#10. John Carpenter
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: $1,250,000
Total winnings: $1,250,000
John Carpenter created the original Halloween…but that’s a different guy. This John Carpenter was the first million-dollar winner on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Carpenter only used one lifeline on the show – phone a friend. – to call his father and say, “I don’t really need your help. I just wanted to let you know I’m going to win the million dollars.”
#9. Curtis Warren
Sale of the Century: $136,288
Win Ben Stein’s Money: $700
Total winnings: $1,546,988
Curtis appeared on Jeopardy! in 1986, but didn’t win any money.
#8. David Legler
David won his prize money over six appearances on the 2000 reboot of Twenty-One that was hosted by none other than Maury Povich!
#7. Ashlee Register
Ashlee won $75,000 on Duel as well the show’s accumulative $1,720,000 jackpot. This win set two new US TV game show records: the most money won by a female contestant and the most money won by a contestant that has appeared on only one game show.
#6. Ed Toutant
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: $1,860,000
Total winnings: $1,871,401
On Millionaire, Ed missed a question that was later found to be flawed. Toutant was invited back to continue playing from the same level he “lost” at. Ed went on to win a jackpot of $1.86 million.
#5. Kevin Olmstead
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: $2,180,000
Total winnings: $2,207,000
Kevin held the record as the biggest winner on a US primetime game show for over 12 years. This was broken by Andrew Kravis on the September 19th episode of Jeopardy! in 2013.
#4. Andrew Kravis
The Million Second Quiz: $2,600,000
Wheel of Fortune: $50,550
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: $1,000
Total winnings: $2,656,550
#3. James Holzhauer
The Chase: $58,333.33
Total winnings: $3,022,549
On The Chase, James split the $175K jackpot among his three-person team. I’ve never watched The Chase, but I’ve seen Meredith Vieira try to awkwardly chase that young Navy pilot
#2. Brad Rutter
Million Dollar Mind Game: $100,000
Total winnings: $5,153,436
Brad Rutter surpassed Ken Jennings as the highest-earning contestant on Jeopardy!
#1. Ken Jennings
Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?: $500,000
Grand Slam: $100,000
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: $100,000
1 vs. 100: $714.29
Total winnings: $5,223,414
Jennings won $2,522,700 on a 75-episode run on Jeopardy!, winning the rest on return appearances.