Originally created 04/21/00

Surgeon stays quiet on 'Millionaire' debut



AIKEN -- Will lights flash and confetti fall on Dr. Steven Clark on Sunday night as he sits in the hot seat on America's favorite game show?

If you listen to his co-workers, the answer is yes.

The buzz around his office is that the Aiken surgeon will become the fourth person to win a million dollars on ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

"I think his grin lets us know that he did very good," said Peggy Campbell, who transcribes medical records for the doctor at Aiken Surgical Associates.

Dr. Clark taped an episode of the top-rated game show April 13 in New York. Since he returned, his staff and patients have relentlessly tried to get him to spill the beans about his game-show debut.

"He's been avoiding us like the plague," Mrs. Campbell said. "I feel in my heart that he's won the million."

But Dr. Clark won't divulge any details because he signed a confidentiality agreement with the network, saying he would not disclose how he did on the show until after the episode airs at 9 p.m. Sunday on ABC.

The Harvard graduate has not confirmed or denied whether his final answer won him the big bucks, or even whether his fingers were fast enough to get him into the hot seat to be drilled by host Regis Philbin. ABC also is keeping things hush-hush.

Show publicist Pat Preblick said producers can't give away in advance how contestants fared because they want viewers to tune in for themselves.

"You definitely should tune in," she said, referring to Sunday's episode. "It's a great show!"

Dr. Clark plans to watch the show at his home Sunday, and his friends and co-workers said they'll be glued to the tube as well. About 15 of them are gathering for a party.

"We are expecting him to be the fourth millionaire," said Donna Boone, Dr. Clarke's physician coordinator. "There's just a lot of excitement in the air."

Mrs. Campbell added that Dr. Clark hasn't tried to subdue his staff's excitement, which has led them to believe he made it to the coveted hot seat -- or could even be a millionaire.

"He hasn't tried to calm us down," she said, "so we're pretty confident he may have won."

Reach Katie Throne at (803) 279-6895.