Members of two major actors unions have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike that could delay the start of the fall television season . . .
Feature film as well as TV series production could be affected by the vote of 30,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, 87 percent of whom this past weekend okayed the strike if there is no progress in negotiations . . .
Representatives of SAG and AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers were due to meet again yesterday for the first time since July 2. SAG President Patty Duke said yesterday that she did not know how long the new round of negotiations would last, or when a strike could be called . . .
"Nobody likes this kind of a fight. We want to work this out," she said . . .
The unions represent 92,000 actors, singers, dancers, stunt people and other performers . . .
At issue are wages and residual payments to actors from cable TV and videocassette sales . . .
A 10-week walkout in 1980 cost producers more than $40 million and a delayed start in the TV season . . .
Schedule change: Channel 26 will now air the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on the nomination of Associate Justice William Rehnquist to be chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, starting at 4 p.m. today . . .
Funeral services for diplomat Averell Harriman in New York today necessitated the change . . .
Channel 26 will rebroadcast the hearings at 11 tonight . . .
"CBS Morning News" consultant Susan Winston met with CBS News President Van Gordon Sauter yesterday and said later she had been offered "the reins" of the new two-hour program that will replace "Morning News" next January . . .
"I'm not sure I want to, it's a new game," said Winston, who did agree to remain with CBS until October, under terms of the contract she signed last April. "I'll do whatever they ask of me. I'm a hard worker. I live up to my contracts" . . .
Late yesterday, Winston had a "private meeting" with CBS Broadcast Group President Gene Jankowski. A Jankowski aide said later, "There will be no official announcement regarding Winston today" . . .
Winston, former executive producer of ABC's "Good Morning America," was brought in last spring to revamp the low-rated CBS news show . . .
Yesterday she said she told Sauter that "I'm still at odds with the decision to move the morning broadcast out of the News division. The options I had presented over the last three months were the strongest I'd seen yet for any morning broadcast" . . .
She said she had "been led to believe" by a group of top executives "that I had something pretty special going." She listed, in addition to Sauter, News Executive Vice President Howard Stringer; Vice President, News Broadcasts, Mark Harrington; CBS Inc. Chairman Tom Wyman; and Jankowski . . .
"I was given a promise when I came to CBS," she said, "that I'd have the resources to make the broadcast competitive, and, with the backing of the CBS brass, it would be not only the financing but the personnel and the promotion" . . .
She denied her proposals would have cost CBS another $20 million beyond the $34 million annually budgeted for the program. "My budget still would have been under what 'Today' or 'GMA' spends" . . .
She said she proposed "a variety of steps," details of which she declined to set forth. Rumors had her bringing in personalities like Frank Gifford, Connie Chung, Geraldo Rivera and Linda Ellerbee and, perhaps, "regionalizing" the "Morning News" broadcast from points around the country . . .
"They asked me to make it competitive," Winston said, "but now it seems to be somewhat different, doing things with much lesser budget. What I designed was intelligent, a newsworthy broadcast that had a sense of humor and a sense of pacing that has not been seen on morning broadcasts. I would have been very proud to do it. Frankly, I think the problem is finances at CBS" . . .
Friday, Sauter announced that "Morning News" would go off the air at the end of the year to be replaced by a broadcast to be produced not by CBS News but by a new unit to be created within CBS Broadcast Group. It will report to him in his position as Group executive vice president . . .
It will retain news elements but would have more "flexibility," Friday's announcement said . . .
Winston's contract called for her to present a plan for reorganization by October, at which time both sides had the option to pull out. If she remained as executive producer of a revamped "Morning News," the contract called for an additional 18 months of service. She reportedly would receive $250,000 for the six-month consultancy, regardless . . .
Also in the News
Correspondent Carole Simpson has been elected chair of the ABC News Women's Advisory Board . . .
News staff/Support's Jane Maxwell has been named vice chair; Radio's Elyse Weiner, corresponding secretary; and Editorial's Nancy Ambrose, recording secretary. Beverley Lumpkin of Editorial was named media representative . . .
Other board members included correspondents Betsy Aaron and Bettina Gregory; Pamela Ridder and Robin Wiener from producers and associate producers; and Barbara Friedman from Editorial . . .
Sharon Sforza represents News Administration, Carobel Daniel and Mary Frost, News Staff/Support . . .
The board is due to meet in New York next month . . .
CBS Sports announced yesterday that former Redskin great Joe Theismann will be paired as an analyst with play-by-play announcer Jack Buck as one of eight NFL announcing teams on the network this fall . . .
Buck's longtime partner Hank Stram will be paired with someone else this fall when the CBS teams are announced shortly . . .
Another former pro QB, Pat Haden, incidentally, will move from college football broadcasts for CBS Sports to become an NFL analyst for the network this fall . . .
When Maria Shriver and Forrest Sawyer leave for their "extended vacations" at the end of this week, anchor chores on "CBS Morning News" will be taken over by Bruce Morton and Faith Daniels . . . for two weeks . . .
What happens after that -- like everything else connected with the doomed show -- is something of a mystery right now . . .
The Atlanta-based Weather Channel experienced some squalls Sunday when Transponder 21 on RCA's SATCOM III satellite went ka-blooie at 6:30 a.m. . . .
Late Sunday morning, RCA, unable to find the trouble, switched the Weather Channel to Transponder 19, which meant that each of the more than 2,200 cable systems picking up the weather news would have to make slight adjustments in its receiving dishes . . .
At the time, RCA considered the change to be temporary so Weather Channel didn't notify all systems of the change . . .
Apparently Media General Cable out in Fairfax was one of those not notified. But by Sunday afternoon, it had discovered the transponder change on its own and was able to bring Weather Channel back on the system by switching it from its Channel 15 to Channel 19, which is where C-SPAN's Senate coverage is seen during the week . . .
RCA has now decided that Transponder 19 will continue to carry Weather Channel for the time being, everybody's been notified and Weather Channel's back on Channel 15 at Media General again (talk about your riveting stories, Captain Airwaves!) . . .
What's this we hear about ABC Sports trying to buy out of what remains of its $575 million major league baseball contract, which runs through 1989? Lousy ratings are blamed for the loss of interest by the budget-minded network . . .
(To cut costs, in several instances this summer, ABC Sports has followed NBC's major league baseball crews to the same ballparks so they can rent the cameras NBC uses on Saturday for their Sunday broadcasts) . . .
Speaking of which, Jim Spence, who ran ABC Sports' day-to-day operations for years but left when he was passed over for the presidency earlier this year, has started his own consulting, production and packaging firm -- Sports Television International Inc. . . .
So far, STI has lined up as clients Pac 10 football; Triple Crown Productions (which does the publicity for the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and Belmont Stakes); and Main Events, which promotes the 1984 U.S. Olympic boxers . . .
ABC Entertainment has changed the title of its upcoming Saturday night L.A. cop drama series from the fancy "Cold Steel & Neon" to plain old "City by Night" . . .