Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Marrying a Millionaire, February 15, 2000

It came crashing to earth like a mile long meteor from outerspace! Seemingly out of nowhere, Fox's 2-hour special, How to Marry A Millionaire detonated over popular culture. It was trainwreck television, and why it was labeled "reality television" is anyone's guess. It was The Dating Game meets Miss America with a Rupert Murdoch/Fox twist of Queen for a Day. However one views this TV reality nightmare, it trashed TV as never before and started an onslaught of similar television.

The basic premise had 50 women prancing before bachelor-millionaire Rick Rockwell. Ultimately, in just 2 hours, Mr. Rockwell was able to select his perfect wife and married her on the spot! The show was the talk of the TV season, as post-show newlywed Dana Conger-Rockwell spent a disastrous honeymoon followed by an annulment. Mr. Rockwell, it seemed had a history of abuse against women. While America reacted with predictable outrage, TV networks knew those crying the loudest would tune in for more. While Fox milked as much publicity from the cash cow as possible, the highly-rated special never became a regular series . . . but it had impact.

The Bachelor, Joe Millionaire, Flavor of Love, Anything for Love, Blind Date, The 5th Wheel, Dismissed, Elimidate, The Shipmates, Temptation Island, Meet the Folks . . . all of these shows spun the concept of How to Marry a Millionaire into the national airwaves. It's the gag gift that just keeps on giving. In many ways, this one shot special is still on the air today, eight long, dry TV seasons later.

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