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James Holzhauer returns to TV, doubts Rodgers will host ‘Jeopardy!’

Updated June 3, 2021 - 1:06 pm

As a lifelong Chicago Bears fan, James Holzhauer despises the Green Bay Packers.

The former “Jeopardy!” champion, who will return to TV at 9 p.m. Sunday for the season two premiere of ABC’s quiz show “The Chase,” quickly put his thumbs down and booed after answering a question about Green Bay during last year’s “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” tournament.

But the Las Vegas pro sports bettor softened his stance on the Bears’ bitter rival after Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers served as guest host of “Jeopardy!” in April.

Posting the clip of himself on Twitter booing Green Bay, Holzhauer, who was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois, wrote “Apropos of nothing, I would like to publicly redact this statement.”

Rodgers, who reportedly wants to be traded, has expressed interest in becoming the permanent host of “Jeopardy!” But Holzhauer said the odds are against it.

“I haven’t actually watched Jeopardy in many months, so I can’t comment on anyone’s performance as host,” Holzhauer said in an email to the Review-Journal. “Word is (show owner) Sony wants someone who is 100 percent committed to that job and no other, so I doubt Aaron Rodgers is actually in the running unless he suddenly retires.”

Holzhauer won $2.96 million on “Jeopardy!,” including $2.46 million during his 33-episode run on the show in 2019 that captivated the country. He will rejoin fellow “Jeopardy!” legends Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on “The Chase,” where they alternate each episode as the Chaser, a trivia master trying to keep contestants from winning prize money.

They will be joined this season by Mark “The Beast” Labbett, a longtime Chaser on the original “The Chase” on British TV network ITV.

Las Vegas resident Tabitha Hornyak will compete in Sunday’s show against Jennings.

“The second season of ‘The Chase’ is better in almost every way,” Holzhauer said. “The pace is faster, and the game mechanics have been tweaked to encourage more contestants to gamble for the bigger prize. Viewers will see more excitement in the Final Chase and some surprising finishes.

“The addition of ‘The Beast’ raised everyone’s game, especially when it comes to the backstage trash talking.”

Before Holzhauer blossomed into the phenom known as “Jeopardy James,” he made his TV debut in 2014 on “The Chase” on the Game Show Network, where he led his team to victory over “The Beast” and won $58,333.

Holzhauer said the role of Chaser combines two of his favorite things: “trivia smarts and the persona of a pro wrestling heel.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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