Longtime fans of Jeopardy! love rallying behind contestants who are on hot streaks. Champion Ben Chan has a three-game winning streak in the quiz competition. On Monday, April 17, the St. Norbert College philosophy professor was missing from the program and fans began to question what happened to him. Scroll below for more details on Ben’s absence from the show. 

What Happened to ‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Ben Chan?

At the start of the episode, three new contestants, Madeleine McKenna, Daniel Ciarrocchi and Toni Van Kampen, took the stage to compete. Host Ken Jennings addressed concerns over Ben’s absence right away. 

“Astute Jeopardy! viewers will have already noticed that [announcer] Johnny Gilbert, when he introduced our players, did not mention a returning champion and their winnings,” he began. “Astute and loyal Jeopardy! viewers will remember that last week, Friday’s show ended with Ben Chan clinching his third runaway win.” 

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Ken continued, “How do we solve this riddle? Well, as has happened only a few times in Jeopardy! history, the returning champ found themselves unable to travel this week,” adding, “What that means is, never fear, we’ll have Ben back on at a later date.”

The episode continued with the three new contestants and no returning champion for them to compete against. Daniel went on to win the Final Jeopardy during the broadcast and will be returning to the show as a champion for another episode. 

Ben Chan Reveals When He Will Return to ‘Jeopardy!’ 

As for Ben, he later clarified the real reason he did not return to Jeopardy! for his fourth appearance as scheduled. 

“Before yesterday’s episode 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 fine, so I’m excited to watch what happens over the next few weeks, see who I’ll be competing against on May 15,” he revealed during a virtual appearance on Good Day Wisconsin on April 18. 

The educator, who lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, currently has winnings from the show that total $69,001. He has been moved by all of the support he’s received from fans since making his Jeopardy! debut. 

“So, my goal going in was to be super prepared and then to play with joy. I figured I would have no regrets if I did those two things,” the game show contestant said during an April 4 interview with the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “I enjoyed the preparation a lot. I learned a lot of things I should have known years ago, and I discovered some new study tools that I think I can pass on to my students.”