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ABC's new 'Glitter' has plenty of shine but very little substance

And so it begins again. The new television season. The first of 22 new shows premieres on ABC on Thursday: Glitter (9-11 p.m., thereafter on Thursdays, 9-10 p.m.). It glitters; it glints; it glistens. What it doesn't do is sparkle.

It is all glitz. Flamboyant glitz, to be sure, now and then. But still, superficial, artificial flash with little substance.

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Call it ''Magazine Boat.''

''Glitter'' is a multileveled series of one-dimensional stories, centered on a magazine office, something on the order of an in-depth People. So you can see that it starts off out of focus.

Like both ''Love Boat'' and ''Hotel,'' it has a regular cast of characters: the editor - soon to be leaving, since it is Van Johnson and I assume the budget could only afford one premiere appearance - the publisher (Arthur Hill) and his reporter-daughter (Morgan Brittany), the star reporter (David Birney), and an idiosyncratic photographer (Arte Johnson).

In the premiere episode there are lots of guest stars like Patricia Neal, Juliet Prowse, Ken Howard, and Mike Connors. And there is enough story line to entangle everybody. Even a highly original question of ethics and exploitation, something that doesn't seem to come up too often in the glitzy Century City offices of magazines like People - pardon me - Glitter.

I won't bother you with details. It should suffice to reveal that when the editor says, ''We've got a magazine to turn out,'' the new heiress/reporter reacts with, ''Did he really say that?'' Responds star reporter Birney: ''Every week.''

Yes, I'm afraid so.

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