The success and popularity of a game show has a lot to do with the personality of its host. If we love the humor, wit, and energy brought to the screen from the host, it almost doesn’t matter who the players are. Not many people realize that the majority of these hosts are millionaires just by playing games all day! For a lot of people, hosting a game show sounds like a dream come true. So how do people get these jobs, and how much do they really earn?
20. Scott Rogowsky
You may or may not have heard of the game show HQ Trivia, but it feels like living in the future. The game is played through an app, and anyone who responds quickly enough to the notification is allowed to join in the game. You only have a few seconds to answer a question, and if you close the app, it’s game over. This prevents people from Googling to find the answer. The longer someone lasts in the game, fewer and fewer contestants hold on until the very end. Whoever is left when the game is over shares the prize money.
This genius idea is hosted by Scott Rogowsky. Before starring on HQ Trivia, Rogowsky was a standup comedian in New York City. After failing to make a career there, he had to move back into his parent’s house at 33 years old. He decided that there may be more opportunities for him in Los Angeles, so he moved there, instead. He went on an audition for HQ Trivia, and it became a huge success. He did not share how much money he makes, but only that it is more than he has ever earned in his lifetime. As the app continues to do well, it may only be a matter of time before Scott Rogowsky becomes a millionaire, just like the rest of the hosts on this list.
19. Alex Trebek
Canadian Alex Trebek graduated from college with a degree in philosophy, and worked as a newscaster in the 1960’s. He was the host of a Canadian show called Reach For The Top. He went on to be the host of several other small game shows in Canada and the United States before he landed his best-known gig; the host of the American show Jeopardy! The game show was a smash hit, and it stayed on TV for decades. Of course, the show would not be the same without Alex Trebek. In-between commercial breaks, he entertains the audience by taking questions and telling jokes, and people love working with him. Every single year, he gets a $10 million salary. In a behind-the-scenes interview with Business Insider, it shows that they tape 5 shows all in the same day, which means that he could take a lot of time off, and the episodes would still air every week night. In 2017, his net worth was calculated to be $50 million.
18. Steve Harvey
Steve Harvey dropped out of college in his junior year, and began working at an automobile factory, as well as cleaning carpets. He was working these jobs to make a living, but his true passion was in comedy. His first big hit show was being the host of Showtime At The Appollo, and he went on to have his own series called The Steve Harvey Show. From 2010 to 2017, he became the host of Family Feud, and his reactions to contestant’s answers are so funny, they have been memed all over the internet. His popularity catapulted him towards success. After working as a game show host for so long, he has moved on to producing and starring in comedy series where he can show off his acting chops. Today, he has a net worth of $120 million.
17. Drew Carey
Born in Ohio, Drew Carey grew up dreaming of becoming a professional comedian. As a young man, he joined the Marines before moving to Los Angeles and pursuing a career in stand-up comedy. For years, he had his own popular comedy sitcom called The Drew Carey Show, and he went on to host the comedy improv series Who’s Line is it Anyway? This hosting gig gave him the experience needed to take over for Bob Barker on The Price is Right. In his spare time, he is the partial owner of the soccer team Seattle Founders FC, and he donates a lot of his time and money to helping public libraries stay open. He has a net worth of $165 million.
16. Regis Philbin
In the 1950’s Regis Philbin was the host of The Tonight Show in New York City, which is where he became so well-known.He eventually got his own show, which was called The Regis Philbin. When he got started with his own show, he got by during his interviews with his “host chatting” technique, which was just a skilled way of making conversation with his guests. Normally, because a team of writers will prepare questions and jokes for the host to say ahead of time, but since it was a brand new show without a big budget, Philbin had to do everything himself. This actually worked very well for him in the long run, and it is still the same technique he used with every other hosting gig. He became the game show host of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. He was also the host of a daytime talk show called Live With Regis and Kathy Lee. He reportedly makes $20 million every single year, and his total net worth is $150 million.
15. Howie Mandel
As a young man, Canadian-born Howie Mandel did stand-up comedy around Toronto. He moved to Los Angeles, and began telling jokes at The Comedy Store. In the 1990’s, Howie Mandel did the majority of the voices and also hosted the children’s cartoon Bobby’s World. Today, he mostly hosts reality TV competitions and game shows. He makes $70,000 per episode on America’s Got Talent. He has hosted Deal or No Deal since 2005, and another game show called Take It All. He also hosted some big events, like the GSN Game Show Awards, and the Emmy’s. His total net worth is estimated to be $40 million.
14. Pat Sajak
In the 1980’s, Pat Sajak was working as a weatherman when Merv Griffin asked him if he wanted a job on his new game show, Wheel of Fortune. No one knew that it would become such a massive success. In 1989, he tried to have his own talk show, called The Pat Sajak Show. It only lasted until 1990, and he decided to stick to hosting the game show. Pat Sajak has been the host of Wheel of Fortune for over 35 years, and he plans to retire in the year 2020 and pass the baton to a new host. In his spare time, he sits on the Board of Trustees at Hillsdale College, and is also on the Board of Directors of the Claremont Institute. He earns $15 million per year for hosting the show, and he has an estimated net worth of $65 million.
13. Vanna White
The tall, blonde, and beautiful Vanna White is best known for turning letters around on the game show Wheel of Fortune. In the 1970’s, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and modeling. In 1980, she was spotted as a contestant on an episode of The Price is Right. She started out as a fill-in host on Wheel of Fortune in the 1980’s, and still continues to work there to this day. She has appeared on over 6,000 episodes, and her role on the TV show is equally as iconic as her co-host, Pat Sajak. Her salary was $10 million every year. Her current net worth is estimated to be $50 million.
12. Ryan Seacrest
Ryan Seacrest began working in the entertainment industry as a radio DJ when he was still a High Schooler in Atlanta, Georgia. He started going to college, but dropped out at 19 to move to Los Angeles. His first TV series was a kid’s show called Reality Check in 1995, and he became the voice of a game show host on the cartoon Hey Arnold. Since then, it was clear that hosting was his main talent. After hosting game shows for so long, he realized that reality TV series could be a huge hit. He helped to create and produce 8 reality TV shows, including Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which became a massive success. While he’s best known for hosting American Idol and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, Ryan Seacrest also hosts E! Live From the Red Carpet, and The Academy Awards. He even started his own clothing line. His estimated net worth is $380 million.
11. Merv Griffin
Merv Griffin started his career as a big band singer and radio show host. Doris Day spotted him during a performance at a nightclub, and she got him some acting girls with Warner Brothers. He became famous for his hilarious song “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts”, which sold millions of records. He became the host of a game show called Play Your Hunch. He got his own TV talk show, The Merv Griffin Show. He loved the game show industry so much, he ended up creating Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! In the 1980’s. Obviously, this became a huge successus, and these game shows have been running for years. It is estimated that Merv Griffin has amassed a fortune of over $1 Billion.
10. Don Francisco
Don Francisco is a Chilean-American man who grew up in New York City. His career spans between both countries, and he has appeared on several TV shows for the Spanish-speaking TV channel Univision. He also hosts the Chilean version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. He holds the Guinness World Record for hosting the most episodes of any TV show for the longest amount of time, which is Sabado Gigante, which has been running for 53 years. His fortune is estimated to be a whopping $200 million.
9. Jeff Foxworthy
Redneck comedian Jeff Foxworthy was born in Atlanta, Georgia. As a young man, he started working for IBM computers, and did stand up comedy on the side. His career began to take off after winning a competition called The Great Southeastern Laugh-Off in Georgia. He joined a group called the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. He sold his comedy albums, which became incredibly popular with Christians and people in the South. After having a lot of success in comedy tours, he hosted a game show called “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” His net worth is a shocking $100 million.
8. Bob Barker
If you live in the United States, staying home sick from school meant flipping on the TV to see Bob Barker hosting The Price is Right. He holds the record for being the host of a game show for the longest consecutive amount of time- 35 years! During this time, he also worked on other game shows, like Simon Says and That’s My Line. Unlike many of the other game show hosts on this list, The Price is Right was a daily TV show, which made it a full-time career for him. He made a cameo in the movie Happy Gilmore, and a couple short appearances in sitcoms like The Nanny and How I Met Your Mother. But he never made an effort to appear in a lot of film or TV series outside of his game show hosting. When he retired, comedian Drew Carey took over.
His net worth is estimated to be $70 million.
7. Chris Hardwick
Chris Hardwick’s father was a professional bowler, so he grew up knowing what it was like to be on camera. From 1995-1997 he was the host of a game show called Singled Out on MTV. He was roommates with Wil Wheaton, who went on to star in Star Trek. As a hardcore nerd, Chris Hardwick specializes in all things surrounding comic books and sci fi. He even had a podcast called Nerdist.
Chris Hardwick works nearly 24/7 on so many different projects. He hosts several TV shows, including the comedy game show @Midnight, and The Wall He hosts talk shows after live episodes of popular series like The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Better Call Saul. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he made $15 million. He is now married to Lydia Hearst, who is a model and heiress to the Hearst publishing fortune.
6. Wayne Brady
Wayne Brady got his start in local theater in his hometown of Orlando, Florida, where he starred in several plays and musicals. In 1996, he moved to Los Angeles and starred in several TV shows, including a part he had on The Drew Carey Show. As a comedian, he became famous for his improvisation skills on Who’s Line is it Anyway? In 2009, he became a host on the game show Let’s Make a Deal. According to Celebrity Net Worth, his work has added up to $10 million. Today, he is acting in several different TV series and performing on Broadway, and continues a successful acting career.
5. Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch is a comedian who has appeared in several films and TV series, and she is best remembered for her role in the series Glee, where she made $80,000 per episode.
Her total net worth is estimated to be $16 million. Jane Lynch is now the host of NBC’s show Hollywood Game Night. There are about 10 episodes per season. If she makes anywhere near the amount she did on Glee, she could be making $800,000 per season. She also continues to work on several movies and TV shows every year. It would not be surprising if she earned well over $1 million per year.
4. Alec Baldwin
Actor Alec Baldwin has been in both movies and TV shows, and he is best known for his starring role in the comedy series 30 Rock. In 2016, Baldwin shocked the world by agreeing to host an ABC game show called “Match Game”. The network agreed to donate $1 million to his charity foundation, in addition to paying him a salary to appear on the show, which would only take a few days to film. For years, there was a stigma that hosting game shows was a sense that someone had failed as an actor, but the industry has changed. Alec Baldwin told the Hollywood Reporter that he actually got two movie offers soon after the show appeared on TV.
Of course, Baldwin does not rely on hosting game shows to pay the bills. His total net worth is estimated to be $65 million.
3. Liza Koshy
Liza Koshy originally became famous for posting short comedy videos on the phone app Vine, and went on to succeed on YouTube, as well. Even as a teenager, it was easy to see that she was a comedic genius, and she had a great personality. In 2018, Nickelodeon asked her to become the new host of Double Dare, which was formerly hosted by Mark Summers. The two are now co-hosting, and if the show succeeds, there is a strong chance that Liza Koshy will be the new host on her own. While she is new to game show hosting, she has already hosted red carpet event for Vogue at the Met Gala in 2018. She was also given her own YouTube Red series called Liza on Demand. Her vibrant energy seems to match perfectly with the role of a host, and it won’t be surprising if she continues to make this part of her career. Currently, her net worth is estimated to be $4 million. However, according to Social Blade, she could be making as much as $2 million per year from YouTube adsense alone.
2. Chris Harrison
Years before he was famous, Chris Harrison started his career going to Oklahoma City University on a soccer scholarship, and appeared on local TV as a sports broadcaster in Oklahoma City. He eventually moved out to Los Angeles, and has hosted The Bachelor and all of the spinoff series for a number of years, where he made $60,000 per episode. He has appeared on several different TV shows and movies acting in small roles, and hosted live events like the Miss America Pageant. Most recently, he hosts the famous game show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.
Surprisingly, Chris Harrison secretly wanted to be a writer. He took all of his experiences watching couples fall in love on The Bachelor and wrote his first novel, a romance story called The Perfect Letter, in 2015. According to The Richest, he has a net worth of $12 million.
1. Dick Clark
In 2012, the legendary host Dick Clark passed away when he was 82 years old. During his lifetime, he accomplished a tremendous amount in the entertainment industry, and continued working his entire life. He became a millionaire before the age of 30. He worked as a DJ, and a host, but quickly realized that the big money was in owning production companies. In 1957, he started a company called Dick Clark Productions, and he was able to grow the business into a small empire. At the time of his death, Dick Clark was worth $200 million.