Danger! Executives break their silence on Hannah Wilson’s defeat, fans call her ‘so unfair’
Danger! Executives have broken their silence on the defeat of contestant Hannah Wilson, who fans have called “unfair.”
The Eight Day Jeopardy! The champion lost in the co-champion’s first return leg to ‘returning champion’ Ben Chan after ending his three-day streak in April due to illness.
Inside Jeopardy! Podcast host Sarah Foss addressed the controversy on the May 22, 2023 episode: “What is Jeopardy! Masters Week 2?”
During the podcast, the Clue Crew member explained, “I just want to remind everyone again. I know there have been a lot of comments about how unfair it was to Hannah to put her up against Ben.”
She continued: “As Ben said himself, he had Covid, he couldn’t travel so we had to wait until we could rebook him for the next few days of admission.”
“When that was possible, he was weeks in advance before we knew who was going to play and who was going to be the champion.”
Sarah added, “There really is no fair way to bring back a co-champ.”
The podcaster explained, “I know people have been saying to wait until the end of Hannah’s run and then bring him in,” before adding, “But then you’re manipulating the competition.”
“There’s no fair way other than to say that when a champion comes back, he’s booked for the Monday show.”
Finally, she revealed that “in this case, both were booked before we knew who the champion was going to be.”
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Hannah, a data scientist from Chicago, Illinois, had been dominating game after game up until Monday’s episode of Twist.
She met Ben, a philosophy professor at St. Norbert College from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Wendy Swanson, a retired teacher from Portland, Oregon.
Wendy was the only player of the three who wasn’t a recurring champion.
Hannah came out with an eight-day total of $229,801 and plenty of cheering from the fans – while Ben returned from a hiatus as the second undefeated player with a three-day total of $69,001.
Seeing two champions return instead of just one could lead to Jeopardy! have led. Getting viewers to do a daily double-take is because it’s very rare.
Ben contracted Covid-19 while playing his first three games and Jeopardy! turned. planned for him to return soon after on the May 15 episode.
His return, though not purposeful, ended Hannah’s winning streak.
The pair were even heralded by Johnny Gilbert, 94, as “recurring co-champions” at the helm.
Host Mayim Bialik, 48, also addressed the oddity: “As you heard Johnny Gilbert announce, we have returning co-champions in today’s game.”
Not only did Ben defeat his fellow winner, but he also scored his fourth consecutive runaway – or Final Jeopardy’s locked game – against the unassuming and intimidating Hannah.
Ben donned a huge grin, his classic close-to-the-vest buzzer stance, and an absolute composure as he nailed 19 clues and all three daily doubles.
Ben went into Final Jeopardy with $41,000, Hannah with $6,800 and Wendy with $4,400.
In “Final Jeopardy” under “Publications” it said: “The co-founder of this magazine, founded in 1967, said its name came primarily from a song title, but also noted a band name.”
All three players got the Rolling Stone right, and Ben added a whopping $19,000 and won $60,000 (the second highest daily win this season), for a four-day total of $129,001.
Both Hannah and Ben smiled at each other and will now be at the Tournament of Champions in September – but fans were worried that it went the way it did for them.
“You should have waited”
One Twitter user wrote: “They should have waited until Hannah’s run was over before they brought Ben back. Not fair.”
Another user replied: “I think that’s fair. They planned Ben’s return before Hannah came on the show and started a series. Let’s try to celebrate people’s victory.”
A third argued, “I disagree — consider Hannah might never have been a champion if Ben hadn’t taken a break.”
A fourth agreed: “So someone else could be exposed to a circular saw.” [like Ben]? It’s totally fair.
Another user defended the show, writing: “How is this unfair? The better player won.” Another then argued, “It wasn’t fair to either Hannah or Ben.”
Former champion Alex Jacob wrote: “The problem is I’m not sure what the solution is other than not recording until the reigning champion is able to play. They probably don’t want to disrupt the schedule, but maybe they should consider it on those rare occasions.”
“I don’t think it’s fair for a returning champion to play against another returning champion. The format of the show sees the champion play against two new players.”
“But like I said, there’s not much they can do about it.”
To which another responded: “They planned Ben’s return long before they knew who the other champion would be that day. So it is a very fair process.”
“It wouldn’t be fair to ‘protect’ a reigning champion because you like him.”
COMPLAINTS FROM PARTICIPANTS
2021 Tournament of Champions winner Sam Kavanaugh wrote that at least both will get another chance: “Even if it was unintentional, I’m happy to bring them back after the other champion has already qualified for the ToC because the door isn’t quite closed yet.” The loser.”
“(Although I’m not sure I’d like it that much if I was the third contestant).”
Another user argued, “I feel like they need a new process to bring back a winner later in the season. Letting Ben loose on Hannah didn’t seem fair to the ‘reigning champion’.”
Another said that Ben was technically at a disadvantage: “You could also say it was unfair to Ben to have to come back and face someone right away in the middle of an eight-game winning streak.”
“If they had adjusted his recording schedule to try to extend their series, THAT would indeed be an unfair manipulation of the process.”
“I was completely beaten up”
Hannah wrote on Reddit after her defeat, citing the game Mario Kart where a Bowser shell inevitably blows up the person in first place: “Looks like the spiky blue shell has finally caught up with me.”
“I couldn’t ask for a better enemy to be utterly crushed by!”
“Ben was so sweet and friendly before the game and then just an absolute beast on stage – he’s a great player and it’s an honor that he’s the one who knocks me out.”
“Being part of Jeopardy has been an incredible experience and I can’t wait to come back for the ToC!”
WHAT HAPPENED TO BEN CHAN?
Ben had three clear wins by the Friday April 11 game.
However, he was mysteriously absent from the April 14 episode despite being the reigning champion.
On a rare occasion, three new contestants instead competed and Ben took a holiday – as he later clarified the real reason he didn’t come back on April 18th as planned.
“Before yesterday’s episode was taped I had tested positive for Covid; It was a very mild case as you can see, I’m fine.
“Most importantly, my buzzer finger is okay. So I’m excited to see what happens over the next few weeks and who I’ll be up against on May 15,” he said during a virtual appearance Good afternoon Wisconsin.
There have only been four episodes since the early 2000s where there were two returning champions in a game, and none saw both winners in such impressive multi-day streaks – so it was difficult to see either of them lose.
Still, there was a chance Ben would still be the champion when Hannah arrived for her first game in early May.