The Senate Rules Committee yesterday approved a plan to permit the televising of Senate floor proceedings . . .
The 7-to-5 final vote was divided on strict party lines between the majority Republicans and Democrats . . .
The approval of the bill, written by Majority Leader Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), followed a 7-to-5 vote along the same party lines, defeating an amendment offered by Sen. Wendell H. Ford (D-Ky.) that would have restricted floor coverage to radio only . . .
A vote by the full Senate on the proposal is expected before the current session is over but with major legislation currently pending, it obviously won't be scheduled for several weeks, according to a committee spokesman . . .
The House of Representatives has had a radio and TV system since early 1979 but current Senate rules forbid broadcasts . . .
The proposal calls for continuous, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the proceedings, using cameras run by Senate employes. Cameras would have to stay on the member speaking at the time, instead of panning the chamber or focusing on a dozing senator . . .
The system would cost from $3 million to $5 million, and under the specific rules set forth in the proposal approved yesterday. . . live coverage would be made available to news organizations and cable TV free of charge but use of tapes of the sessions "for political or commercial purposes" would be banned . . .
Pernell Roberts, who played "Adam Cartwright" on NBC's "Bonanza" for the first seven of its 15 years on the network . . . has sued NBC and Ponderosa Ranch Inc. for alleged unauthorized use of his name and likeness . . .
Ponderosa Ranch, Inc., named after the fictional ranch in the series, is a land development company . . .
Roberts, who now has the title role in CBS' "Trapper John, MD," claims that Ponderosa Ranch is using his name and likeness in advertising and for public relations purposes without paying him . . . as spelled out in a 1959 contract . . .
The suit, filed in a Los Angeles Superior Court, asks $2.5 million in punitive damages, general damages and an accounting of money due Roberts . . .