NBC's reruns continued to do better than CBS' and ABC's reruns again last week as the House of Hits made it 12 summer weeks in a row at the top of the heap . . .
NBC had a 12.6 Nielsen rating and a 24 percent audience share, while CBS and ABC tied for second with 11.2/21 . . .
In the short list of fresh programming among the 63 prime-time shows rated during the week ending Aug. 11, we find the premiere of NBC's new monthly news magazine, "American Almanac," tied for 44th, with a Disney special . . .
"The Covenant," pilot for a would-be NBC series about an evil, rich San Francisco family that has done business with the Devil and Adolf Hitler finished 22nd; the CBS comedy/action pilot, "Steel Collar Man," 34th, and ABC's "Comedy Factory," 41st . . .
NBC's "Motown Review Starring Smokey Robinson" was 43rd while the other two new entries on last week's schedule, NBC's "Our Time" and ABC's "Rock'N'Roll Summer Action" were 58th and 59th, respectively, barely qualifying for the Final and Usually Fatal Five Plus One last week . . .
The FAUFFPO also included, in order, NBC's "It's Your Move," in 60th, followed by ABC's "Ripley's Believe It or Not;" ABC's "Dynasty;" and CBS' "Dukes of Hazzard," conked out in 63rd and last place . . . Also in the News
Out in Hollywood Marilyn Beck reports that both Barbara Bosson and James Sikking have left NBC's "Hill Street Blues" in a salary dispute . . . and that Bruce Weitz isn't too happy with his paycheck either but apparently hasn't walked yet . . .
Neither MTM Productions, which produces it, nor NBC would confirm the report yesterday . . .
Bosson is the real-life wife of "Hill Street" creator Steve Bochco, who was bounced as executive producer earlier this year for running way over budget. She plays Fay Furillo, the former wife of Capt. Frank Furillo on the series. Sikking plays the uptight Lt. Howard Hunter . . .
Beck said that Veronica Hamel (Joyce Davenport and Furillo's current wife on the series) and Daniel J. Travanti (Furillo) are the top-paid stars on the series, at about $50,000 an episode . . . while Weitz (Mick Belker) and Charles Haid (Andy Renko) fall into a lower-paid "B group." Bosson, Sikking and Betty Thomas (Sgt. Lucy Bates) comprise an even lower-paid "C group". . .
The understanding, said Beck, is that when one member of a group gets a raise, the whole group gets a raise. Thomas reportedly asked for and received a raise recently but when Bosson and Sikking went in to demand equal treatment they were "invited to walk." After Thomas' raise, Weitz decided the "Bs" needed a raise, too . . . apparently to no avail . . .
Beck said that in the turmoil that resulted from the flap over the wage demands, production on the show was stopped Friday but resumed again on Monday, with issues still unresolved (an NBC spokesman yesterday suggested to us that they all could be back but with fewer appearances for the season written into their new contracts) . . . Hello?
Actor Cliff Robertson, the on-air spokesman for AT&T, will fill in for vacationing talk show host Larry King all next week on Cable News Network's 9 p.m. nightly "Larry King Live" . . . The Troubles With PBS?
PBS is interested in taking a look at the controversial BBC documentary on extremism in Northern Ireland, "At the Edge of Union" . . .
Its withdrawal from the BBC schedule under pressure from the government precipitated a one-day strike of TV reporters in Great Britain last week . . .
The program is now being revised by the BBC and is not expected to air in England for several more weeks . . .
PBS programming chief Sue Weil said this week that it probably won't be available and ready to go in the United States until after the first of the year . . .
Weil suggested that should PBS choose to air it, the documentary would be accompanied by one of those U.S.-produced half-hour discussions on the subject that have become almost de rigueur on PBS . . .
The Arts & Entertainment cable network has first dibs on BBC productions in this country but Weil says that probably wouldn't pose a problem . . .
"That network ordinarily isn't interested in factual-type programming," she pointed out . . .
On the other hand, the whole business might seem a little dated by the time the program's available here . . . WTTG Fall Sched
Channel 5 has set its new fall schedule . . . and here's a peek at some of the highlights . . .
The current 1 p.m. movie will be replaced by Merv Griffin starting Sept. 16, followed by "Love Songs" (MOR/pop music videos); "Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors" at 2:30; "G.I. Joe" at 3 (starting Sept. 23); "She-Ra: Princess of Power" at 3:30; "He-Man" at 4; and the new "Thundercats" at 4:30, starting Sept. 9 . . .
From 5 through 7:30 -- the part of the WTTG week-night schedule that in recent months has given competing local news shows fits -- it will be "Gimme a Break," followed by "Alice," "Three's Company," "Too Close for Comfort," "M*A*S*H" (at 7 this fall) and "Taxi" . . .
Reruns of "Dynasty" will air week nights at 9, except on Wednesdays, reserved for an 8:30 movie, starting Sept. 23 . . .
Following "WKRP in Cincinnati" at 11 p.m., it will be "Kojak;" then, Mondays through Thursdays, "Comedy Tonight," a first-run comedy show with WNEW's Bill Boggs as host; "The Saint" at 1 a.m., "Mission Impossible" and finally, very late movies . . .
On Saturday nights, "Archie Bunker's Place" moves into 7 p.m., while first-run movies and specials will take over at 8 p.m. this fall . . .
"Capital City Magazine" moves to the 10:30 p.m. Sunday slot, starting Sept. 29 . . . Conus
Communications, a subsidiary of St. Paul-based Hubbard Communications, will start a "satellite news gathering service" right out of a truck parked on Jackson Place across from the White House on Sept. 7 . . .
The service will give every TV station in the country access to all daily events at the White House for which cameras are permitted, unedited and live . . . briefings, Rose Garden ceremonies, press conferences, the whole caboodle . . .
Conus officials negotiated for two months with the White House for permission to set up . . .
The service, called "Washington Direct," will also offer daily coverage of the State Department and other major agencies . . .
In December, RCA institutes service from a new satellite called K-2 and has offered every commercial TV station in the country a free receiving dish, plus $1,000 for installation. So far 430 stations have accepted the offer. Conus, which will use another satellite in the interim, will have a transponder on K-2 . . .
Stations using the Conus service will pay a monthly fee, based on their TV market size . . .