CBS, which is watching the nickels these days, has decided to scale back the once-lavish early summer affiliates convention - moving it from Los Angeles to New York next June, while reducing its length from three days to 1 1/2.

The June meet will concentrate on business, according to CBS executive George Schweitzer. Spouses of station executives will not be included.In the good old days, when CBS dominated television, the affiliates conventions - designed as pep rallies for the just-chosen upcoming fall schedules - mixed self-congratulatory business meetings with major parties, crowded with the network's TV stars, that could cost more than $1 million.

NBC, which last year brought its affiliates to Washington as part of a lobbying effort on behalf of relaxed syndication rules for the networks, is reviewing its convention plans but has made no decision yet. ABC says its late spring convention will be scaled back somewhat.

``We've substantially scaled it back and changed the venue,' said Schweitzer. The usual convention business, including the screening of new series, still will go on but ``minus the embellishments,' he said.

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