By People Staff
October 26, 1998 12:00 AM

On the subject of brides, Rick Rockwell, a real estate investor and motivational speaker who lives near San Diego, met and married Darva Conger after a two-hour prime-time competition that aired Tuesday, the night after Valentine’s Day. They were complete strangers to one another before they appeared on Fox’s “Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire,” which combined elements of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “The Dating Game” and the Miss America pageant. The result: a ratings sensation and a front-page story in today’s edition of The New York Times, which noted that the wedding giveaway program drew larger numbers than ABC’s “Millionaire” — especially among young female viewers. The idea for the show was hatched by Fox executive Mike Darnell after he saw the ABC show with Regis Philbin climb in popularity. And while some women around the country complained that the program reinforced stereotypes of the old maid desperate to latch onto a man, reports The Times, the Fox Web site was so besieged with requests from would-be contestants for the next edition of “Multimillionaire” that it crashed yesterday afternoon.

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