Looking to create what he calls a "seventh stage" at the Kennedy Center, Chairman James D. Wolfensohn has tapped cable television executive Carolyn Reynolds for the new position of director of television and special projects.

Reynolds, 45, is director of programming at the Arts & Entertainment Network. Aside from seeking material suitable for broadcast, she will handle projects such as the Texas Festival in June 1991 and the Festival of the Americas in 1992.

Wolfensohn said he hopes the Kennedy Center can develop entertainment and educational broadcasting. "I thought it was important ... to have someone here who is expert in that medium," he said. He declined to speculate on the type of shows Reynolds might create but said she will work "in a collegial fashion" with the heads of programming at the center.

Similarly, Reynolds said, "I would hope itworks pretty much by consensus... . My interest is in finding commercial product, not in the sense of network commercial, but worthy of television and also worthy of the Kennedy Center." Some shows, however, "would definitely be worthy of network showcasing," she said.

"The Kennedy Center Honors" has been broadcast annually on CBS since 1978. Wolfensohn said production arrangements for that show will not change.

Asked what type of programming might go on the air, Reynolds said, "I can see some major pop stars doing part of their tour at the Kennedy Center, and by pop, I don't mean rock-and-roll. I mean people who are extremely respected in the world of performance. There are some major record companies that are interested in that... . I've got a million ideas."

As an example of the type of pop star she has in mind, Reynolds pointed to Dudley Moore, who will appear in a planned A&E series on the London Youth Orchestra.

While Reynolds said she believes the arts "is as much about a musical as it is about an opera," she added, "The Kennedy Center is not going to go totally commercial and start getting everything on television. That's just not going to happen."

Reynolds said she hopes to take advantage of an increasingly hearty European appetite for television fare. "There's a lot of interest, certainly internationally, in arts programming," she said. "This is the only programming that crosses cultural boundaries, that doesn't have to be subtitled. The Kennedy Center can be a real focal point for showcasing what's in America."

Reynolds said Wolfensohn was the main reason she agreed to take the job. "He's very persuasive," she said. "I think he has a vision for the Kennedy Center that really was mesmerizing to me... . He's got some wonderful ideas and he feels he can raise the money to do it. I think it would be a big boost to the arts in this country to see some of those ideas happen in the nation's capital."

While the Kennedy Center "is limited to 7,000 seats a night," Wolfensohn said, television would enable the institution to reach millions. "It makes it more a national institution," he said. "The place that should be representing the performing arts nationally is the Kennedy Center."

The television effort is not likely to affect the Kennedy Center's financial problems, Wolfensohn said. The new chairman is seeking $45 million from Congress to repair the performing arts center and to retire its debt. He has also asked for a continuing appropriation from Congress to cover the center's operating costs.

Wolfensohn said he expects television programming to be supported by sponsors, but he doesn't foresee a profit. "It's not going to add to our burden. It's going to add to our penetration," he said.

Reynolds is Wolfensohn's first major hire since his appointment in March although he intends to announce his plans for restructuring the staff later this year. Last month programming director Marta Istomin announced her resignation, citing philosophical differences with Wolfensohn.

Reynolds served at the Arts & Entertainment Network for six years. She was production and programming executive for specials including "Paris Live," the bicentennial of the French Revolution, and "Island of Lost Ships," a rock opera from the Soviet Union.

"The Kennedy Center Honors" has been broadcast annually on CBS since 1978. Wolfensohn said production arrangements for that show will not change.

The Kennedy Center made a short-lived attempt at TV programming with "Kennedy Center Tonight," which aired on public television 10 years ago.