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'The Chase': What is Brad Rutter's worth? Here's how much all-time highest-earning 'Jeopardy!' winner earned

How much has the largely-undefeated quiz champion earned from his mastery of trivia questions?
Brad Rutter visits SiriusXM Studios on January 06, 2020, in New York City (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Brad Rutter visits SiriusXM Studios on January 06, 2020, in New York City (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Brad Rutter was, for the longest time, the absolute undefeated champion of US quiz shows. Until the 2020 tournament that pit him against other past 'Jeopardy' contestants, Rutter had never lost against a human opponent. Now, he's returning as a quiz master in ABC's revival of 'The Chase', but before the new series premiere, it's worth taking a look at just how much Rutter earned among his many game show appearances — of which 'Jeopardy!' made up the bulk of his earnings.

Brad Rutter may not be the longest-running contestant on 'Jeopardy', but he remains its highest earner. Before the 2020 'Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time' event, his earnings from the show amounted to $4,876,036. Though he came in third place in the tournament, his loss still earned him $250,000, a sum that pushed his total earnings well into $5.1 million.

However, with the vast majority of his earnings having been won through 'Jeopardy!' alone, Rutter still comes second place for highest-earning quiz show contestant, an honor that goes to Ken Jennings, who is also the longest-running 'Jeopardy!' contestant of all time.

Rutter's secret to high earnings was not in being a long-running contestant — he made his fortune through 'Jeopardy!' tournaments. When Rutter first appeared on the show, the rules were that 'Jeopardy!' contestants who won 5 consecutive days in a row were permanently retired from the regular series, and Rutter did just that.

He was brought back, however, for the the 2001 'Tournament of Champions', where he won $100,000, and was invited back for the 2002 'Million Dollar Masters Tournament', where, as the name suggests, he won a cool $1 million, and more than doubled those winnings in 2005, with the 'Ultimate Tournament of Champions' — the exact payout of which was $2,115,000. 

Rutter's first defeat happened years into his career, when he and Ken Jennings when up against a computer in the world's first mind-vs-machine quiz tournament. The computer beat the two of them handily, with proceeds going to charity. Rutter still held on to his title of undefeated champion by adding the small disclaimer of "against a human". He finally lost that title in 2020 to James Holzhauer, but as far as earnings from 'Jeopardy!' go, Rutter still can't be beat.

'The Chase' airs on January 7 at 9 pm ET on ABC.