split image MrBeast and 100 dollar bills

Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast, has the most subscribers for an individual male on YouTube, with a whopping 162 million.

Recently, he announced his intention to break another world record: the greatest prize money won on a TV game show.

Of course, he isn’t planning to win the money himself, rather, he envisions creating a game show that gives a record-breaking amount of money to the winning contestant.

He wrote on his Twitter account: “I want to test what I do on YouTube on a streaming service for fun to see how it performs. Imagine a 10 episode series with 10,000 people competing for the largest prize in game show history.”

MrBeast is no stranger to hosting game shows or giving away huge sums of cash. His most-viewed video, currently on 445 million views, is a re-creation of the South Korean survival drama Squid Game. The winner of MrBeast’s version won $456,000 (£356,683).

Other popular MrBeast videos are: Survive 100 Days In Circle, Win $500,000; Ages 1 - 100 Fight For $500,000; and Last To Leave $800,000 Island Keeps It.

But how much money would he need to give away in order to break the world record?

Well, the current record for the greatest prize money won on a TV game show is ƒ10,000,000 Dutch guilders, which was the currency of the Netherlands from the 15th century until 2002, when it was replaced by the euro.

In 2001, when the prize was won, ƒ10,000,000 was equivalent to €4,537,800, which was approximately £2,847,470 or $4,155,719.

Adjusted for inflation, in 2023 that would be approximately €7,001,874; £6,027,178; or $7,697,370.

The record-breaking cash prize was won by a man named Arno Woesthoff from Zeist, Netherlands, on the game show Miljoenenjacht, which aired on 2 September 2001.

Miljoenenjacht (Chase for Millions) is a Dutch game show sponsored by the country’s postcode lottery. It was originally based on the German game show Die Chance deines Lebens (The Chance of a Lifetime).

The show’s original format from 2000-2001 involved 1,000 contestants, who, in the first round, were split into two teams of 500. Each contestant used a keypad to answer four multiple choice questions – the team with the most correctly-answered questions progressed to the next round, whilst the other 500 people were eliminated.

The game continued in this manner throughout Rounds 2 and 3, with teams of contestants battling against each other by answering trivia questions, resulting in just 20 contestants progressing to Round 4.

Rounds 4 and 5 also involved answering questions using the keypad, however, the contestants were no longer in teams. After each round, half were eliminated, resulting in five contestants progressing to Round 6, where they were tasked with putting historical events in chronological order.

The three top-performing players proceeded to Round 7, the Photo Quiz, where they were shown images of celebrities, with each image being the answer to a question. Contestants gained points by matching the correct image to each question, and the two contestants with the most points progressed to the semi-final.

In the semi-final, the remaining two contestants were shown a screen displaying an amount of money, which began at ƒ10,000 and would rise to an unknown number. As the number steadily increased, either contestant could press their buzzer to take the money. The first person to buzz in would receive the money and go home, whilst the remaining contestant moved on to the final round of the show.

If neither player buzzed in before the money stopped rising, they were both presented with a mathematical calculation to solve. Whoever answered correctly progressed to the final, however, if someone answered incorrectly, their opponent progressed.

The premise of the final round was simple: answer seven multiple-choice questions correctly and win the grand prize of ƒ10,000,000 (€4,537,800). The contestant began with ƒ1 (€0.45), multiplying the sum by 10 after each successive correct answer.

However, nobody was able to win the full amount of money, so on 2 September 2001, a special edition of the game was played to conclude the show’s first series. In this episode, two contestants could qualify for the final round, where they duelled each other in a general knowledge quiz. Each correct answer scored a point; each incorrect answer awarded a point to the opponent.

The first person to score seven points would receive the full prize of ƒ10,000,000, which Arno Woesthoff ultimately won.

From 2002 onward, the format of the final round was changed to the briefcase/box-opening game which is now known internationally as Deal or No Deal. Miljoenenjacht was the originator of this game show format. The top prize available to win was - and still is - €5,000,000, however, nobody to date has been able to claim it.

Los Lobos winning the ¡Boom! jackpot after 523 episodes

Before winning the record-breaking sum of money, Arno had already won ƒ1,000,000 (€453,780) in a previous episode, meaning his overall Miljoenenjacht winnings totalled ƒ11,000,000 (€4,991,582).

However, this is not the record for the greatest prize money won on TV game shows in a lifetime. That title belongs to Los Lobos, a team of four who won a record €6,689,700 ($7,854,440; £6,266,480) on Spanish game show ¡Boom! from 2017-2019.

Their back-to-back victories over 523 episodes also represent the most consecutive wins on a TV quiz show. The team comprised: Valentín Ferrero, Manu Zapata, Erundino Alonso and José Pinto. Sadly, after 373 appearances, Pinto died; he was replaced by Alberto Sanfrutos.

As for MrBeast, it’ll be a tall order for him to produce a bigger game show winner than Arno Woesthoff, but if there’s one person we’d back to do it, it’s definitely him.

Header image credit: Shutterstock (left); Mackenzie Marco/Unsplash (right)

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