No, it's not the latest variation on "The People's Court," but a "rent-a-judge" program has actress Valerie Harper delighted about her starring role in a real-life courtroom this week in Los Angeles.

The trial of multimillion-dollar suits and countersuits filed between Harper and her former employers, Lorimar and NBC-TV, opened Wednesday following a bitter dispute over the television series "Valerie."Harper was fired from "Valerie" last summer after a heated dispute with Lorimar and the show's producers.

Under an unusual "rent-a-judge" program that brought the dispute to trial about four years faster than usual, all parties agreed to share costs of about $15,000 a week to hire retired Superior Court Judge William Hogoboom and a staff of court personnel to handle the case.