's "Agronsky & Co." was tops among weekly public affairs programs watched, with 31 percent, followed by ABC's "This Week with David Brinkley" (30); PBS' "Washington Week in Review" (29); WRC's "The McLaughlin Group" (25); PBS' "Wall Street Week" (21); NBC's "Meet the Press" (16); CBS' "Face the Nation" (14); and PBS' "Firing Line" (5) ...

Seventy-one percent of the upscale respondents said they watch at least one of the nightly network news shows; 41 percent said they view at least one of the morning network shows ...

Network Changes ABC Entertainment, which has no better luck than CBS against NBC's very strong Saturday night lineup, yesterday announced that it is flip-flopping "Ohara" to the 8 p.m. timeslot that evening, with "Sable" moving from 8 to 9 p.m. ...

Meanwhile, CBS Entertainment, its primetime schedule running third behind NBC and ABC so far this fall, yesterday announced changes over the next two months that will affect the lineups on four troublesome nights of the week -- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and, yes, Saturday ...

Only "The Law and Harry McGraw," the 10 p.m. Tuesday entry, was canceled, as of Dec. 22. "Cagney & Lacey" will move from Monday into Harry's timeslot on Jan. 5 ...

Two new programs and a retread, "Simon & Simon," will join the CBS schedule as part of the shuffle, which also includes moving five current series to new timeslots ...

As previously announced, "Simon & Simon" returns to the schedule on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 9 p.m., replacing "Wiseguy," who went on vacation as of last night's broadcast and returns Monday, Jan. 4, in the 10 p.m. timeslot ...

The new "High Mountain Rangers," starring Robert Conrad, a lot of little Conrads and the scenery in the High Sierras, will premiere Saturday, Jan. 2, in the 8 p.m. timeslot ...

"48 Hours," CBS News' upcoming documentary series, will premiere Tuesday, Jan. 18, in the 8 p.m. timeslot. "Houston Knights" moves from that Tuesday slot to Saturday at 9, starting Jan. 2. Movies and specials will continue to fill the first two hours of Saturday on CBS through the holidays, while programming for Tuesday at 8 on Jan. 5 and 12 will be announced ...

"Kate & Allie" and "Frank's Place" remain on Mondays but exchange time periods, as "Kate" flip-flops to 8 p.m., with "Frank's" at 8:30 ...

Beleaguered Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham -- he faces a recall -- will be the sole guest on ABC News "Nightline" tonight, starting at 11:30 p.m. ...

Meanwhile, CBS News will announce shortly that Charles Osgood and Faith Daniels will be permanent co-anchors on "CBS Morning News" from 6 to 7 a.m., starting Nov. 30. They will also co-anchor the news blocks on "CBS This Morning," which debuts that same day at 7 a.m. Osgood, meanwhile, will continue his broadcasts on CBS Radio ...

Promotions at the top of the "Larry King Live" staff at CNN: Randy Douthit becomes senior executive producer and Tammy Haddad moves up from producer to Randy's old job as executive producer ...

Channel 7's Renee Poussaint had a two-hour interview with the Redskins' new starting quarterback Doug Williams and his wife at their Reston home Wednesday, highlights of which will air on WJLA's "Redskins Magazine" Monday night at 8, preceding the Skins-Rams game on ABC ...

ABC's "Good Morning America" won the morning race again last week with a 4.7 Nielsen rating and a 21 percent audience share. NBC's "Today" was second at 4.5/21 while "The Morning Program" did a 2.4/11 ...

Which leads us to report that Amy Hirsch, senior producer on GMA, ends 11 years on the program Wednesday after being promoted to producer for ABC Circle Films in Los Angeles. No replacement has been named ...

GTG Entertainment will begin production of its first situation comedy for CBS in the spring. Tentatively titled "Encore," it stars Dick Van Dyke playing father to his real-life son Barry Van Dyke ...

GTG, the production firm formed by Grant Tinker and the Gannett folks last year, has a deal with CBS to offer the network two series a year for five years ...