‘Danger!’ star Ben Chan’s winning streak ends with a misspelling
Ben Chan’s nine-match streak as “Jeopardy!” champion ended this week with a spelling error in Final Jeopardy! round, a decision that annoyed the contestant’s fans.
Chan, an assistant professor of philosophy at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, lost a letter in his spelling of “Benedick,” Beatrice’s lover in Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” He replaced the “K” with a “T”, an error which he later attributed to a poorly written flash card.
Chan earned $252,600 throughout his “Jeopardy!” ran before his loss to former museum educator Lynn Di Vito (who guessed the Final Jeopardy clue incorrectly! but bet an amount less than Chan’s). He was the “first and only champion” of “Jeopardy!” story whose first nine wins were “swishing wins,” show producer Sarah Whitcomb Foss told her.
“It’s a very memorable failure,” she told Foss after her 10th game, which aired on Tuesday. “If you’re going to miss a shot, make a memorable miss.”
“Danger!” viewers, however, were miffed that the show docked Chan for misspelling “Benedick”. According to the show’s rules, the Final Jeopardy! the clue need not be spelled correctly but must be “phonetically correct and not add or subtract extraneous syllable sounds”. Chan’s spelling – “Benedict” – was technically a different name from “Benedick” and ended in a different sound.
That wasn’t enough to satisfy fans who wanted Chan’s winning streak to continue. Multiple Viewers said “Danger!” was wrong to eliminate Chan on such a small detail and pointed out that resources such as the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust spelled the character’s name “Benedict”. Still, Chan’s outlook remained positive.
“Hopefully within 10 games… the way I played showed gratitude and appreciation for this unique opportunity,” he said.
Chan will return for the series’ “Tournament of Champions,” in which the contestants with the longest winning streaks of the year will return to compete.