Where California Ranks Among States With Most TV Show Millionaire Winners

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

There’s little doubt California is at the heart of America’s entertainment industry, thanks to Hollywood and various studios being located in the state. It’s likely of little surprise then California has produced the most TV millionaires of any state in the U.S., producing 25% of all seven-figure game show winners in the country.  

BetCalifornia.com, you source for the road to California sports betting, utilized Wikipedia.com 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).  

Californians have gone on to win $1,000,000 on a variety of reality and game shows, including “Amazing Race,” “Survivor,” “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “The Price Is Right” and “The Challenge.”  

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

California The Nation’s Leader In TV Show Winners

With a total of 26 $1 million winners, California blows the rest of the country out of the water when it comes to big-time TV winners. The Golden State has as many winners (26) as the next five closest states combined, showing how successful Californians have been on TV’s biggest stages.  

Of those, 10 won that amount on “Amazing Race,” while another seven won $1 million apiece on “Survivor,” three on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” and two apiece from “Wheel of Fortune,” “Price Is Right” and “The Challenge.”  

That list includes Californians like Autumn Erhard, who took home $1 million on “Wheel of Fortune” in 2017, becoming the second contestant in the show’s 30-plus year history to win that amount of money. Erhard and the other 25 California residents that have won big money on some of TV’s most enduring shows illustrate how front-and-center the state is to the industry at large.  

They also show that any Californian can achieve great things when they combine the right mixture of good luck and skill in front of the blinding lights of a TV stage.  

Keep it here at BetCalifornia for more fun items like this, plus California sports betting promo codes when the time comes.


Christopher Boan
Reporter / Journalist

Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetCalifornia.com, specializing in sports betting issues in the western United States. He's covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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