The walkout of Big Name Stars just as production for the fall begins on their series -- an annual Summer Rite -- got underway this week when Valerie Harper failed to report to work Monday at Lorimar Telepictures ...

The word is that it's a salary dispute in which Valerie is ostensibly holding an extra card since the NBC series bears her name ...

The series, produced by AL Productions, Miller-Boyett Productions and Lorimar Telepictures, started taping on Monday but when Harper, who plays "Valerie Hogan," didn't show up, they shot around her. Ms. Harper should keep in mind that "Valerie," despite its presence on the all-winning NBC lineup, finished only 43rd among primetime series last season ...

NBC Entertainment yesterday had no comment on the walkout, except to confirm "there's been a disagreement" ...

Viacom, which holds the keys to the vault for reruns of "The Cosby Show," the biggest hit on network TV in years, comes to Washington next week to listen to bids on the huge NBC success, which goes into national syndication in the fall of 1988 ...

Viacom so far has cleared the show on 103 stations, including 96 network affiliates ... but the series' potential is so strong that the company withdraws it if the auction in a particular market doesn't meet Viacom's estimates of what the traffic will bear ...

Instead of the usual syndication deal -- selling rights by the episode -- Viacom requires stations to pay a weekly price. And Viacom keeps a full minute to sell its own advertising (a "barter" arrangement usually reserved for marginal series) ...

Local stations don't know what the minimum weekly price is going to be in Washington, a Top Ten market. Recently, Viacom auctioned "The Cosby Show" in Baltimore, starting the bidding at $26,000 a week for a 2 1/2-year contract. WJZ, the ABC affiliate, won the auction at an estimated $50,000 to $60,000 a week ...

Local stations will have to turn in their bids by Monday, Aug. 10. Every station in town could use "Cosby," of course, but some could use the huge hit more than others ...

There are reports that NBC, which owns Channel 4 here, could be interested in bidding for the series, and there's talk among rivals that WRC might place "Cosby" at 5 p.m., cutting a half hour out of the early newscast on the gamble that the large ratings would move the rest of the newscast into a more competitive situation with number one Channel 9 in 1988 ...

CBS reportedly bought "Cosby" for two of its owned-stations in Chicago and Philadelphia recently, paying something like $90,000 a week for rights in the latter city ...

Another station that could be interested in "Cosby" is WDCA. Channel 20 is rumored to have "Cheers" ready to go at 7:30 this fall, and the addition of "Cosby" somewhere in its schedule down the line could really boost its movie and sports lineup during primetime ...

Nine, Seven and Five are expected to show interest in Mr. Cosby, too ...

Viacom sold "Cosby" in the Chicago market for $225,000 a week, while in New York, WWOR paid $240,000 per. Typically, a successful network series in the Washington market would go for as much as $35,000 an episode with the rights to eight plays ...

Also in the News NBC News president Lawrence Grossman said yesterday that an NBC News executive will be in Israel today to protest the Israeli government's ban against its leaders appearing for interviews on the network in retaliation for the July 1 documentary "Six Days Plus 20 Years: A Dream Is Dying" ...

Grossman said Ed Planer, vice president for Europe and the Middle East, will travel from London to discuss the problem ...

The documentary showed Israeli troops beating Arabs in the Israeli-occupied West Bank of the Jordan River and generally cast the Israelis in an unfavorable light ...

On July 22, the Israeli government notified NBC Tel Aviv bureau chief Larry Weidman that Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin have refused to be interviewed by NBC because of their objections to the documentary ...

A spokesman for Shamir, however, denied the Israeli government had forbidden officials to talk to NBC but said the three officials had decided individually to shun the network ...

"The notion of bringing Israeli censorship to the U.S. is an appalling one," Grossman told a press conference in Los Angeles over the weekend. He called the documentary "a tough, hard-hitting documentary" and he noted that no one has accused the network of inaccuracies ...

Israeli officials called the program "violently anti-Israeli," saying the program expressed only extremist views and failed to show any moderate government statements ...

In a letter to Asher Naim, minister for information at the Israeli Embassy here, in which he expressed the hope Israel would reconsider its decision to "punish NBC News," Grossman quoted favorable reviews of the program by the nation's TV critics ...

He said he met with leaders of the major American Jewish organizations, who he said "expressed concern over the Israelis' action against the network" ...

Yesterday, Grossman told a reporter that "my hope, my sense of it is that out of Planer's talks will come some sense and the restrictions will not be imposed" ...

He said that over the weekend, a request by NBC's flagship station in New York, WNBC, to interview Peres was "turned down in retaliation" for the documentary ...

Grossman also revealed that Weidman has been urging Israeli officials to show the documentary on Israeli television and that NBC "would be happy to make it available" ...

Captain Airwaves is running out of toes, but by his count, "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" has now finished third behind NBC and ABC for the eighth time in the past nine weeks ...

For the week ending July 24, "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" was first with a 10.0 Nielsen rating and a 22 percent audience share, even though Chris Wallace and Connie Chung took turns spelling Tom on Thursday and Friday nights ...

It was the 15th weekly win in a row for NBC ...

"ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" was second at 9.2/20 (ABC's news show again outdrew ABC's primetime schedule), while "CBS Evening News" was third at 8.8/20 ...

1 22.4 Family Ties 43 NBC 2 22.0 The Cosby Show 43 NBC 3 19.6 Cheers 36 NBC 4 17.2 Murder -- Reason/Insanity 32 CBS 5 17.1 Murder, She Wrote 33 CBS 6 15.2 The Golden Girls 32 NBC 15.2 Designing Women 26 CBS 8 15.1 Hunter 32 NBC 9 14.7 Molly Dodd 27 NBC 14.7 Growing Pains 27 ABC 11 14.6 ALF 28 NBC 12 14.5 Newhart 26 CBS 13 l4.4 Moonlighting 25 ABC 14 14.3 Amen 30 NBC 14.3 Who's the Boss? 27 ABC 16 14.2 Miss Teen Pageant 25 CBS 17 14.0 Valerie 26 NBC 18 13.4 L.A. Law 26 NBC 19 13.3 Matlock 25 NBC 20 12.7 Cagney & Lacey 23 CBS

NBC finished first for the 26th week in a row, this time with an 11.6 rating and a 23 share. With eight weeks to go in the way networks count the year, NBC has finished first 41 times in 44 tries ...

CBS was second at 10.6/21, ABC was third at 9.1/18 ...

In other highlights for the week ending July 26, the NBC News special, "Crime, Punishment ... and Kids" tied for 35th with a 9.7/21. That showing at 7 p.m. Sunday night knocked CBS' "60 Minutes" down to 27th place with an 11.1/25. That's the lowest share for the CBS perennial since it went up against the Super Bowl on NBC in January 1983 ...

An NBC pilot, "Bennett Brothers," finished in a three-way tie for 40th; the Monday night baseball game on ABC was 45th and CBS' drama special on AIDS, "An Enemy Among Us," finished in a four-way tie for 47th ...

The Final And Usually Fatal Five Plus One last week included, in order, ABC's "Sledge Hammer" and a repeat of the AFI Salute to Fred Astaire on CBS, which tied for 56th, followed by ABC's "Webster," "Starman" and "Our World." The conclusion of CBS' "Space" disappeared into the black hole of 61st and last place ...