Vicky Smith has worked much of her adult life in quiet, studious occupations. She’s been a children’s librarian, a library director and a book review editor.

But at some point in the past year, her daily routine has included sitting in front of the TV and shouting things like “What are the Galapagos Islands?,” “What is barometric pressure?” and “Who are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?”

Smith, of South Portland, had to train herself to answer trivia queries in the form of a question, in preparation for her time on the TV quiz show “Jeopardy!” The pre-recorded episode will air at 7:30 p.m. Friday and can be seen locally on Portland’s WMTW, Channel 8.

“I’ve been an off-and-on watcher for decades. But like a lot of casual watchers, I didn’t always phrase my answers in the form of a question,” said Smith, referring to a cardinal rule of “Jeopardy!” that often foils the most learned contestants. “So I had to train myself to shout out ‘Who is?’ or ‘Who are?’ so I’d be ready.”

Smith, 51, edits reviews of children’s and teen books for Kirkus Reviews, a book review publication. She’s also a former director of the McArthur Public Library in Biddeford. For years, friends and family had been telling her she ought to try out for “Jeopardy!,” which has been on TV in various forms since 1964. As a librarian and book editor, she’s looked up or read millions of eclectic facts, something that often makes for an ideal “Jeopardy!” contestant. She also plays in a winter trivia league with a group of friends.

More than a year ago there was an announcement from “Jeopardy!” about a round of online tryouts, and Smith’s 20-year-old daughter convinced her to give it a shot. That led to an audition in New York City and eventually to her competing on the show during a taping in Los Angeles in March.

Publicists for “Jeopardy!” say Smith can’t talk about how she did on the show or any categories that came up. But besides knowing a lot about children’s literature and books in general, Smith is also a beekeeper. So if you watch Friday and see a category like “To Bee or Not to Bee,” you’ll know Smith is in good shape.

Smith said she was impressed with host Alex Trebek, who has had the job since 1984, and his attention to detail and getting things right. She said that during tapings, if Trebek is even slightly off in his pronunciation of a word in a clue, he’ll ask for a quick re-tape so that the clue is 100 percent right on the episode when it airs. She also said there were several rehearsals, so she and the other players would know how everything works during an actual game and be comfortable on set and in front of cameras.

One thing about the show that’s crucial to being successful, Smith said, is that players can’t buzz in with their answer until Trebek is finished reading the clue. If you buzz in while the clue is being read, your buzz doesn’t register, Smith said.

For many die-hard “Jeopardy!” buffs, being on the show is a dream come true and makes people a little, well, goofy on camera. Just about every episode, some player selects a clue under the “Daily Double” heading, which allows them to bet everything they have if they want. Those bold enough to bet it all often turn to Trebek with a smile and say, “Let’s make it true Daily Double, Alex.”

Would Smith do that if she got the chance?

“Not happily,” Smith said with a laugh. “It’s become a cliché, and you hear it every night.”

But to find out exactly what Smith does, and whether she does go for that true Daily Double, you’ll have to tune in Friday.

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 210-1183 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @RayRouthier

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