ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MARCH 21:  Steve Harvey speaks onstage during 2019 Beloved Benefit at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 21, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
Where Do Game Shows Get Their Prize Money?
Lifestyle - News
Game shows have captivated audiences since before television, starting with radio shows like "Professor Quiz" and "Ask-It Basket" that gave winning contestants around $25 as their prize. Today, game shows are harder and prize money comes in life-changing amounts — but where do today's shows even get their money?
The big money usually comes from the profits of the show itself; game shows are relatively inexpensive to make and generate a lot of ad revenue. Most game shows cost about $1 million an hour to produce, and multiple episodes can be produced each day, providing networks with plenty of commercial breaks that generate tons of money.
Consider a show like "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?," which charges about $100,000 for one 30-second commercial spot; in a 30-minute show, there are about 14 commercials. A bit of quick math reveals a profit of $1.4 million in ad revenue per episode, without even taking reruns into account — now, that prize money doesn't seem so unattainable.