Who doesn’t dream of becoming a contestant on a popular game show and walking away with a million dollars? It happens only to a select few, but those that are up for the challenge and are lucky enough to be selected as contestants can be sure to expect a big payoff when winning any of the following television shows.
Wheel of Fortune – Impressive Cash and Vacation Prizes
A longstanding show that has become ingrained in the American game show culture, Wheel of Fortune may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the best top prizes. Although difficult to achieve, there is a chance of winning a million dollars if luck happens to be on your side.
The million dollar winners have the choice of taking a lump sum of $660,000 or receiving the million in installments over the course of 20 years. Even if you don’t end up winning the million dollars, cash payouts for winning the bonus round are nothing to sneeze at, not to mention all of the vacation packages you can win along the way.
Jeopardy! – Thousands, if not Millions, of Dollars
Another classic, Jeopardy! is an iconic American quiz show. Trivia subjects vary with each episode, but popular topics include literature, pop culture, wordplay, and history. This game takes knowledge, preparation, and strategy to ensure your place in Jeopardy! history, so don’t count on luck to get you there.
While most winning contestants walk away with several thousand dollars each time, the winner comes back to play again. Given that he or she doesn’t lose, the chances of racking up the money could be endless. For example, Ken Jennings won $2.5 million after playing 75 games in 2004. Brad Rutter, who won $3.2 million during the show’s Ultimate Tournament of Champions, overtook Jennings the following year.
Big Brother – $500,000 Plus a Laid Back Summer
Big Brother is a popular reality TV show that involves grouping people together in a large house and isolating them from the outside world. This doesn’t mean that the outside world doesn’t have access, however, since there are television cameras situated throughout the house and filming takes place 24-7. There are house rules and majority votes, all designed to pick one houseguest off at a time.
The one standing in the end is declared the winner and gets to take home $500,000. Not bad for spending the summer in a fancy house filled with attractive people and having unlimited access to a swimming pool.
The Price is Right – Potential $1 Million Plus Showcase Prizes
Another iconic game show, The Price is Right has held its own in a changing TV culture. Becoming a contestant on The Price is Right is simple—all you have to do to is secure free tickets to be in the audience. Audience members are chosen at random, so everyone present has a chance of winning.
Top winners tend to go home with cars, vacations, furniture sets, jewelry, and cold hard cash. Those that make it to the “Showcase Showdown” even have a chance at winning $1 million, given that they guess the actual retail price of their showcase within $1,000, and they get to keep both showcases!
Survivor – $1 Million
Survivor is a reality television show that isolates contestants in wilderness areas. Like many reality TV shows, Survivor uses a progressive elimination format that requires contestants to slowly vote each other off until only one of them remains. The prize for being the sole survivor is $1 million and a car, but it takes guts to get to that point.
This show pits tribe against tribe in strenuous challenges that require contestants to be physically fit. Not only does the sole survivor walk away with a cash prize, but every player receives prize money just for participating. The runner-up typically receives $100,000, the third place winner $85,000, and so on.
American Idol – Recording Contract Worth Millions Plus Instant Fame
Since 2002, American Idol has been churning out successful, and some not so successful, talent and has given aspiring musical artists boosts to achieve dreams. Becoming a contestant on American Idol is difficult. First, you have to have some pipes and, even then, you aren’t guaranteed to pass judging.
Those that make it on the show experience the highs and lows of stardom, including daily practice, weekly performances broadcasted live, and the fickleness of fans that can literally vote them off by not showing their support. The prize payout is amazing though, with the winner receiving a contract worth millions, and many winners have become instant superstars.
The Amazing Race – $1 Million Plus a Trip Around the World
Splitting $1 million with someone special and seeing the world? What could be better than winning The Amazing Race? This reality show features teams of two people—typically couples, a parent and child, roommates, or best friends—who race around the world against other teams. There are challenges along the way, and each team wants to come in first at each leg of the race to win additional prizes.
Contestants experience planes, balloons, cabs, and rental cars as methods of travel. Those that come in last during any leg of the race are eliminated until only one team remains. The show pays for all travel expenses, food, and accommodations so, even if you don’t win the grand prize, it’s pretty much the experience of a lifetime.
These top seven television shows promise to offer a big payout to anyone willing to take on the challenge. Do you think you’re up for it?