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Regis Philbin crowns 2 more big winners

But will latest millionaires help sagging ratings?

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Add two more millionaires to the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" club. They couldn't come at a better time.

The ABC program, which is taped in advance, said it had two top-prize winners in a week's time (the first, Kim Hunt, a math teacher from Collierville, Tenn., won Thursday night). That brings the total to six millionaires out of about 250 contestants in the show's first 11 months on the air in the United States.

Producer Michael Davies, announcing "another two American lives changed for the good" at a New York press conference, said the new winners provide some dramatic moments, as well as a chance for a "call out to our regular viewers" at a time when they may not be tuning in to each and every episode of what is currently a three-night-per-week show, soon to be four nights a week in the fall.

The show, Davies said, is undergoing an "interesting transition. We were an event program. Now 'Millionaire' is becoming a regular television series. We're not the massive thing, totally different, totally reinventing television. That mantle has been passed on."

Indeed, CBS' summer series "Survivor" has taken some of the novelty out of "Millionaire," beating it in head-to-head competition. "Millionaire" host Regis Philbin said his show's team knew a "stunt program" would eventually come along that might beat it, but he said that once he finally saw "Survivor" he was expecting more than "throwing spears at a banana," adding: "It's not for me."

Davies said he considered whether minting too many millionaires might devalue the show but decided the current rate is right. With all the effort contestants go to in order to get on, he said, "I have to produce a show where contestants have a fighting chance."

Davies said he remains "disappointed, concerned and frustrated" about the show's low number of minority contestants but noted that the blind call-in qualification process for selecting candidates had been scrutinized and no solution was found. The producers have discussed ways to recruit minority and female players, and Davies did note that more women have been getting into the show's "hot seat."

Davies also said celebrity episodes of the program would return in November.