A common trope in movies and television shows is a character being one day from retirement. On Tuesday’s episode of Jeopardy!, a contestant was one letter away from a 10-day winning streak.
Ben Chan, a philosophy professor from Green Bay, Wisconsin, first appeared on Jeopoardy! in April. He breezed through multiple victories until he tested positive for COVID and had to step away from the game show to recover. Once Chan returned, the win streak continued to nine games. That’s also where it ended after a controversial decision in Final Jeopardy.
The clue, in the category “Shakespeare’s Characters,” read, “Both of the names of these 2 lovers in a Shakespeare play come from Latin words for ‘blessed.'” The answer is “Beatrice and Benedick” from Much Ado About Nothing, which Chan almost got, but he wrote down “Beatrice and Benedict.”
Those stick-in-the-muds judge wouldn’t give it to him, and even though none of the three contestants answered correctly, “it was Chan who lost the biggest, having bet $12,201. With only $3,000 on the line, Di Vito ended up the winner with $11,800 to Chan’s $5,199 and Danny Leserman’s $1,000,” according to Entertainment Weekly.
Jeopardy! viewers are furious on Chan’s behalf. “Wait what just happened on Jeopardy! Are you kidding that you bounced Ben on a technicality??!! There have been other Final Jeopardy responses with misspelling which were accepted. This has become such an inconsistent policy of late. Get it together. Bring back Ben!” one wrote, while another tweeted, “Really? You kicked Ben because of a spelling error? Had it been a verbal response you would not have known he couldn’t spell it. Ben was robbed. Embarrassing.”
Lynn doesn’t finish spelling “Juliet” yet it’s ruled as a complete (albeit incorrect) response, and Ben misspells Benedick by one letter and is ruled incorrect. Clearly they knew what he was going for and yet ended his run on a terrible technicality. #Jeopardy pic.twitter.com/M9ZjJpfF5h
— Not Mark Wahlberg (@_MarkWithAnM) May 23, 2023
The thing I hate about #Jeopardy is if Ben had said that response he would have got it correct, but writing it was wrong. The inconsistency has always bugged me.
— db (@metallidan) May 23, 2023
Ben Chan was robbed on #Jeopardy – I knew that "K" in "Benedick" would mess someone up!
— Nether (@NetherBi) May 23, 2023
Awful ruling against Ben Chan on tonight's #Jeopardy
— Dani (@TheDanimatrix) May 23, 2023
@Jeopardy wow. Ben Chan loses over a t??????
— Chuck (@cbaley2002) May 23, 2023
Since when does being off by one letter count in final jep? There's no other character he could have meant. #jeopardy
— David Peterle (@david_peterle) May 23, 2023
Holy smokes was Ben Chan robbed on @Jeopardy tonight. #Jeopardy
— Ron Haskell (@_RonHaskell) May 24, 2023
Spoiler Alert: So Ben Chan who has been an 8 game winner on Jeopardy lost tonight because he miss spelled one of the two names in final Jeop. But a woman who misspelled Appalachian was allowed to continue. This is a crock that the Jeopardy producers need to fix.
— Sharon Peterson (@shrnpeterson009) May 23, 2023
(Via Entertainment Weekly)