. . . Thursday December 2, 2004

So You Want to Be a Gameshow Star?

If your an up and coming kid today, forget rock and roll or internet start-ups or movies or sports (or even being part of a high profile case covered on CourtTV); keep your eye on the prize. Be a gameshow star.

Ken Jennings just completed his run as the winningest gameshow player of all time (unless you consider California divorce court to a be a gameshow). In a way, Jennings had a worse time of it than most of the big winners. He had to work. A lot. Trebek has never been one to part with the big dough (or the spotlight) too easily. It took Jennings 74 appearances, 2,613 correct answers and a lot of insufferable small talk with Alex to win his millions. Compare that to some of the winners on Millionaire who took in their cash in a matter of minutes – and they got to meet Regis (there’s definitely a Mastercard “priceless” ad in that experience, no?)

Courtesy of Forbes, here are the top ten gameshow winners of all time (not counting the Howard Stern listener who won a date with a pornstar).

Ken Jennings

Jeopardy

2004

$2.5 million



Kevin Olmstead

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

2001

$2.2 million

Ed Toutant

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

2001

$2.2 million

Lt. David Legler

Twenty-One

$1.76 million

2000

Curtis Warren

Greed

1999-2000

$1.4 million

Brad Rutter

Jeopardy

2001-2002

$1.15 million

John Carpenter

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

1999-2000

$1.1 million

Rahim Oberholtzer

Twenty-One

2000

$1.1 million

Tim Hsieh

It’s Your Chance of a Lifetime

2000

$1 million

Dan Blonsky

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

2000

$1 million

And where does Nancy Zerg (the woman who finally beat Jennings) rate on this list? Not so high. She lost the very next match.

Of course the real winners here are the folks at the IRS. They welcomed all of these guys into a higher tax bracket and took about half of their cash. Ken Jennings finally lost on a question about the work schedule of employees at H&R Block. That’s the last time he will ever be unfamiliar with anything having to do with taxes.


Concentration is important!