PALM SPRINGS, CALIF., DEC. 30 -- The White House today prodded U.S. television networks to air a 5 1/2-minute videotaped New Year's Day message to the American people from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev so that a reciprocal message from President Reagan would be shown simultaneously in the Soviet Union.

The tactic apparently succeeded. Hours after White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater tartly suggested that the networks were putting commercial considerations ahead of news judgment, three of the networks announced they would carry the Gorbachev message. The only holdout was CBS, which said it would show "excerpts" in regular newscasts.

At a briefing here today, Fitzwater said the Soviets had agreed to show the Reagan message if the U.S. networks gave equal treatment to Gorbachev. But Fitzwater said U.S. officials had explained to the Soviets that the networks were "capitalists" and could not be forced to carry a noncommercial message that might reduce their profits.

The two messages were taped last week and exchanged by the U.S. and Soviet governments. Copies of the tapes have been given to the networks and transcripts will be issued early New Year's Day by the White House.

In an effort to persuade the networks to use the Gorbachev videotape in its entirety, U.S. and Soviet officials moved up the time of the exchanged messages by an hour, to 11 a.m. EST, to avoid interfering with the Tournament of Roses Parade broadcast.

Bill Flinn, a spokesman for the parade committee, said he appreciated White House "sensitivity" to the desire of high school bands and other parade participants to be seen on national television. Fitzwater said the parade committee was merely "fronting for the networks" when it asked that the messages not be shown at noon as originally scheduled.

"I'll stick with the networks," Fitzwater said sarcastically. "Follow the money. That's what they say."

But the White House spokesman predicted that the networks ultimately would decide to present the exchange of messages.

"{NBC anchorman} Tom Brokaw spent $8 jillion to go to Moscow to interview Mr. Gorbachev," Fitzwater said. "It's hard for me to believe that they wouldn't find this of value to show."

Fitzwater's comments triggered questions from reporters to the networks about their intentions and prompted a series of meetings by network officials, one of whom acknowledged privately that it "would look bad if we blocked out Gorbachev to show a shaving commercial and a high school band." Within hours, network officials were telling White House reporters that the Gorbachev message would be shown.

ABC White House producer David Kaplan said that ABC will carry both messages. Lisa Dallos, a spokesman for CNN in Washington, said that Cable News Network will show both messages back-to-back at 11 a.m., starting with Reagan's.

NBC spokesman Andrew Freedman said the messages will be shown, on a delayed basis, at 1:18 p.m., just before kickoff of the Fiesta Bowl. But Donna Dees, CBS manager of communication, said that CBS planned to use excerpts of the messages for regular newscasts and did not intend to show the Gorbachev or Reagan messages "in their entirety."

An administration official said he thought that the decision by three of the networks to carry the Gorbachev message would probably be sufficient for the Soviets to show the Reagan videotape.

The two leaders first exchanged New Year's messages two years ago. They were carried on all networks. Last year, negotiations for a follow-up exchange broke down, and a Reagan message was beamed to the Soviet Union over Voice of America.

The president and first lady Nancy Reagan relaxed here today in unusually cool weather at the estate of publishing magnate Walter Annenberg, where an annual black-tie event in their honor will be held on New Year's Eve. Secretary of State George P. Shultz and CIA Director William H. Webster will fly in to join guests including Hollywood celebrities, government officials and old friends of the Reagans.

Reagan was scheduled to play his annual round of golf here today, but Fitzwater said the president's score would not be released "unless he shoots a hole in one."

At the last scheduled White House press briefing of the year, Fitzwater also called "nothing new" the declaration of national security adviser Colin L. Powell in a letter to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) that the Soviets might halt agreed-upon reductions in strategic nuclear arms if the United States fails to comply with the 1972 Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.

Fitzwater said the Soviets remain "adamantly opposed" to Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative and "think it's the wrong concept at the wrong time."