This article lists American game show winnings records and goes into the history and people who have held them. Through the years there have been number of big winners as American game shows competed for viewers with ballooning prizes. From the Golden Age of Television the overall – and longest held – record was set by Teddy Nadler in 1957 and was not bested until 1980 by Thom McKee. Just before the end of the century John Carpenter won $1,000,000 on Millionaire. A few years later, Kevin Olmstead won the accumulating Millionaire jackpot of $2.18 million; he was then supplanted by Jeopardy! phenom Ken Jennings in November 2004 with $2.5 million from 75 games. In 2005, Brad Rutter overtook Jennings with a total of $3.2 million by winning the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions. Rutter competed against Jennings and Watson, an IBM supercomputer, in the 2011 Jeopardy! IBM Challenge. Rutter placed third, winning $200,000, half of which was donated to charity. Jennings won $300,000 in the same tournament for finishing second. When combined with $500,000 he won on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? in 2008, Jennings' total has reached $3,923,414.29 as of February 2011, again propelling him to the top of the overall winnings list.
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