Is Pennsylvania Among States With Most TV Show Millionaires?

Everyone dreams it.  Everyone works towards it, takes a chance to achieve it and now there is even a day for it as Saturday, May 20 is National “Be A Millionaire Day." utilized and other sources to gather each contestant who has won a million dollars (in one or multiple attempts) from the U.S. versions of “Survivor,” “Wheel of Fortune,” all variations of “Jeopardy!” “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?” “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” “The Price Is Right,” “Deal or No Deal,” “The Amazing Race,” “Big Brother,” and “The Challenge.”  

Of note, “The Amazing Race” contestants were only counted if both contestants were from the same state and all celebrities were also included (even if donating whole amount). 

Here is what we found out. Keep it close at PennStakes for more items like this, but don't forget we're also the go-to source for Pennsylvania online casinos.

States With Most Million Dollar Winners

Rank State Number of Winners Percentage of Winners (Per State)
2New York87.7%
T3Massachusetts & Texas65.8% each
T5Ohio & Pennsylvania54.8% each
7New Jersey43.8%
T8Florida, Illinois, Utah & Virginia32.9% each

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Pennsylvania Cracks Top 5

Pennsylvania tied with Ohio for fifth on the list with a total of five winners among three shows with a 4.8%-win percentage. California topped the list with 26 winners among six shows with a solid 25%-win percentage. 

The Keystone State had three winners from "Survivor" and one winner each from "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" and "Jeopardy!."

Philadelphia bartender Sam Murray won "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" back on Nov. 11, 2009 in the Million Dollar Tournament of Ten. His winning answer was 100 billion to the question: “According to the Population Reference Bureau, what is the approximate number of people who have ever lived on earth?”

Lancaster’s own Brad Rutter first had a five-day winning run on "Jeopardy!" winning over $55,000. It's the tournaments he has played in since that have made him a millionaire, having won more than $1 million dollars in three other shows, including $2 million in the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions. 

Stay tuned for more pieces like this on PennStakes, your home for Pennsylvania casino promotions.


Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media ( in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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