Hopes dimmed yesterday for a quick settlement of the 17-week strike against NBC by 2,800 members of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) ...

About 300 workers at NBC facilities in Washington are among the 2,800 who have been on strike since June 29.

Amajority of the union, including the Washington contingent, voted last week to accept the NBC offer. But two small units representing 26 NABET couriers in Chicago and 26 air conditioning and building maintenance workers in Burbank voted against acceptance. Under union bylaws, the contract cannot be ratified unless all 14 NABET units around the country vote approval ...

Yesterday, following a two-hour, 15-minute conference call among NABET's six-member negotiating committee, union leaders in Washington, Chicago and New York voted to propose to NBC negotiators that members return to work tomorrow while negotiations continue with the recalcitrant units to resolve remaining issues ...

However, chief union negotiator Tom Kennedy refused to waive a provision in the new contract giving NABET the right to restore picket lines should negotiations with those units break down ...

NBC vice president for labor relations Day Krolik said the network would consider the offer to return if the union waived the right to restore picket lines, but when Kennedy insisted on the provision, the offer was turned down...

During the conference call, the NABET committee also turned down, by a 4-to-2 vote, a proposal that Chicago's couriers be allowed to re-vote on the NBC contract, which they originally rejected by a 17-to-1 margin ...

In two days of negotiation earlier this week, Krolik told a reporter, the balking Burbank unit had come up with 15 new demands. He said NBC is firm that the network contract offer approved by the NABET majority (1,507 to 738) last week cannot be altered ...

Even if the dissident units had agreed to terms yesterday, our sources indicated, the earliest the NABET members could actually return to work would have been next Wednesday. Now, these sources say, barring an unexpected miracle, the earliest date for a return will be sometime the week of Nov. 2 ...

Krolik pointed out that in a similar situation -- when NABET struck ABC in 1977 -- the union waived the right to return to the picket lines and workers returned while negotiations continued ...

A NABET spokesman expressed hope yesterday that negotiations would resume with the balking units on Saturday but stopped short of predicting it would happen ...

Krolik also confirmed that when the strike ends, NBC is planning disciplinary action against about 30 strikers who, the network claims, have engaged in harassment and acts of physical abuse since the strike began. Many of the alleged acts reportedly were recorded by non-NABET video crews ...

Under terms of the new contract, the union members can challenge the punishment in arbitration. NABET had asked for full amnesty but the network refused ...

Meanwhile, as of this weekend, the 2,800 striking cameramen, writers, producers and other technicians will have already lost one-third of their annual pay due to the walkout ...

Also in the News

And from our I Knew There Was Some Reason I Like To Get To Sleep Early On Sundays file: NBC's five owned-TV stations, including Channel 4 here, will air Howard Cosell's new syndicated talk show, "Speaking of Everything" starting in January ...

Locally, it will air late Sunday night. As with Cosell's popular ABC Radio Network program, he will discuss (and offer opinions on) major issues of the day with prominent guests ...

ABC's "Good Morning America" finished first in the morning race for the second week in a row, averaging a 4.5 Nielsen rating and a 23 percent audience share. NBC's "Today," which had led for a whole year straight until the new peoplemeters first jumped up and said "Boo!" five weeks ago (we're talking early Halloween here, TV Column fans), was second at 4.3/22. CBS' "The Morning Program" limped in with a 1.9/10 ...

The Oct. 17 season premiere of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," with Steve Martin at the helm, had a national Nielsen average of 8.8, with a 28 share, the best season premiere since Madonna hosted the Nov. 9, 1985, show, which did a 9.5/28 ... but a far cry from the 16.0/47 on Oct. 13, 1979, again with Martin at the helm ...

Last season's opener, with Sigourney Weaver in charge, managed only a 6.4/19 but Captain Airwaves remains devoted to Sigourney ...

Wednesday night's World Series game between St. Louis and Minnesota on ABC averaged a 23.8 national Nielsen average and a 39 percent audience share (each rating point represents 866,000 TV homes)...

The first four Series games on ABC this year have averaged a 22.4/35. The first four games between the N.Y. Mets and the Boston Red Sox last fall on NBC averaged a 25.3/41 -- which means average audiences are down 2.3 million TV homes a night so far this year ...

Locally, Game 4 did a 20.9/33 on Channel 7 (each rating point representing about 15,800 TV homes)...

Channel 9 president and general manager Ron Townsend is one of five individuals to be honored Oct. 29 by the United Negro College Fund at its seventh annual Salute to Leadership dinner at the Sheraton Washington hotel ...

Also to be recognized for their contributions to the goals of the UNCF will be Jeanne C. Sinkford, dean of Howard University's School of Dentistry; Patrick Hayes, director emeritus of the Washington Performing Arts Society; John W. Hechinger Sr., chairman and CEO of Hechinger; and Mary Hatwood Futrell, president of the National Education Association ...

PBS' "American Playhouse" will air a three-hour drama early next year based on transcripts from the controversial trial of New York subway gunman Bernhard Goetz ...

Monday, Goetz, 39, was given a six-month jail term for illegal possession of a weapon, five years probation, fined $5,000, ordered to perform 280 hours of community service and ordered to undergo psychiatric counseling. He shot and wounded four youths on a Manhattan subway train because he said he feared he was going to be mugged ...

"This project provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to dramatize our American system of justice," said Lindsay Law, executive producer of the series. Litchfield Films will start production next month at WGBH in Boston ...

Moving Right Along ABC has ordered full seasons (22 episodes) for "Hooperman" and " 'Slap' Maxwell," two of the new series the network is counting on to help close the gap with CBS this year in their race to stay close to NBC...

Last week, "Hooperman" finished a strong 21st in the national rankings, while "Slap" was 37th ...

Meanwhile, ABC's "Thirtysomething," which leads in the most-written-about category, continues to slide -- dropping to 45th place last week and, after opening with a 16.7 Nielsen average three weeks ago, closing at 13.3 in heavy trading ...

ABC also announced yesterday that it has brought Nick Vanoff, one of the top variety entertainment producers in TV, in to help with the "Dolly" show. No title for Nick but it's clear he'll have a lot to say about the direction of the program in the future. Don Mischer remains as producer-director Don Mischer, while Dolly Parton's longtime pal, Sandy Gallin, remains as executive producer ...

"Dolly," the network's two-year, $40 million Sunday night gamble, debuted to a strong 24.7 Nielsen rating and a 38 percent audience share and fifth place in the weekly rankings in the opening week of the new season. In its most recent appearance, two weeks ago, it was down to 27th and a 15.1/23, indicating a loss of some 15 to 17 million weekly viewers ...

Vanoff, who will be producing his 10th straight Kennedy Centers Honors for CBS in December, created the long-running "Hollywood Palace" series for ABC back in 1963, the first successful variety series with guest hosts (hello, Dolly?) as well as the less successful "Julie Andrews Hour" for ABC and NBC's "The Big Show." In the business, he is envied as the successful packager of the syndicated hit, "Hee Haw" ...

Boo! "Stephen King's World of Horror Part II" will air at 5 p.m. tomorrow on Channel 4. The one-hour special, produced and syndicated by Baruch Television Group here, is hosted by horrormeister King, who will be joined by John Carpenter, among others, as well as a lot of spooky film clips. The show has been cleared on stations reaching 88 percent of the nation's TV audience ...