What actually happens after someone wins a game show? It isn't nearly as glamorous as the show would make it seem. Often times, the most unexpected prizes come out of these events. People reveal their true colors. Whoever the contestant was, their live will never return to the way it was. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I was on Let's Make a Deal back in 2016, where I actually won a new car! That was beyond perfect timing, because my old car was on its last legs, and I had been saving for a new one. Once I won the car, the money I had saved up paid for any of the random fees I came across in the process. I won the car in August, but I didn't actually receive the car until November, when the episode actually aired. The producers drove the car to my apartment and had me sign some documents. It was all pretty painless. I had always heard horror stories throughout my life about people winning big on game shows, but there being hidden fees or karma coming back to get them, or stuff like that. But this process was thankfully worthwhile, and I would so recommend it to everyone!
Here is a tip: id you ever go on one of these game shows that pick contestants out of the audience, they will have a producer interview literally everyone, usually in a group setting in advance. AS long as you can be enthusiastic without being theatrical, and you aren't completely bizarre, you have a really excellent shot at being picked. When the producer was interview the group of twenty potential audience members I was in, he asked everyone their name, what they did, and one interesting fact about themselves. There was this one random guy who was so desperate to be on television. He started flopping onto the floor and doing the worm in front of everyone. You could immediately see on the producer's face what he thought. The producer was forcing out some laughter, but there was no way he wanted to put this man on television. Loose cannons are a big no-no for these shows.
For my fun fact, I told the producer that I had just moved from New York City, where I worked on writing musicals. One of my shows was actually about to be transferred to a Broadway run. The producer just so happened to be a big fan of musical theater, so we ended up talking about musicals for a couple of extra minutes. He had to rush through the next few interviews, so I took that as a really positive sign for my chances. After the entire episode was taped, my wife saw that guy who did the worm leaving the studio in an angry huff. It must have taken a lot of energy to do the worm, and it was all for nothing!"
"Shortly after 9/11, my fiancé and I were living in New York City. We had made several failed attempts to put together this wedding back in our hometown. Unfortunately, we were broke, unemployed, couldn't afford a wedding, and we were completely demoralized. On a whim, we answered this ad in the back of the Village Voice for the televised "Serendipity's Annual Chocolate Wedding Contest". We literally did the bare minimum, but someone from the program reached out and asked us to come down to the restaurant it would be filmed at, a place made famous by Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol. We were interviewed, and out of a pool of two hundred couples, we won! What did we win? The most lavish wedding we could ever dream of, but the catch was that it had to take place a week later, on Valentine's Day. We scrambled to get our families to fly out to the city in under a week.
As winners of the contest, we were treated to a whirlwind of activities and prizes, all captured on camera. We had a lavish wedding cake created by Ron Ben-Israel, flowers from a Martha Stewart associate, and an all-expense-paid honeymoon at this Sandals resort in Jamaica. My wife received a custom wedding dressed designed by Yumi Katusra. She was loaned one million dollars in diamonds from BVLGARI to wear at the ceremony in this restaurant. We were wed while standing in a metallic red bathtub filled with Serendipity's Frozen Hot Chocolate. yes, it was extremely cold. The entire thing was frantic, insane, stressful, and crazy. I would not have changed a thing.
My wife and I celebrated our tenth anniversary years ago, and we found ourselves back in New York City for work. We stopped by the restaurant on a lark, and it was packed and completely booked up. Upon mentioning our story to the cashier, she exclaimed, "Oh! You're that couple, who got married in the bathtub?! We've heard so many stories about you! WE have a picture of you both hanging in the back room! Please, right this way!'
She proceeded to set us up with a romantic table on the balcony, much to the frustration of the customers who had been waiting outside for a table. We are still married all these years later and have two beautiful daughters. I will never forget the look on my wife's face as she stared up at me smiling, her hands in my hands, our feet freezing in cold liquid chocolate. I'll never forget our insane New York City Valentine's Day chocolate wedding!"
"So my mom won a huge trip to Las Vegas by calling in about her worst day ever on this radio game show. The station was giving away a weekend for two in Las Vegas, and all you had to do was call in and tell the station about your really bad day. My mom told the story about how she and my dad got their only car completely totaled. When she got the rental car, she was doing some grocery shopping and accidentally locked the keys inside the car's trunk after loading all the groceries in. She had to wait over two hours for the guy she called to shop up and unlock the trunk. Unfortunately, his key snapped off. Then my mom had to call a locksmith in order to open the trunk, which took another additional hour. All of those perishable groceries were no good anymore because they had been in the trunk for three hours straight. To male matters worse, my mom was on her way home finally when she hit a stray cat on the road. My mom ran home, where me and my brothers helped her take inside what was left of the usable groceries. That was when my older brother closed the door, locking all three of us out of the house. Our neighbor ended up helping us break into our own house. She pried open a window and helped me through since I was so small. I then had to unlock the door from the inside. This was back in the early nineties. Of course my mom won the radio contest, who could top that story?! My parents enjoyed a wonderful vacation together, and nine months later my baby brother was born."
"My high school drama and speech teacher was the 'friend' that someone called for the 'phone a friend' option on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? This was way back when Regis was the host. The contestant who called that teacher shared a portion of the money with the teacher, which turned out to be like $20,000 or $30,000. My teach was able to use that money to adopt a baby. He had already adopted one kid, and the money allowed him to adopt another kid that much more quickly. I don't remember what the question was, but I remember my teacher telling me how he knew the answer because he had just watched a nature documentary on the subject or something. He actually kept a recording of that specific episode, and he would show it to all of his classes. It was so cool!"
"I won $125,000 on Who Wants To BE A Millionaire, about twenty years ago now. This was back when Regis was alive and still hosting the show. He was exactly as he appeared onscreen. He was so nice and charismatic. After taxes, I still had about $80,000 from the show. I paid off my car, got a computer, was able to quit a full-time job I hated, and paid for college! Now I work at a job that I love, which I could not have gotten if I had never gotten that college education. I went to the cheapest public college in my state, but I still got a quality education. I received a BA in English, with a concentration in literature. Now I'm a library assistant!
I decided to walk away on the $250,000 question. The question I was given was this: 'What bird is Alcatraz Island named after?' I was out of lifelines, and I didn't know the answer at all. Apparently, the answer was a pelican. Had I actually guessed on the question and missed it, my winnings would have dropped to $32,000. I did get the $125,000 question right and decided to end it there. That question was, 'What country have the last ten Boston Marathon winners come from?' The answer to that question was Kenya, and I used my last lifeline for that question. I phoned my cousin, and thank god he actually knew the answer!"
"My parents were on the Newlywed Game in the early eighties. So how it worked behind the scenes was that they were given a list of items, and they were supposed to pick three and rank them in order of preference. They had just moved into their first house and really needed a washer and dryer, so they put that first. This would have been the big prize if they won the episode. Their third choice was a pop-up tent trailer with camping supplies. Well, they ended up not winning the entire episode, but they did come in third place. I remember watching that episode. I could see my mom visibly upset that they didn't get the washing and dryer, and they had to settle on the trailer. So my parents had to pick up their prize themselves and travel back to Los Angeles, or pay a hefty price to have it delivered. They took a road trip and picked it up themselves. It actually ended up being a way more fantastic prize than either of them expected. They kept that trailer for twelve years, which included the first eight years of my life. We took a lot of wonderful family camping trips in that little trailer, with some amazing family memories made from it. My mom didn't completely hate it, but she did eventually make my dad sell it so we could upgrade to a bigger trailer with an actual bathroom and shower."
"There was this traveling version of The Price Is Right, naturally called The Price Is Right Live. It traveled around Canada and the U.S., doing shows that aren't nearly as extravagant as the ones you see on television, but they are still pretty fun. This show happened to be in my hometown for an episode, and I got a ticket for the show on my twenty-third birthday. Out of over one thousand people in the audience, I got called to come down! I got on stage, and through various activities, I actually won a trip to Las Vegas! During this entire process, the overly tanned host kept muttering at me to show more enthusiasm and excitement. The audience actually sang happy birthday to me as I walked off of the stage, which was super sweet. I then was practically attacked for the rest of the day by people who had attended that taping, as I had on a very distinctive sweater still from that episode. Unfortunately that 'trip to Vegas' was actually $1,000 in credit for Travelocity, which is this online travel agency. I was given the choice by producers to take the Travelocity credit, or accept an $800 check. I took the check, which did feel quite underwhelming. I didn't even get to keep the object I bid on that got me on stage in the first place! I did use the money I won to buy. anew laptop, so at least I won something!"
"My mom won these two tickets on a radio game show for front row seats at a Coldplay concert when they were performing at our local Six Flags theme park. I had never really heard of Coldplay, and I didn't care all that much about the band, but the tickets also got us into the theme park for free, so it was too good of a deal not to act on. My mom gave the tickets to me and a friend. When the concert actually began, we discovered that our tickets wren't for the front row at all. We ended up sitting in the grass, behind all the actual seats. A cold rain began during the performance, so we decided to get out of there. At least the theme park was fun!
Oddly enough, I deeply wished I could forget that day even happened! When we went back to my car and got inside, my friend picked up my beanie off of the dashboard. He found a pair of my underwear inside it. He was horrified, and I was mortified. It was so embarrassing! So for a backstory, that was my McDonald's work beanie. I had been at the lake with my boyfriend the day before, and when I changed into my swimsuit, I stuffed all of my clothing into my beanie. When I got home, I thought I had taken all the clothing out, but I was totally wrong!"
"I was on this game show called Let's Ask America in 2013, where I ended up winning $24,000. It was so insanely surreal, I couldn't believe I had won anything! The show sent me a physical check in the mail after the episode was taped, and I could scarcely believe that was real! It was so life-changing for me. I was twenty-six at the time of filming, and I was working three jobs. There was one at a marketing firm, one at a restaurant, and one at a bar. I was doing everything that I could just to get by. I wasn't exactly frowning in debt thankfully, but I was just getting by paycheck to paycheck. I had a whole bunch of these travel plans that I had been dreaming about, and this show made those a reality. I was in this constant cycle of not being able to save much of anything. When I received this relatively large sum of money, I decided to sell everything I owned and plan out some travels. I ended up getting a one-year work holiday and traveled to the United States with nothing but a backpack and one duffel bag.
My experience was nothing short of amazing. I decided to stay in America and found work at this really cool marketing agency within my first week here. The company went on to sponsor my visa. Six years later, I have tripled my income since arriving here, and I have a great role at an agency I really love. Since moving, I have visited twelve different countries, which always felt impossible when I was living back home. I loved my experience and am so grateful that my winnings could be the catalyst for all of this."
"When we were kids, my uncle, who very recently passed away, brought me and my cousin to this college hockey game in Moncton New Brunswick. Apparently the local sports channel was hosting some sort of contest at the match, and my uncle bought all of us several tickets to enter into a raffle. After the first section of the game, the contest begins and they call several numbers out. Sure enough, my number was called! I showed my copy of the ticket to my uncle, and he could not believe it! We all go down the bleachers, show our tickets, and they take my uncle to play for the prize. Apparently I was too young to physically compete with the other winners.
The objective of this game was to shoot a hockey puck through this super narrow net with a gap they placed in front of the goals. My uncle only had one shot, but he was able to hit the puck right into the pocket! I jumped over the railings, ran over to him on the ice, and gave him a big hug. The prize pool was $14,000. My uncle almost passed out, he was so shocked at the prize. The woman at the counter tried to take out our cash prize from the register, but they didn't have nearly the amount of money. The company had to mail him a check, and after taxes, it was like $9,000. My uncle sent me and my cousin checks for several hundred dollars each, bought himself a then new Windows 2000 desktop computer, and put a down payment on a new house. It was one of the coolest experiences I have ever gotten to witness. I miss my uncle dearly now."
"It was 1990. I had just been fired and found myself with way too much free time. I called into this radio show that was hosting a quiz game show, and I actually won two tickets to the symphony in town for their Christmas show. Unfortunately, that was when all the drama ensued. I decided this would be an amazing present for my girlfriend, especially since I didn't have any cash to my name. I waited eagerly for the tickets to arrive in the mail, but I got nothing! I called the radio show again, and they told me that the tickets were in the mail. Another week goes by, and still there is nothing. One night I was carrying my trash to the curb, when I find my roommate's jacket and been left by the trash can. I pick it up, and what do I find?! My ticket stubs for the symphony orchestra in his pocket! I couldn't believe it, he had stolen my mail! My roommate was the jealous type, but I had just lost my job and was struggling to get by. Why did he have to turn his jealously onto me?! I know that he must have done it to make me look bad. It was such a kick in the gut for me. I was betrayed for perhaps the only time in my life by a so-called friend.
By the time I found them, the tickets had already expired. I got in a huge fight with my roommate about it, but I was sure to never tell my girlfriend about it. We have been married together for quite some time now, and only recently did I come clean about what I intended to get her for that Christmas. That roommate was beyond petty and childish, but it didn't take too long for me to move on. That was the final straw for us though, my roommate and I were no longer friends after that incident."
"I won $15,000 on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, but that was when it was hosted by Meredith Viera, not Regis Philbin. I kept $11,200. I had to wait four months for the episode to air, and then it took an additional month to actually get paid. I went to England and to to travel around the area with my prize money. With whatever I had left over, I used it to rack up as little debt as possible after enrolling in grad school. Leading up to the game show, I was making very little money at my job, so I decided I would play a super conservative game. I used my first lifeline early because I was nervous, another lifeline to play it safe, and I used my last lifeline on the question I ended on. They had discontinued phoning a friend as a save right before I went on. That would have been really handy, as I bet my brother could have helped me with the next question. As for the question I ended things on, it will definitely be tattooed on my brain forever. It was, 'The Dunlop broadside is the original printing of which historical document? A) Magna Carta B) Mayflower Compact C) King James Bible D) Declaration of Independence.' I missed the word 'printed' in the question and didn't really have a gut feeling, so I walked away. It turns out that the answer was the Declaration of Independence. I seriously would have never known, and I probably would have won a whole lot less money if I had gotten that question wrong."
"My mom got to be on Wheel of Fortune. Believe it or not, she actually won, despite such narrow odds! According to the show, she was an all expense paid trip to a tropical country, a brand-new Infinity, and $25,000 in cash. My mom told me how she was required to pay taxes on the car, which included several thousand dollars up front. It took a while for the prize money to actually be given to her, so she couldn't use any of that as payment. She had to take out a short term loan and use the car as collateral to pay that tax. She ended up selling the car to pay off that loan. Something they don;'t tell you about game shows is how heavily taxed the income from a game show really is. I remember my mom only keep very little of her $25,000. She did keep whatever money she had left from selling the car, and the trip to the foreign country actually worked out really well. Overall, she used her money to pay off some debts and basically lived the same after the show. For any Wheel of Fortune fans out there, she wanted me to mention how Pat is really short in person. Everyone stands on these specific pedestals to make them appear identical in height. Vanna White is also unbelievably nice."
"My girlfriend and I were on Shop 'Til You Drop, and let me tell you, we won big some big prizes. We still use the elaborate dish set that we won all those years ago every day. The trips we won were pretty decent! I had to pay the taxes on my winnings with a check before I left the studio lot. It took months and months for all the deliveries of our prizes to come in, which was weird. I sold some of it, used most of it, and I have been desperately searching for that episode that we were on online somewhere! SO how did this show in particular help my life? The main producer on the show became a close friend, and he helped me propose to my game show partner and girlfriend. The two of us have been happily married for fifteen years now.
SOme of the things we won include a huge set of Fiesta ware dishes, a dishwasher that we ended up selling, an 'entertainment center' (which was really just a television with a built-in shelf), a few destination trips, and a 'year's supply' of ice cream, which actually turned out to be a ton of coupons. Oh, and my wife reminded me of some mediocre jewelry that the show gifted us."