TV Talk: Pittsburgher impresses Ken Jennings with unusual talent on ‘Jeopardy!’

Julian Glander may not have won Friday night’s “Jeopardy!” episode – he placed second to Mattea Roach, who won her 19th game in a row – but Glander did impress host Ken Jennings.

The 31-year-old Lawrenceville-based animator can sing the alphabet backward phonetically.

‘This is the first episode of’ Jeopardy! ‘ guest-directed by David Lynch, ”Jennings said, a reference to Lynch’s“ Twin Peaks, ”which featured The Man From Another Place (Michael J. Anderson) speaking backward in the Black Lodge. “I think I know who killed Laura Palmer now.”

“That was such a perfect response from him,” Glander said Monday morning. “It’s just another example of how quick he is. I really thought I could leave him speechless but he has a zinger for everything. ”

Prior to the taping, Glander said he had not made the “Twin Peaks” connection. He picked up the backward-talking talent from the ’90s toy Yak Bak, a recording gadget you could talk into and then playback your recording with an assortment of effects (sped-up, slowed-down, backward, etc.).

When Glander filled out a “Jeopardy!” questionnaire after he was selected to go on the show – whose answers that could serve as conversation starters – he included singing the alphabet backward phonetically.

“I don’t know what made it pop into my mind,” Glander said. “I haven’t sung the alphabet backward in 25 years.”

Glander said the Q&A with contestants is his favorite part of “Jeopardy!” – “I know that’s a controversial thing because some people fast-forward through it” – and his backward singing rose to the top among his responses. He performed it during a practice game at the start of his tape day and it caught the attention of the stage manager.

“I had been nervous and quiet all morning and then I busted out with the most satanic thing ever,” recalled Glander, a Detroit native who moved to Pittsburgh five years ago after visiting and loving the city. He’s a freelance 3D animator who’s done work for Adult Swim, Disney Channel, The New York Times and The New Yorker. He directed an episode of Cartoon Network’s “Summer Camp Island” last year.

“That’s pretty much my only trick,” Glander said of his backward singing. “I might have to learn a few other ones as part of my repertoire. I have no idea what I would have talked about on day two if I had won. My other anecdotes are a huge step down so maybe it’s a blessing that I lost. ”

Kept / canceled / spun-off

Netflix canceled “Space Force” after two seasons; The CW ditched “Batwoman” after three.

TBS canceled “The Last OG” after a four-season run.

HBO Max ordered an animated spin-off from “Harley Quinn.” “Noonan’s” will focus on loveable loser Kite Man.

Channel surfing

Melissa McBride, who plays Carol on “The Walking Dead,” will no longer star in the announced spin-off that was to focus on Carol and Daryl (Norman Reedus) with Daryl now going it alone. AMC said in a statement that relocating to Europe, where the spin-off will film, “became logistically untenable for Melissa at this time. … Cast members from “That’ 70s Show ”- Topher Grace, Laura Prepon, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Wilmer Valderrama – will make guest appearances on Netflix’s sequel series“ That ’90s Show.”

You can reach TV writer Rob Owen at [email protected] or 412-380-8559. Follow Rob on Twitter or Facebook. Ask TV questions by email or phone. Please include your first name and location.

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