Press release from NBC, Feb. 14, 2019:
NBC’s three-time Emmy Award-nominated series “American Ninja Warrior” will be returning this summer to NBC for its eighth season. Production will begin in the spring and a premiere date will be announced shortly.
Hosted by Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila, the highly popular obstacle course competition series will shoot in six cities this season, including Los Angeles (Universal Studios backlot), Atlanta (The Home Depot Backyard at Mercedes Benz Stadium), Oklahoma City (State Capitol Building), Baltimore (Rash Field) and Cincinnati (downtown), along with its inaugural trip to the Pacific Northwest and its first time shooting indoors at Washington’s iconic Tacoma Dome.
The show’s national finals will once again take place in Las Vegas.
The action-packed series follows competitors as they tackle challenging obstacle courses in city qualifying and finals rounds throughout the country. Top competitors in each of the city finals rounds move onto the national finals, where they compete on a four-stage course that includes multiple obstacles on each stage. The winner, who must complete all four stages, including the final 75-foot rope climb, will take home a grand prize of $1 million.
In addition, the ninja to go the farthest on the national finals course wins $100,000. Last season’s inaugural “last ninja standing” was “American Ninja Warrior” veteran Drew Drechsel. Drechsel has competed on eight seasons of the show to date and recently served as the captain for Team USA on the show’s annual “USA Vs. the World” telecast.
Last season, “American Ninja Warrior” introduced several new twists, including lowering the competitors’ age limit to 19, which ushered in a new generation of strong, swift ninjas, and the fan-favorite 18-foot mega-warped wall, which offered competitors a chance to instantly win $10,000.
This season will bring some new, significant changes to the course and the game play, including new rules for the mega-warped wall and never-before-seen obstacles.
NBC’s summertime staple is always a strong ratings performer. Last year “American Ninja Warrior” delivered a 1.3 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.9 million viewers overall in “live plus seven day” Nielsens, scoring as the most-watched broadcast of the night with each of its final five telecasts of the summer. The show consistently generated top-10 rankings among primetime shows on the Big 4 networks in numerous key demographics, including a #3 ranking among kids 2-11 behind only the two editions of “America’s Got Talent.”
Based on the global hit “Sasuke,” from Tokyo Broadcasting System Television, the original series is now in its 36th season in Japan.
The series is executive produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions’ founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed. Brian Richardson, Anthony Storm and Kristen Stabile also serve as executive producers.