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ON THE COVER

October 04, 1987

ABC is saying hello to Dolly Parton to the tune of $40 million.

For that, she's supposed to stay with the network for two years and hopefully deliver a hit show that will help the third-place network move up in the ratings.

So, Parton has jumped into the weekly television wars, hosting a variety show titled "Dolly" Sundays at 9 p.m. (Channels 7, 3, 10, 42). Actually, an ABC exec says they're not just putting on a variety show. They're putting on Dolly Parton.

The network also has gone to lengths to explain that this is not a country music show, though as Parton has said in interviews there will be some country flavor "because I'll be on it." One planned segment, in fact, is called "Tennessee Mountain Home," where she can reminisce about her childhood and life in the Smokies.

The show also will find Parton as a chatty waitress or as a hairdresser, giving her the chance to talk about this and that and talk with the viewers at home.

And the music? Parton has promised not to sing with every guest, but she will sing, of course. And the guests? Try Johnny Carson, Tom Selleck, Little Richard, Patti LaBelle, along with Oprah Winfrey, Pee-wee Herman and Hulk Hogan who were visitors on the kickoff show last week. She's also expecting Elizabeth Taylor, Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin to say "Hello, Dolly," one of these Sunday nights too.

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