On This Day: Dolly Parton’s Show ‘Dolly’ Premieres on ABC in 1987

by Matthew Memrick

Country music legend Dolly Parton’s “Dolly” variety show premiered on ABC on Sept. 27, 1987. It was her second variety show series, with the first coming in 1976.

According to one source, that show was the most-watched new series premiere with close to 40 million viewers.

According to the website Futon Critic, the show had 39.47 million viewers and nearly onto that record until a CBS show named “Undercover Boss” closely matched that mark in 2010 with 38.6 million viewers.

Parton’s first variety show came with Oprah Winfrey, Pee-wee Herman, and Hulk Hogan. She opened the show by speaking to the audience from her bathtub. 

According to IMDB, she would also have weekly surprise guests. In the show, she performed “This Little Light Of Mine” with Winfrey, “Hey, Good Lookin'” with Herman, and “You’ve Got A Headlock On My Heart” with Hogan. Actor Dudley Moore and former New York City mayor Ed Koch also appeared in the inaugural broadcast.

The Parton-Hogan video is a treat, with Hogan in a ring grappling with other wrestlers before marrying Dolly Parton. They even kiss before Dolly throws her flower bouquet out of the wrestling ring. You can’t beat that.

The 60-minute show had 22 episodes. And most episodes closed with Dolly singing her classic hit “I Will Always Love You.” 

The show may have been a big gamble with other more extensive variety shows long off the air. Ratings faded, and the show ended on May 23, 1988.

In September 2020, Time Life released a 19-disc box set called “Dolly: The Ultimate Collection.” With the set, there are 16 episodes from the series. Reportedly, 15 of the 16 episodes are edited due to copyright issues.

Parton Hip With Social Media

Parton has staying power through her charity work and social media platforms. She’s even getting into the TikTok game soon.

Recently, she had some fun while creating a meme of herself, providing new meaning to an iconic scholarly snap. In an older photo, she donned a cap and gown to express her joy in winning an argument and expressing how smart she was.

Over 252,000 Twitter users liked the post.

Parton Helping Flood Victims

After helping create a vaccine to fight COVID-19 and working on children’s literacy with her efforts to send books across the country, Dolly Parton will help the recent Tennesee flooding victims. 

Parton is giving a portion of ticket sales from Dollywood, and her dinner shows on Oct. 2 and 3 to the United Way of Humphreys County.

The flooding affected her friend, Loretta Lynn. Parton expressed that she wanted to help after Lynn helped out during the 2016 wildfires. Lynn lives in Humphreys County and had helped in the wildfire rescue efforts when Sevier County, WATE reported.