Jim Griffin, vice president and director of broadcast operations at Channel 7, has resigned after 21 years with the station...

As theexecutive in charge of programming at WJLA, he is credited with the recent strengthening of the 9-to-noon schedule and with putting together the successful "Jeopardy!" and "Entertainment Tonight" package in the 7 to 8 p.m. weeknight time block and the 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday block, which is now No. 1 in the Washington market ...

WJLA president and general manager Tom Cookerly, who is leaving to become president of Allco, an Allbritton Communications Co. subsidiary to oversee station acquisitions, said in a statement yesterday: "It is with great regret that we have accepted Jim Griffin's resignation ...

"Jim has been an integral part of WJLA's management team and his contributions to our success have been significant ... Jim has made many friends here and I know you join me in wishing him the very best as he explores opportunities for the future" ...

Cookerly later told a reporter that "Jim's action is self-explanatory. He's a great guy and we're going to miss his experience" ...

As for Griffin's replacement, Cookerly said "that will be up to John {Long}" ...

Griffin had been a candidate for the post of executive vice president and general manager, which earlier this week went to Long, who has been WJLA's vice president and director of sales ...

Yesterday, Griffin confirmed to a reporter that in leaving the station his "real focus is on a station manager job. I've had 24 years in broadcasting and I've been very fortunate at Channel 7" ...

Earlier, in a statement to the WJLA staff, Griffin said: "This station has provided me many professional opportunities for which I am fortunate and grateful. I've been exposed to virtually every area of station operations, through either hands-on experience or close association. As I've grown, I've seen the station grow and prosper. The time has come for me to seek new opportunities and challenges" ...

Long said yesterday that Griffin has agreed "to stay on a while as a consultant," but it was evident from Griffin's conversation with this reporter that he will be pretty busy looking elsewhere ...

He first joined WJLA as a technician in 1964 and over the years was promoted to studio supervisor, engineering supervisor, assistant director of engineering and assistant news director for operations ...

In 1979 he left to become director of operations at WPLG in Miami but returned to Seven as director of broadcast operations in 1982, becoming a vice president the next year ...

Yesterday was seen as Cookerly's last day after 16 years at the helm of the station, as he departed for the Super Bowl in San Diego and the new management team of Long and president Michael Moore took over ...

Another Resignation

With the key Iowa caucuses due in just 10 days, Cable News Network revealed yesterday that political director Christine Dolan has resigned, effective tomorrow ...

CNN senior vice president Ed Turner said yesterday that Dolan will be replaced by Tom Hannon, who has been at CNN headquarters in Atlanta preparing for the coverage of 12 debates planned by the cable network. He previously had been executive producer in the CNN Washington bureau ...

Dolan joined CNN in Washington in 1982, after four years at the ABC News bureau here, to work on the congressional elections. She became deputy political director for the network the next year and was named political director in 1984 ...

Sources yesterday indicated that Dolan resigned after negotiations for a salary increase fell through. She had taken on additional responsibilities in November when the daily "Inside Politics '88" half-hour nightly program debuted ...

Her contract ran through Dec. 31, 1988, but when no additional pay for the added work on "Inside Politics '88" showed up, her attorney started serious renegotiations two weeks ago to no avail. Dolan reportedly was making no more than half the $150,000-plus paid annually for comparable positions in political units at the major networks ...

She submitted her resignation on Tuesday ...

Turner said yesterday, "We wish Christine well" ...

Dolan, for her part, said yesterday she wishes "CNN well and Ed Turner and the political unit great success in their coverage," while confirming that her leave-taking was over the money issue. She declined to comment on her future ...

Turner also confirmed yesterday that the unit producing "Women Today" will be folded up in two weeks. "Women Today" produces three-minute segments that air throughout the CNN news day ...

Turner said that the decision to terminate the segments after a year and a half was based on "a dwindling of sponsor interest; it was pure finances" ...

In Other News

Washington Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley has apologized for remarks concerning Washington Post staff writer Christine Brennan that he made on the late-night sports reports on Channel 4 and Channel 5 Tuesday night ...

"I was attempting to be humorous," Manley said. "If I offended Christine, I apologize" ...

Brennan, who covers the Redskins for The Post, wrote a sometimes humorous, sometimes grim article for last Sunday's Washington Post Magazine about "the strangest occupational hazards" that go with the assignment, among which were being asked for dates by "about a dozen" Redskins ("some were married, some weren't") and a cruel and unfounded rumor that she was having an affair with a Washington sportscaster ...

Manley appeared on both Channel 4 with George Michael and Channel 5 with Steve Buckhantz. On the Channel 4 show, Michael and Manley exchanged jokes about the dates and the sportscaster rumor. Other jokes regarding Brennan's article were made on the Channel 5 show ...

Michael, who with all the Washington contingent, including Brennan, is staying at the Hyatt Islandia this week in San Diego, said he called Brennan yesterday morning to say, " 'If I owe you an apology you've got it' ...

"I know Christine well and I like her. She's a friend of mine. I explained to her {the interview} was done very lightheartedly" ...

Buckhantz could not be reached ...

And this delayed footnote from the weekly Ratingzzz: "Dolly" moved up from 62nd place to 55th last week in the ABC variety show's second outing since moving from Sunday to Saturday night (the lonesomest night of the week on TV) ...

NBC Entertainment announced yesterday it has signed The Walt Disney Studio to "provide the network with a unique new concept in TV viewing for the 1988-89 season" ...

Disney, which has been appearing on ABC, ran on NBC from 1961 to 1981 ...

The new one-hour series "will comprise a unique blend of Disney-style entertainment, the core of which will include four recurring series (one of them a new version of 'Davy Crockett'). Additionally, Disney specials such as 'Mickey's 60th Birthday,' 'Celebrity Circus' and Disney theatricals ('Dumbo,' 'Ernest Goes to Camp') and made-for-TV producers will round out the program mix" ...

ABC, which has been carrying Disney products in the 7 p.m. Sunday timeslot, yesterday issued a sour-grapes statement on the matter:

"The Disney Sunday Movie on ABC has been subject to the classic inconsistencies of the anthology form, with no story or character thread to attract 'habit viewing.' Rather than retain this showcase, ABC is actively developing entertainment alternatives in the series form with several suppliers, including the Disney Company" ...

A Different Format

"Firing Line," in association with South Carolina ETV, will air a two-hour program on PBS live from 10 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Feb. 27, featuring 11 potential First Ladies ...

So far, "those who have agreed to participate in the special or are attempting to rearrange their schedules to allow participation include: Hattie Babbitt, Elizabeth Dole, Kitty Dukakis, Elise du Pont, Jane Gephardt, Tipper Gore, Patricia Haig, Lee Hart, Joanne Kemp, Dede Robertson and Jeanne Simon," according to "Firing Line" ...

The program, called "Firing Line Special Edition: The Next First Lady," will air from The Township in Columbia, S.C. ...