Here Are the ‘Jeopardy!’ Second Chance Tournament Contestants

The dual thrill and heartbreak of watching Jeopardy! — and surely of competing on it as well — is in witnessing players come so close to becoming champions, only to lose by a handful of dollars.

Now, however, the quiz show has changed all that, introducing its Second Chance Tournament to give extraordinary players another opportunity to win big. Here are the contestants who’ll be back.

On the set of 'Jeopardy!'
On the set of ‘Jeopardy!’ | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

The show’s executive producer explained what the Second Chance Tournament is all about

Michael Davies, showrunner on Jeopardy! recounted on the show’s website how the idea for a series of games for these oh-so-close contestants was born.

“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,” he recalled. “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 [Tournament of Champions].”

The contestants returning for the Second Chance Tournament

Eighteen players will be back on the Alex Trebek Stage and they are: Isaac Applebaum (Applebaum is the only returning contestant who competed in the recent National College Championship), James Fraser, Sadie Goldberger, Aaron Gulyas, Molly Karol, Alicia O’Hare, Do Park, Tom Philipose, Tracy Pitzel, Nikkee Porcaro, Renée Russell, Pam Schoenberg, Jeff Smith, Sarah Snider, Jessica Stephens, Rowan Ward, Jack Weller, and
Cindy Zhang.

According to a flow chart posted by the quiz show, the tournament which begins October 17 will present two weeks of gameplay: Each week, the three winners from the games on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will compete on Thursday and Friday. Those winning players will move on to the Tournament of Champions, reportedly airing sometime in November.

The show’s new season will premiere on September 12 with now-permanent hosts Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings at the helm.

Davies on how Second Chance players were chosen

The producer in his article explained what made these players eligible. “To be clear … the eligibility time frame will be the same as for this year’s ToC: We are looking at contestants who appeared on Jeopardy! since the last Tournament of Champions who we believe deserve a second shot.”

And Davies seems to be casting an eye even further back for future Jeopardy! tournaments: “I know there will be many contestants from previous years who will be howling at this point, and I do not rule out a future opportunity to compete again for some of you. But for now, this is part of the postseason for this season. We are all so excited at the prospect, and we look forward to seeing some wonderful contestants again on our stage.”

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