How Jeopardy Will Give Some Contestants A Second Chance At The Tournament Of Champions

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(Image credit: CBS)

The future is looking bright for Jeopardy as it enters a new era under new leadership after recovering from the loss of beloved longtime host Alex Trebek, as the game show will now try something brand new ahead of the next Tournament of Champions. Certain contestants who put up a good showing but still lost will get a second chance at the spotlight and to become a Jeopardy winner, thanks to executive producer Michael Davies and the team at the show. 

Jeopardy is introducing a new element with the Second Chance Tournament, in which the show will bring back some contestants who appeared since the most recent Tournament of Champions and who the show’s team think deserve another chance. Contestants from previous years who were hoping for a second chance are out of the running, unfortunately, but executive producer Michael Davies explained in a post on the show’s website that there may still be “a future opportunity to compete again” for some of them. 

The good news for those who are invited back is that “at least one player” from the Second Chance Tournament will be included in the Tournament of Champions. The new tournament will take place immediately before the Tournament of Champions. Although the criteria for which former contestants who came up short will be invited back has not been revealed yet, there is one person who is confirmed to get another shot: the fourth place finisher in the current Jeopardy! National College Championship

Whoever comes in fourth in the college tournament (which included a fun Big Bang Theory nod in its premiere with host/Call Me Kat star Mayim Bialik) will get to try their hand against some other former contestants in this new way. Michael Davies went on to explain the inspiration for the Second Chance Tournament: 

I started thinking about a Second Chance Tournament almost the day I started on Jeopardy!, when Jessica Stephens beat Matt Amodio, but lost to Jonathan Fisher by just $401. I thought, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be a cool idea to have a tournament where we bring excellent contestants like Jessica back?’ Like most good ideas, it was quickly apparent that many, many other people – both inside and outside the show – had had exactly the same thought, long before me. But now we’re actually going to do it, and slot it in right before the ToC.

Jessica Stephens’ performance run to reach second place (and only miss out on first place by a relatively negligible amount) makes sense as something to set anybody thinking about a way to bring her back. Her second place finish came in the episode of Jeopardy that marked the end of Matt Amodio’s winning streak with his divisive strategy

Matt Amodio had managed to break some of the game show’s records, and made history as the contestant with the second-longest winning streak behind Ken Jennings. He even won more than $1.5 million. Beating Amodio and only losing by a little over $400 seems like more than enough of an accomplishment to earn a second chance, and she’s not the only one who could surely make the most of a return to Jeopardy

More details are still to come about the Second Chance Tournament, but you can get a fix of Jeopardy fun in primetime with the next new episode of Jeopardy! National College Championship on Tuesday, February 15 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC in the 2022 TV schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).