With the “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” specials grabbing record ratings close to 15 million viewers, many Americans are dreaming of winning big money themselves, just like real people on TV.
Jeopardy's three all-time champions are not just competing for a nightly jackpot that can be in the tens of thousands, but the chance for a $1 million grand prize.
Not bad for a few nights of work. If buzzers, bells and bargaining are in your DNA and you're game to compete, here are four shows that will pay to play:
You can't pick your relatives, but you can choose which ones might help you win more than $100,000 on "Family Feud." So round up the family brainiacs and sign up on the show’s audition page. (It helps to have a little personality, too.)
The five members you'll depend on have to be related by blood, marriage or adoption to get quizzed by Steve Harvey.
“Let’s Make a Deal”
This Wayne Brady hit is not a bad bargain. The show gave away more than $7 million in cash and prizes last year. But you have to be in it to win it, literally, since all contestants are chosen from the studio audience.
And if your suitcase gets lost by the airline on your way to Los Angeles, don't fret. "Let's Make a Deal" has a costume shop with outfits for rent from $20 to $35. You can even grab some new threads for as little as a buck.
The more colorful you are, the better your chance to be selected.
The show is presently on hiatus but will return in early 2020. You can sign up for the waitlist and the producers will notify you when tickets become available. (Or, if you don't feel like the trek, check out the game's traveling version, "Let's Make a Deal - Live," which features all the zaniness and quizzes of the TV version. Just don't expect to win as big.
“The Price Is Right”
Like "Let's Make a Deal," you have to be part of the audience to play the "Price is Right." Tickets are usually made available about a month before taping and are among the most difficult to land because of the overwhelming number of requests.
Of note are two upcoming special editions: The Kid's Week Middle School Speical on and The Valentine's Day Special, both debuting Jan. 12.
For the kids' show, contestants must be between 6th and 8th grade and attend with a parent or legal guardian. And for singles looking for love on Valentine's Day, contestants play against another single person from the audience.
More details can be found here.
“Wheel of Fortune”
If you want to spin for a chance at cash, you can sign up for "Wheel of Fortune.”
“Thousands of fans fill out applications and gather in front of the stage with this traveling version of the famous Wheel and Puzzle board,” the game's website says. “Applications are drawn at random throughout, calling individuals on stage in groups of five to participate in a brief interview, play a version of the 'Wheel of Fortune' speed-up round and win special show-themed prizes.”
In order to get selected, you’ll have to be called in for a second audition. So “don’t look like you’ve just rolled out of bed,” the site says, and you could win $91,000 like Matt Desanto in 2015 or $1 million like Michelle Loewenstein in 2008.
Loewenstein was the first-ever winner of a prize greater than $1 million in the history of "Wheel of Fortune." The final puzzle that she solved was “Leaky Faucet," and for that, she collected $1,026,080.
If you are lucky enough to win big, keep in mind that game show winnings are considered to be ordinary income by the Internal Revenue Service and are taxed up to 37 percent along with state taxes.