By Brian Johnsrud
The cameras begin to roll, and gargantuan lights illuminate the immaculate stage as the audience roars and claps with anticipation. On the platform awaits 50 anxious women, each knowing that within the next hour, they could be the one legally married to a multimillionaire. A daydream? No, Fox's first release of the hit show, "Who Wants To Marry a Multimil-lionaire?" In this series, women compete against 49 others in beauty, knowledge, and personality tests judged by the multimillionaire groom-to-be, gradually diminishing it down to one bride. And on February 15th, Rick Rockwell and Darva Conger became husband and wife with the first words being spoken to each other being their wedding vows.
However, there seemed to be a wrong stitch in the carefully woven plan. On the honeymoon, Rockwell was appalled to find out that Conger wanted nothing to do with him. "Darva told me, 36 hours after we were married, basically she said: "This is not me, I'm not an impulsive person, I don't do things like this," Rockwell admitted. It appears that Conger had no intention of involving him in her life at all, and would have the marriage annulled as soon as possible. "Never in a million years did I think of it as an actual marriage in my heart and before God and I still don't," she said. Conger, a 34-year-old nurse, and Rockwell, a 42-year old stand up comic and real estate investor, parted there ways soon after their marriage that was viewed by over 16 million viewers on February 21.
Although, there might have been a few loose threads before they even said "I do." Conger claimed that she was a Gulf War veteran. However, Inside Edition, who acquired her military records, claimed that she never served in the Persian Gulf, but was a staff sergeant at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois at the time. Conger commented that even though she was not present, anyone on active duty at the time of that war is considered a Gulf War veteran. Rockwell had a few unmentioned skeleton's in his closet it also appeared. His ex-fiance had acquired a restraining order against him for yelling at her and hitting her. When questioned, however, Rockwell said he only argued with her and let the air out of her tires.
No matter what the circumstances, when this information reached Fox studio's, the series was immediately canceled and Fox said they were through with reality-based shows all together. They plan to dump other programs with the same basis also. "Busted on the Job 5," and "Plastic Surgery Nightmares," are some of the shows Fox had planned to release this year.
Even if Fox cuts the rope on this sort of entertainment, the ratings in the past have scored too high for other stations to keep away. CBS already has a whole new line up of similar reality shows scheduled to air. One, entitled "Survivor," has 16 volunteers stranded on a deserted Caribbean island. Another, called "Big Brother," is similar to many movies where peoples lives are recorded, where a group of people will live together with every move they make being taped.