Rumors continue to circulate here and in Moscow that NBC News is very close to landing that exclusive one-on-one interview with Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev when he visits Washington in two weeks, despite bids from ABC News and Cable News Network ...

NBC News consultant Gordon Manning, who's been talking to the Soviets for 2 1/2 years about the possibilities of a Gorbachev interview for the network, was in Moscow yesterday, and an announcement is expected early this week ...

NBC News executives yesterday refused to discuss their chances, but if the deal is done, we hear anchor Tom Brokaw would get one hour of primetime for his talk with Mr. Gorbachev ...

ABC News will devote its third "Jennings/Koppel Report" on Sunday, Dec. 6, to -- what else? -- the pending summit meeting between Mr. Gorbachev and President Reagan that begins Dec. 8 here ...

Tammy Faye Bakker says she'll punch "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel "right in the nose when I see him." She and defrocked minister husband Jim Bakker appeared on the ABC News show last spring two months after their dismissal from the PTL ministry. Tammy Faye apparently didn't like some of Ted's questions ...

Tammy Faye made the promise Friday during an "Entertainment Tonight" interview in which Jim also said they've been asked to host NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Bakker said he'd do it only "if they let me help write the script for the entire program. I would not want to be a part of anything that would bring disgrace to the church" ...

"CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" will introduce new graphics and a new musical theme on tonight's broadcast. The music is described as "majestic and pastoral," and much easier on viewer ears than what CBS Newsies like to call the "chankychank" of the previous theme ...

Top management of Capital Cities/ABC Inc. has notified its "executive and administrative employes with broadcast responsibilities" that it has invited the National Association of Broadcasters' Television and Radio Political Action Committee (TARPAC) to solicit contributions from them ...

A letter announcing the plan, signed by chairman Tom Murphy and president Dan Burke, said "the objectives of TARPAC have generally been consistent with Cap Cities/ABC Inc.'s positions on broadcast industry issues." The NAB PAC distributes funds to legislators deemed favoring NAB stands ...

The letter stressed that "it is obviously essential that our news operations maintain and protect their well-earned reputations for objectivity." No broadcast news personnel at either the network or the station level "will be asked or expected to participate in the TARPAC campaign" ...

A spokesman for NAB said Friday that ABC had a similar arrangement with the broadcasters' PAC, which was dropped when Cap Cities purchased the network nearly two years ago ...

NBC spokesman McLain Ramsey said Friday that the network has no similar plans. Shortly after General Electric purchased parent RCA in 1986, NBC president Bob Wright circulated an internal memo among top staff asking whether a PAC committee should be formed by those senior executives at NBC who receive bonuses. When the memo leaked to the press -- which quickly jumped to the conclusion the News division somehow might be involved (an idea "never even considered," Ramsey insisted Friday) -- Wright nevertheless backed off and the idea has been dead ever since ...

CBS/Broadcast Group spokesman Alice Henderson said "we discourage PACs. The idea came up a couple of years ago but it went nowhere" ...

A spokesman for NAB said that in the 1984-86 "election cycle," TARPAC distributed $237,000 in support of 31 members of the Senate and another $112,000 went to House members ...

Also in the News "CBS Reports: Children of Apartheid" will air Saturday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. The one-hour documentary, reported by Walter Cronkite, "looks at South Africa today through its children from the white suburbs to the black and colored townships" ...

A federal judge in Las Vegas has upheld a jury's decision that NBC News defamed entertainer Wayne Newton, but reduced his record $19.3 million award to $5.2 million ...

U.S. District Judge M.D. Crocker said Newton did not lose earning power and suffered virtually no loss of reputation as a result of three "Nightly News" reports, beginning in October 1980, that alleged Newton had links with organized crime. Newton's attorneys are still pondering whether to challenge the reduction ...

Turkey Time: With the kiddies home from school, Channel 5 will stuff its regular daytime programming between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. both Thanksgiving Day and Friday, Nov. 27, in favor of a continuous run of movies, cartoons and other features from its extensive Disney library ...

And with Mom and Dad home, too, Channel 50 has announced a schedule of 17 theatrical movies that will begin at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day and run straight through the next 39 hours, until early Saturday morning ...

Among the goodies: the original screen versions of "The Razor's Edge" and "A Letter to Three Wives"; plus "The Little Princess," "Royal Wedding" and "Anna and the King of Siam" ...

That switch in timeslots on Saturday for "Sable" and "Ohara" on ABC takes place on Dec. 5 ...

There's a good chance that NBC News' "Sunday Today" will move forward an hour to a 9 a.m. start after Jan. 1, at least on the network-owned stations, including WRC here ...

Correction

Well, when Captain Airwaves makes a mistake, it's usually a beaut. And Friday, he outdid himself ...

The influential National Journal had sent him two readership surveys -- one from 1984 and a recently completed 1987 survey -- portions of both dealing with how the Journal's upscale 5,000 subscribers looked at TV news and public affairs programming ...

The point of the exercise being that there have been a couple of significant changes -- increased popularity for NBC News programs and slippage among CBS News shows -- in their readers' TV preferences over those three years ...

By mistake, Airwaves ran the 1984 figures only, describing them as the 1987 results. Here's the accurate information, with the 1984 percentages in parentheses. Need we point out that Airwaves wasn't allowed within three long city blocks of this particular item? ...

Among the respondents to this year's survey -- which was distributed in the Aug. 1, 1987, issue of the National Journal -- PBS' "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" was once again rated the nightly news program watched most often, with 52 percent naming "NewsHour" (up from a first-place 44 percent in 1984) ...

"CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" followed at 34 percent (down from 43 percent); "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" at 33 percent (up from 27 in 1984); and "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" at 26 percent (up from 23) ...

Regular viewing of local news shows (most Journal subscribers live in the Washington area) declined slightly to 55 percent from 57 percent three years ago ...

In the morning, NBC's "Today" show jumped dramatically to 29 percent (from 18); ABC's "Good Morning America" slipped to 10 percent (from 12); and the truncated "CBS Morning News" fell from first place in 1984 at 20 percent to just 8 percent this year ...

There was a major switch, too, among weekly public affairs programming preferences. This year, WRC's "The McLaughlin Group" was tops with 34 percent (up from 25 percent), followed by ABC's "This Week With David Brinkley" at 33 percent (up from 30); Cable News Network (which was not listed in the 1984 poll) at 32 percent; and PBS' "Washington Week in Review" at 26 percent (down from 29) ...

WUSA's "Agronsky & Co." had a 21 percent preference rating ("Agronsky" had been the 1984 leader at 31 percent); followed by PBS' "Wall Street Week" at 19 percent (down from 21); NBC's "Meet the Press" at 15 percent (down from 16); CBS' "Face the Nation" at 14 percent (no change); and PBS' "Firing Line" at 6 percent (up from 5) ...

Among other network news programs, CBS' "60 Minutes" stayed on top with 41 percent (but down from 48 percent); followed by ABC News' "Nightline" at 25 percent (up from 22); and ABC News' "20/20" at 17 percent (up from 12) ...

National Journal reported that 981 of its readers, or 19.6 percent, responded to this year's poll, compared with 684 (or 13.7 percent) in 1984. Fifty-three percent described themselves as Democrats, 27 percent as Republicans, 18 percent as independent and 2 percent as "others" ...