Here's an easy TV-watcher's guide to what's going on next week at the Democrats' presidential nominating convention in San Francisco: Monday: all the opening ceremonies, including credentials and rules reports and New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo's keynote address.
Tuesday: probably just Platform Committee reports.
Wednesday: presidential nominating speeches and roll calls.
Thursday: vice-presidential nominating speeches and roll calls of the states. Then, acceptance speeches by the presidential and vice-presidential nominees.
None of the three commercial networks plan gavel-to-gavel coverage, but all will pick up important events as they occur. For each, the evening news will cover events of the day, carried from San Francisco.
Other coverage will vary. For instance, ABC plans to have evening coverage Monday and Tuesday starting at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. CBS plans to start at 9 p.m. EST on most days, as does NBC. But all such plans are subject to last-minute changes.
CBS plans a half-hour preconvention broadcast on Sunday from 10:30 to 11 p.m. EST, and it is certain that both ABC and NBC will follow the pattern. All of the networks have assigned their top political reporters to cover the various candidates.
Gavel-to-gavel coverage will be available to cable subscribers on C-SPAN. Some PBS stations have also arranged to carry C-SPAN's coverage.
Cable News Network also plans gavel-to-gavel coverage, with regular breakaways for newscasts.
On PBS, ''The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour'' will originate in San Francisco during the entire week, with Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer linked to the Moscone Center from WQED a few blocks away. Correspondents Judy Woodruff and Elizabeth Brackett will report from the convention hall.
All the morning shows - ''Good Morning America'' (ABC), ''Today'' (NBC), and ''CBS Morning News'' (CBS) - will also originate from San Francisco next week.
On Sunday, July 22, just about every morning or early-afternoon public-affairs program is planning to invite the presidential and vice-presidential nominees or their representatives to appear as guests.