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Twin Falls Public Library reference librarian Jennifer Hills poses for a portrait on Tuesday. Hills was a contestant on Jeopardy and will appear on the show tonight.

TWIN FALLS • This local librarian will play one of America’s top game shows tonight: Who is Jennifer Hills?

Nearly two months ago, Hills flew to Los Angeles to film at least one episode — she can’t say more than that and spoil the results — of “Jeopardy!” As a lover of literature, literary history, French history and other topics, she decided to try out for the trivia show on a whim. Within a year, she was on stage with Alex Trebek, buzzing in and playing to find the Daily Double.

“Now I have bragging rights in my family,” said the trivia buff, who works at the Twin Falls Public Library. “Nobody will play Trivial Pursuit with me. I have to coerce everyone to play with me.”

Hills qualified by first taking a 50-question online quiz, which replaces the regional auditions in big cities that interested individuals used to wait months or years for. She took the test in February and scored high enough to advance to the second round in July. She then flew to Seattle, where she answered more questions and interviewed with show producers.

From there, producers told her it might take up to 18 months to land a spot on the show. She was among the fortunate, getting the call to go to Hollywood on Oct. 23.

A week’s worth of episodes are filmed in a single day, and Hills was in the third group. On the day of filming, the contestants draw out of a hat to determine the order. Categories and questions are random, and even host Trebek, who knows the answers beforehand, won’t know the order.

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“I think there was a category on banned books a few weeks earlier,” Hills said. “I would have rocked that category. We just did Banned Books Week at the library.”

So, how did she do? Unlike the game, the audience won’t get the answer ahead of the question.

Bradley Guire may be reached at 735-3380.


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