Last week, Neal E. Boyd won the top prize on NBC’s America’s Got Talent program. In addition to headlining one show at a Las Vegas hotel, he also won a much ballyhooed $1,000,000, or so it seemed.
Throughout the season, host Jerry Springer reminded contestants of the big prize and the chance to become America’s most talented winner.
Let’s hope that Mr. Boyd wiped the stars out of his eyes long enough to read his contract with the program, and the fine print that rolled by during the credits at the end of the show.
Translation: Like the lottery, the big prize is doled out in small increments over decades. In this case, the winner would wind up getting less than $500 a week for 40 years. That’s a mere $25,000 a year. Hardly an amount that would change one’s life. The alternative lump sum amount is not stated, but after taxes, it is likely to be in the $300,000 range.
The million dollar prize certainly was an attention getter for the thousands that tried out for the show, and to create excitement amongst viewers. The winner got his shot at fame, which he might say was priceless, and worth more than the somewhat illusory million dollar cash prize.
It appears that other reality shows have also touted big top prizes that were never quite what they appeared, and sometimes, they were not even awarded. (See end of this story.)