Two returning champions to face off on Thursday's Jeopardy episode
Don't adjust your television set — you are, in fact, seeing double.
On Thursday's episode, two returning champions will compete on Jeopardy, with current seven-day winner Brian Chang going up against Zach Newkirk, who was the last champion before the show shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As guest host Ken Jennings explains in the episode's intro (which you can see below), Newkirk was unable to return when Jeopardy first resumed production because of COVID travel restrictions.
"So we have on this stage at once a four-time Jeopardy champion and a seven-time Jeopardy champion," Jennings says. "Because these days, anything is possible."
While certainly an unusual situation, two Jeopardy! champions competing in a regular-season game is not unprecedented. In 2018, four-game winner Ryan Fenster was brought back after the show's researchers found an incorrect Daily Double response that led to his defeat should have been accepted.
Newkirk now becomes the second Jeopardy contestant to compete on both an episode hosted by Alex Trebek and an episode hosted by Jennings (after contestant Jim Gilligan, who won on Trebek's final installment). The former Jeopardy champion is the first in a series of guest hosts who will step in before Trebek's permanent successor is named, with others to include Mayim Bialik, Katie Couric, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.