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Jeopardy! has its share of champions: those players like Ken Jennings, Mattea Roach, and Ryan Long who have won five or more games and displayed an incredible depth of knowledge as well as buzzer skill.

Then there are those contestants who landed behind a podium on the legendary quiz show, played impressively, only to tumble in Final Jeopardy! For the first time ever, the program will be giving these players another opportunity to triumph with its upcoming Second-Chance Tournament.

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

A ‘Jeopardy!’ Second Chance Tournament was its exec producer’s brainchild

Jeopardy!‘s executive producer Michael Davies explained on the show’s website how it is that the idea of a contest for almost-champs occurred to him.

“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].”

How ‘Jeopardy!’ Second Chance tournament players will be chosen

Davies made it clear that this particular tournament had some boundaries surrounding which contestants would qualify: “To be clear, though, 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.”

As for those players whose time on the show doesn’t fall in that time period, the EP has a message for you: “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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Davies says he’s assigned certain tournaments and ‘Jeopardy!’ specials to Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik

Once the new season begins, Davies continued, newly named permanent hosts Jennings and Bialik will continue the tag-team hosting that’s working so well for the show. Plus, they’ll each be fronting specific tournaments.

“Ken will kick off the season in September, host the inaugural Second Chance competition and the heavily anticipated Tournament of Champions featuring Amy Schneider, Matt Amodio, Mattea Roach, Ryan Long, and many, many more,” he continued. “His initial hosting run will take us through December.”

After that, the producer went on, Bialik gets to host what will surely be a huge draw for the show, its primetime Celebrity Jeopardy! and more: “When she takes over from Ken in January, the current plan is to have her host a couple of new tournaments as well as the Jeopardy! National College Championship.”

The new season of Jeopardy! premieres September 12.