$1M To Child Prodigy In AOL's 'Gold Rush'

Mark Burnett's interactive game on AOL.com, "Gold Rush," has already awarded $100,000 prizes to 12 people who really know their pop culture.

This past week, the winners were narrowed down to the top three in a battle for the ultimate prize: $1 million.

At the end, Michael Kearney of Nashville became the undisputed "Gold Rush" champion.

On The Early Show Friday, Kearney discussed his good fortune, along with "Gold Rush" host Mark Steines of "Entertainment Tonight" and the game's creator, Mark Burnett.

Kearney, 22, was the ninth winner of the $100,000 "Gold Rush" prize, and is now the $1 million champion.

"Gold Rush" wasn't an academic competition, but intelligence certainly didn't hurt Kearney. The child prodigy graduated from high school at the age of 6, college at age 10, earned a Masters degree in chemistry at age 14, and a Masters in computer science at 18. He's currently working on his doctorate in chemistry.

Michael was presented his $100,000 check on The Early Show Oct. 20 in Atlanta by two members of the Atlanta Braves "Tomahawk Team." To see that segment, click here. When asked at the time what he wanted to do after he finally stops going to school, Michael said he wanted to be a teacher.

No word on whether that's changed, now that he's $1 million richer!

On The Early Show Friday, Kearney chose to take his million in the form of a check, rather than gold bars.

To see Friday's segment, click here.
  • Brian Dakss

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