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Eight Players Who Won More Than a Million


Ever wondered how much you can actually win on a game show? Here are the top eight prize winners in game show history to give you an idea of just how lucrative these shows can be.

While some of these contestants went on to appear on other game shows and earn even more money, or championship rounds of their original show, the prize amounts are based on their first appearance on a game show.

Apparently, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is the best chance of actually becoming one!

1. Ken Jennings

$2,520,700 on Jeopardy

Jennings appeared on Jeopardy in 2002 and won a record 74 games, before being defeated during the final round in his 75th appearance. He won a $2,000 consolation prize for that final game, and then went on to win another $500,000 in the Jeopardy Ultimate Tournament of Champions.

2. Kevin Olmstead

$2,180,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Olmstead appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in April of 2001. He held the record for highest game show winnings for three years, until Ken Jennings exploded onto the Jeopardy scene.

3. Ed Toutant

$1,860,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Ed Toutant worked hard to win nearly two million dollars on Millionaire. The first time he qualified and made it onto the show, his name wasn't called to join Regis Philbin in the "hot seat," the spot where contestants sit to play the game. The second time he tried, Toutant made it into the hot seat but was ousted after answering a question incorrectly. At that time, he won $16,000.

Toutant went home and realized that the question he got wrong was faulty, so he wrote a letter to the Millionaire producers explaining the situation. He was invited back and played the complete game, proving that he did indeed want to be a millionaire.

4. David Legler

$1,765,000 on Twenty One

Legler won his prize during the remake of the Twenty One game show, hosted by Maury Povich. He earned his money over the course of six games in 2000.

5. Curtis Warren

$1,410,000 on Greed

Greed was hosted by Chuck Woolery, and Curtis Warren is notable for being the highest prize winner on the show, as well as for his Rod-Stewart-inspired hairdo. Warren appeared on the show in 1999.

6. John Carpenter

$1,125,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

John Carpenter was the first person on any edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to finish the game and win the top prize. He appeared on the show in November, 1999.

7. Rahim Oberholtzer

$1,120,000 on Twenty One

Oberholtzer also won his money on the revamped version of Twenty One, in 2002. He played four rounds plus the bonus games.

8. Tim Hsieh

$1,042,309 on It's Your Chance of a Lifetime
Dr. Tim Hsieh was the highest prize winner in the short history of the game show, It's Your Chance of a Lifetime. The show itself only ran for one week in 2000, before being canceled and never renewed.

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