“Typically, for a long-running show the prize budget is determined by way of averages of what has been won in the past,” Bob Boden, former head of programming at Game Show Network, told The Atlantic. “James’ performance, I’m sure, is causing grief for an accountant somewhere.”
Oftentimes, shows take out insurance policies. Usually that’s reserved for shows with rare but high earnings, such as “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Boden said he doesn’t think “Jeopardy” has the same policy because it usually awards more modest winnings.
But even with a successful contestant, game shows’ budgets usually allocate more to on-air talent and production crews, said Boden. The Atlantic reported longtime host Alex Trebek’s yearly pay is $10 million.
There is a lot of buzz around Holzhauer’s performance, which could draw in more viewers. That in turn, could boost advertisement sales.