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American Ninja Warrior

American Ninja Warrior
American Ninja Warrior Logo.jpg
GenreSports entertainment
Sports competition
Based onSasuke
Directed byPatrick McManus[1] (2014–)
Presented by
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons10
No. of episodes146[2]
Executive producer(s)
Camera setupMultiple-camera
Running time36–128 minutes[5][6]
Production company(s)
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original network
Picture formatHDTV (1080i)
Audio format5.1 Surround
Original releaseDecember 12, 2009 (2009-12-12) – present
Preceded byAmerican Ninja Challenge (2006–08)
Related showsSasuke
Ultimate Beastmaster
External links
Production website

American Ninja Warrior (sometimes abbreviated as ANW) is an American sports entertainment competition that is a spin-off of the Japanese television series Sasuke. It features hundreds of competitors attempting to complete a series of obstacle courses of increasing difficulty in various cities across the United States, in hopes of advancing to the national finals on the Las Vegas Strip, in hopes of becoming an "American Ninja Warrior".

To date only two competitors, rock-climbers Isaac Caldiero and Geoff Britten, have finished the course and achieved "Total Victory". Caldiero is the only competitor to win the cash prize. The series premiered on December 12, 2009 on the now-defunct cable channel G4 and now airs on NBC with encore episodes airing on USA Network and NBCSN, G4, and Esquire Network.

Series overview

American Ninja Warrior succeeded G4's American Ninja Challenge as the qualifying route for Americans to enter Sasuke. Beginning with the fourth season in 2012, regional finalists and wild card competitors competed on a nearly identical Mount Midoriyama course in Las Vegas, Nevada, rather than traveling to Japan to compete on Sasuke.

Season Duration Winner's prize Finals venue Last Ninja(s) Standing Host Co-host Sideline reporter
Premiere Finale
1 December 12, 2009 December 19, 2009 N/A Sasuke 23 Levi Meeuwenberg Blair Herter Alison Haislip N/A
2 December 8, 2010 December 23, 2010 $250,000[7] Sasuke 26 David Campbell Matt Iseman Jimmy Smith Alison Haislip
3 July 31, 2011 August 21, 2011 $500,000[a] Sasuke 27
4 May 20, 2012 July 23, 2012 $500,000 Mount Midoriyama
(Las Vegas Strip)
Brent Steffensen Jonny Moseley Angela Sun
5 July 1, 2013 September 16, 2013 Brian Arnold Akbar Gbaja-Biamila Jenn Brown
6 May 26, 2014 September 8, 2014 Joe Moravsky
7 May 25, 2015 September 14, 2015 $1,000,000 Geoff Britten Kristine Leahy
Isaac Caldiero
8 June 1, 2016 September 12, 2016 Drew Drechsel
9 June 12, 2017 September 18, 2017 Joe Moravsky
10 May 30, 2018 September 10, 2018 Drew Drechsel
  1. ^ The prize was an endorsement deal with K-Swiss worth $500,000.

Hosts and co-hosts

The broadcast position for Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, seen here in season eight.

American Ninja Warrior was originally hosted by G4's American television personality Blair Herter, and actress and former television correspondent Alison Haislip. In the second season, American actor, comedian, and television host Matt Iseman joined the show, replacing Herter.[8] Additionally, Jimmy Smith was brought in as a co-host, while Haislip was the sideline reporter. The panel remained the same throughout season three.

For season four, skier Jonny Moseley was brought in as the new co-host, replacing Smith.[9] American journalist, sportscaster, and documentary filmmaker Angela Sun replaced Haislip.

For season five, two newcomers were added. Sports analyst and former NFL football player Akbar Gbaja-Biamila replaced Moseley, while ESPN sportscaster and model Jenn Brown replaced Sun as sideline reporter.[10] The season five panel remained the same through the sixth season.

For season seven, CBS Sports reporter Kristine Leahy joined the show as the new sideline reporter, replacing Brown.[11] The roster has stayed the same as of season ten, consisting of Iseman, Gbaja-Biamila, and Leahy.[12]


Potential contestants go through a series of steps before possibly becoming an "American Ninja Warrior". Over 3,500 athletes have attempted to conquer Mount Midoriyama and become one since the series began in 2009.[13][14]

Contestant eligibility

The final obstacle of all city courses, the Warped Wall, seen here in Indianapolis when the course was curved around Monument Circle.

There are some requirements contestants must meet before participating at a regional qualifier. Contestants must be legal residents of the United States and be in decent physical shape. There is no upper age limit, though participants must be at least 19 years old (21 years old during the first nine seasons). Contestants must fill out a 20-page questionnaire and make a video about themselves.[15] The required length of the video has differed over the years. Submission video length requirements have varied from 2 to 8 minutes, depending on the season.[16][17]

1,000 people applied to compete in season one,[18] 5,000 people in season six,[19] 50,000 in season seven,[18] 70,000 in season eight,[20] and 77,000 in season nine.[21] Producers then select 100 contestants from the thousands of applicants to participate in each regional qualifier. They also select 20 to 30 "walk-ons" who may wait weeks camping outside to get a chance on the course.[18]

City qualifying and finals

Season nine Cleveland city course filming view from Terminal Tower, looking out to Public Square.

In each city qualifier course, the competitors that the producers have selected compete on an obstacle course consisting of six obstacles. Descriptions of each obstacle in each course are provided by the sideline reporter at the beginning of an episode.

At the beginning of each run, a buzzer sounds off, allowing a competitor to begin the course. A timer begins simultaneously. The first obstacle on any city qualifying course is the quintuple steps or floating steps, in which competitors must run across. This is followed by four different obstacles that test a competitors balance, upper-body strength and grip. These five obstacles are built above water. If a competitor falls into the water or touches it, their run ends immediately and the timer records their time.

Until season nine, the sixth and final obstacle was the 14'6" warped wall, in which competitors are given three chances to reach the top. In season ten, the 18-foot "Mega Wall" was introduced adjacent to the warped wall. Competitors have only one attempt to reach the top of the Mega Wall, and if successful, will win $10,000. However, if unsuccessful, the competitor will only get one attempt at the warped wall. Competitors are given the choice of which to climb.

At the top of both walls, there is a buzzer a competitor presses which stops the timer and records their time, ending their run on the course. The top 30 competitors who go the farthest the fastest advance to the city finals course. Since season nine, the top five women also advance to the city finals, regardless if they finished in the top 30.

City finals courses are the follow-up to each city qualifying course. They contain four new obstacles, in addition to the six obstacles featured in the city qualifying course. These four obstacles are all placed after the original six obstacles. As of season ten, two of the original six obstacles are replaced with new obstacles for the city finals course.

The top 15 competitors who go the farthest the fastest from each city finals course move on to compete on the National Finals course. As of season nine, the top two women in each city finals course also move on to compete on the National Finals course, even if they do not finish in the top 15. Small prizes ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 are awarded to first, second, and third finishers who complete the city finals course.[22]

Qualifying and finals courses are filmed back-to-back, usually over two nights. Obstacles are designed and produced in the five months prior to an episode taping, with 3–4 new ones per city. In season eight, 18 obstacles were debuted.[23]

City timeline

City Season
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Los Angeles, CA
Miami, FL
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
Baltimore, MD
St. Louis, MO
Kansas City, MO
Houston, TX
Orlando, FL
Pittsburgh, PA
San Pedro, CA
Atlanta, GA
Indianapolis, IN
Oklahoma City, OK
Philadelphia, PA
San Antonio, TX
Daytona Beach, FL
Cleveland, OH
Minneapolis, MN


The National Finals takes place at "Mount Midoriyama", the final course for American Ninja Warrior. Located on the Las Vegas Strip, it consists of four stages, each containing various obstacles of increasing difficulty. Competitors must complete all of the 23 obstacles. Should they complete the first three stages, competitors will advance to Stage 4, where competitors attempt to climb the 75-foot rope climb, known as Mount Midoriyama, in 30 seconds or less.[24] Should a competitor achieve Total Victory, he or she receives a money prize of $500,000 from season four to season six, and $1,000,000 from season seven. Beginning in season eight, if multiple competitors complete stage 4, the competitors split the prize money, although in prior years the fastest competitor would receive the full amount.[22]

  • Stage 1 consists of obstacles that test the competitors' agility and speed. The first stage is timed, and only the competitors who successfully complete it within the time limit of 2:35 will advance to Stage 2.
  • Stage 2 consists of obstacles that test the competitors' strength and speed. Competitors must complete challenges that strain their upper-body strength (such as the Salmon Ladder) without running out of time. Just as in the first stage, only the competitors who successfully finish within the time limit of 4:00 move on to Stage 3.
  • Stage 3 consists of obstacles that test the competitors' upper body and grip strength. It is the only stage in Mt. Midoriyama that has no time limit. Like Stages 1 and 2, only the competitors who successfully complete Stage 3 move on.
  • Stage 4 of Mt. Midoriyama is a 75-foot rope climb. Competitors must complete the rope climb and hit the buzzer in under 30 seconds.

Season synopses

Season 1 (2009)

The first season of American Ninja Warrior was held in Los Angeles, where hundreds of competitors came to challenge themselves against the course and qualify for a shot at making it to Japan to compete in Sasuke 23 later in the year. The special premiered on December 12, 2009, on G4 TV and was hosted by G4's Blair Herter and Alison Haislip. Notable competitors this season included freerunners Levi Meeuwenberg and Brian Orosco, mixed martial artist Jason "Mayhem" Miller, and Hollywood stuntman Rich King. Along with competitors on every season, Lorin Ball, Brian Kretsch, Ryan Stratis, and David Campbell.

Out of the ten Americans who qualified to compete at Mount Midori in Japan, only Rich King, Levi Meeuwenberg and Brian Orosco successfully completed Stage 1. The majority of the American Ninja Warrior competitors ran out of time or failed the obstacles. Levi Meeuwenberg was the only American competitor to complete Stage 2. The sole American competitor on Stage 3 fell on the "Shin-Cliffhanger" and his run came to an end.[25]

Season 2 (2010)

The second season premiered on December 8, 2010, on G4, and concluded on December 23, 2010 after 10 episodes. The city qualifiers were held near the beach in Venice, California, where 300 competitors took on the qualifiers course. 30 competitors advanced to the city finals course. The top 15 competitors in the city finals course then moved on to participate in "Ninja Warrior Boot Camp" in Simi Valley, where they competed in a series of team challenges for five days. The 10 finalists then moved on to compete in the season finale as part of Sasuke 26 in Japan. Five competitors completed Stage 1, while four competitors completed Stage 2. No competitor made it beyond Stage 3.[26] David Campbell was the Last Ninja Standing, having gone the farthest the fastest among the American competitors in Sasuke 26.[8]

Season 3 (2011)

The third season began airing on July 31, 2011, on G4 and concluded with the finale airing on August 22, 2011, as a two-hour primetime special on NBC.[27][28] Tryouts took place in May 2011 at Venice Beach, California. After the tryouts, the top 15 competitors competed in Ninja Warrior Boot Camp with the top 10 moving on to Japan for the finals of the competition as a part of Sasuke 27 and a chance at becoming the first American to conquer the course and win a $500,000 endorsement deal with K-Swiss. No competitors made it beyond Stage 3.

Season 4 (2012)

Competitor auditions being filmed at the entrance of the Northwest Regional in Venice Beach, California during season 4.

The fourth season of American Ninja Warrior began airing on May 20, 2012, on both G4 and NBC. There were six regional competitions held in three locations: Venice Beach (Southwest and Northwest), Dallas (Midwest and Midsouth), and Miami (Northeast and Southeast), that determined the 100 competitors to participate in the qualifying rounds. The winner of the ANW season four competition would receive $500,000 and the coveted "American Ninja Warrior" title. The season finale, held in Las Vegas, was the first time that Mount Midori was held on U.S. soil. Submission videos for American Ninja Warrior season 4 had been collected since January 25, 2012.[29]

The entire format was changed as well – regional qualifiers in different parts of the country were aired, and the Mt. Midori course was recreated just off the Las Vegas Strip for the national finals. The regional qualifiers would narrow down its selections down to 30 contestants who finished its qualifying course in the fastest time as well as the contestants who finished the furthest the fastest. Qualifying obstacles would include common Stage 1 obstacles such as the Quintuple steps and the Warped wall, but its contents would change from city to city. The 30 contestants were then cut in half in the regional finals where the course would extend to include common Stage 2 and Stage 3 obstacles such as the Salmon Ladder, Cliffhanger and Body Prop. The 100 contestants who qualified (including wild cards) earned tickets to Las Vegas to challenge Mt. Midori. Brent Steffensen was the first American to defeat the Ultimate Cliffhanger on Stage 3, and he made it the farthest that season, falling on the Hang Climb. He was the only competitor to reach Stage 3 in this competition.

Season 5 (2013)

The fifth season of American Ninja Warrior premiered on June 30, 2013, on G4 with subsequent shows airing on NBC and G4.[30] Notably, the sideboard advertising along the course listed Esquire Network as the broadcaster as the fifth season was to premiere after G4's transition to Esquire on April 22, 2013. The network switch was eventually delayed to September 23, 2013, and Esquire took over Style Network's channel space instead. Because of this, additional reruns of the season aired on Saturday nights on NBC through the summer to maintain ratings momentum due to G4's lame duck status, with ANW being their only new program since they wound down all their original programming in January 2013. The success of the NBC re-airings led to the series being considered for NBC's main summer schedule for the next season.

Regional competitions were held in Venice Beach, Baltimore, Miami, and Denver. Tryouts for the season began in February 2013[31] and ended with the last of the regional rounds taking place the following May.[32] The finale was once again held in Las Vegas. No one defeated Stage 3, but Brian Arnold fell on the last obstacle, the Flying Bar, making him the farthest-going American on the Mount Midori course since Kane Kosugi reached the final stage on Sasuke 8.

Season 6 (2014)

The sixth season of American Ninja Warrior premiered on May 26, 2014, on NBC with subsequent shows airing on Monday nights at 9:00 pm EST[33] and Tuesday nights at 8:00 pm EST on Esquire Network.[34] Regional competitions were held at Venice Beach, Dallas, St. Louis, Miami, and Denver. The season finale was again held in Las Vegas, the permanent home of the U.S. version of Mount Midori. Notable competitors this season included The Biggest Loser personal trainer Kim Lyons, U.S. Olympic gymnasts Jonathan Horton and Terin Humphrey, among others. Female competitor Kacy Catanzaro became the first female to make it up the "Warped Wall" in the Dallas Qualifiers. Later in the Dallas Finals, she became the first woman to complete that finals course, in 8 minutes, 59 seconds. Again, no competitor achieved "total victory". Kacy's run has over ten million views. Joe Moravsky, the "Weatherman", made it farther than anyone on season six, falling on the Hang Climb, where Brent Steffensen failed two years ago.

Season 7 (2015)

Many competitors train extensively before a season begins.

The seventh season of American Ninja Warrior premiered on NBC on May 25, 2015. This season's grand prize was increased from $500,000 to $1,000,000. Qualifying and finals courses were held in Venice Beach, Kansas City, Houston, Orlando, Pittsburgh, as well as a special military-only course in San Pedro. Stage 1 had a total of 38 finishers including Brent Steffensen and Dustin McKinney. In Stage 2, 30 of the 38 competitors failed. Only eight were remaining in Stage 3 including Drew Dreschel, Abel Gonzalez, Isaac Caldiero, Ian Dory, Jeremiah Morgan, Kevin Bull, Joe Moravsky and Geoff Britten. Only two competitors finished the course: Isaac Caldiero and Geoff Britten. It was the first time that any American had finished Stage 3. The season concluded with a victory: Geoff Britten was the first to complete Stage 4 with a second remaining; however, Isaac Caldiero achieved the Stage 4 rope climb in a faster time and was awarded the grand prize of $1,000,000 and the title of "American Ninja Warrior". Geoff Britten was the first Ninja to complete all six courses in a single season.

Season 8 (2016)

The Fly Wheels, the third obstacle during the Indianapolis City Qualifiers and City Finals in season 8.

Season eight of American Ninja Warrior began on June 1, 2016, on NBC, with encore episodes airing the following day on Esquire Network. Regional competitions were held in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, and Philadelphia, with 28 new obstacles. Over 40 percent more women registered for season eight compared to the previous season. Additionally, prize money for possible Stage 4 winners would now be split equally among competitors who complete the rope climb in under 30 seconds.[22]

In Philadelphia's city finals, no competitors completed the finals course, a first in American Ninja Warrior history. In Stage 1 of the National Finals, many veterans of the show such as Geoff Britten and Brent Steffensen were eliminated early, while Jessie Graff became the first woman to complete Stage 1, placing fifth.[35] Tyler Yamauchi became the shortest person ever to complete the Jumping Spider obstacle at 5'1". Only 17 competitors successfully completed Stage 1, the lowest in ANW history.[35] On Stage 2, all athletes were eliminated except Drew Drechsel and Daniel Gil. During Stage 3, both Drechsel and Gil could not complete the course. Gil fell on the Ultimate Cliffhanger, while Drechsel went the farthest, but fell on the Hang Climb. Contrary to season seven's multiple winners, no season eight competitor made it past Stage 3.

Season 9 (2017)

Season nine of American Ninja Warrior began on June 12, 2017, on NBC; Esquire Network ended operations fifteen days later on June 27, thus encore episodes shifted over to NBCSN on non-event nights with this season. The premiere was preceded by a special episode, "Celebrity Ninja Warrior" on May 25, 2017, the U.S. Red Nose Day, which was followed by a "USA vs. the World" special on June 4. New for season nine, the top five women in each city qualifying course qualified for the city finals course, and the top two women in each city finals qualified for national finals, regardless of their placement overall. Also this season, fans were given the opportunity to design their own obstacles through ANW Obstacle Design Challenge and seven fan-submitted obstacles have been featured on the show.

In the national finals, a record 41 competitors successfully completed Stage 1, including Allyssa Beird, the second woman to complete Stage 1. On Stage 2, all athletes were eliminated except Joe Moravsky, Sean Bryan and Najee Richardson. During Stage 3, none of the three could complete the course. Richardson and Bryan fell on the Ultimate Cliffhanger, while Moravsky went the farthest, but failed Time Bomb. As in season eight, no competitor was able to complete Stage 3.

Season 10 (2018)

Season ten of American Ninja Warrior began airing on May 30, 2018, with new changes including a $10,000 bonus for clearing the new 18-foot Mega Wall and $100,000 prize money for the "Last Ninja Standing". Drew Drechsel and Sean Bryan, the only two who made it to stage 3, both fell on the Ultimate Cliffhanger, however Drechsel made it faster, crowning him the Last Ninja Standing. Drechsel was also the first to win the $100,000 prize money.

ANW specials

USA vs. The World

Special Air date Champions Runner-up 3rd Place 4th Place Hosts Sideline reporter
USA vs. Japan January 13, 2014 Team USA Team Japan N/A N/A Matt Iseman Akbar Gbaja-Biamila Jenn Brown
USA vs. The World September 15, 2014 Team Europe Team USA Team Japan N/A
January 31, 2016 Team USA Team Europe Team Japan N/A Kristine Leahy
June 4, 2017 Team USA Team Europe Team Latin America N/A
March 11, 2018 Team Europe Team USA Team Latin America Team Asia

NBC has aired a series of 5 specials in which ANW fan favorites compete in a team against teams of competitors from regions across the world, including Japan, Europe, Latin America, and most recently, Asia. The competitors race on the same course used in the ANW finals.

The first special was entitled USA vs. Japan, while the rest have been named USA vs. The World. The inaugural competition was aired on January 13, 2014, and was won by Team USA. The second special aired on September 15, 2014, and was won by Team Europe. The third special aired on January 31, 2016, and was won by Team USA. The fourth international competition was aired on June 4, 2017, and was again won by Team USA. The most recent special aired on March 11, 2018, and was won by Team Europe.

All of the specials have been hosted by Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila. The first two included sideline reporter Jenn Brown. Since the 2016 special, Kristine Leahy has sideline reported.



On May 29, 2016, prior to the premiere of season eight, NBC aired a two-hour all-star special in which hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila chose their own all-star teams composed of three veterans, one rookie, and one woman. Teams competed on stages two, three, and four of the regular season finals course, Mt. Midoriyama, as well as competitions on a supersized course by testing their skills in competitions on the giant pegboard, 40-foot Salmon Ladder, Flying Shelf Grab, and Jump Hang, concluding with a race to the top of the "Mega" Warped Wall.[36]

The all-star winners were Team Akbar who won the team competition, beating Team Matt 5-3. Additionally, competitor Joe Moravsky completed Stage 2 in a record time of 1:08:52.[37]


On February 20, 2017, NBC aired a second two-hour all-star special. Like the previous year's competition, ANW hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila chose their own all-star teams, this year composed of one veteran, one breakout star, and one woman. Team Matt featured Chris Wilczewski, Najee Richardson, and Jesse "Flex" Lebreck. Team Akbar featured Grant McCartney, Neil "Crazy" Craver, and Meagan Martin. Also, sideline interviewer Kristine Leahy got to pick her own team, which consisted of Jessie Graff, Flip Rodriguez, and Nicholas Coolridge. Teams competed as a relay race to finish sections of stages one, two, and three of the regular season finals course, Mt. Midoriyama. Next, was the skills competition on a supersized course where individual contestants tested their skills in competition on the 75-feet tall Endless Invisible Ladder, the 4-story high Super Salmon Ladder, Supersonic Shelf Grab, Striding Steps, and the Mega Wall, which is now 20 feet high.

The all-star winners were Team Kristine, who won the team relay race competition, beating Team Matt and last year's champions Team Akbar. Their highlight of the night was completing Stage 3 in a record time of 5:30:62, making this the POM Wonderful Run of the Night.


On May 17, 2018, NBC aired a third two-hour all-star special. Like the last two seasons' competition, ANW hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, along with Kristine Leahy, chose their own all-star teams, composed of two male veterans, and one female veteran. The reigning champs, Team Kristine (gray/pink) featured: Jessie Graff, Flip Rodriguez, and J.J. Woods. Team Matt (blue) featured: Jamie Rahn, Lance Pekus, and Jesse LaBreck. However, Team Akbar featured first-time all-stars: Allyssa Beird, Jon Alexis Jr., and Tyler Yamauchi.

For the first half of the special, the athletes competed individuality, earning "skills medals". First was the "Skills Competition", which consisted of who can make it up the Super Salmon Ladder, 4 stories high and 35 rungs in the fastest time. Winner: Sean Bryan (19.39). And a test of how far the all-star ninjas can fly on the Wicked Wingnuts obstacle. Winner: Drew Drechsel (20 feet). They tested their upper body strength by racing head-to-head on the Thunderbolt. Winner: Jamie Rahn. Then, it was a speed and balance challenge on the Striding Steps. Winner: Jake Murray (28.76) This year, ANW debuted a new obstacle, the Mega Spider Climb, where the eight women all-stars raced side-by-side 80 feet up to the top of the Stage 4 tower. Winner: Jessie Graff, who won the tournament-style Stage 4 competition in a time of 24:03, making this the POM Wonderful Run of the Night.

The second half showcased the team competition: Stage 1 featured a relay race through the obstacles course. First racer goes through Snake Run, Propeller Bar and Double Dipper. Next racer tackles the Jumping Spider, Parkour Run and the Warped Wall. And the anchor runs through the Domino Pipes, and the Flying Squirrel. The other two teams compete on Stage 2 for the other spot in the finals. Team Kristine won Stage 1 and got a bye into Stage 3. Stage 2 featured the Giant Ring Swing, Criss Cross Salmon Ladder, Wave Runner, Swing Surfer, Wingnut Alley and the Wall Flip. Team Matt won and moved onto Stage 3, which featured Floating Boards, Key Lock Hang, the Nail Clipper, Ultimate Cliffhanger, the Body Prop, Peg Cloud, the Time Bomb and the Floating Bar.

The all-star winners were once again Team Kristine, who won the team relay race competition with a time of 6:12.06, beating Team Matt by only 5 seconds (6:17.96).

Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day

Celebrity Ninja Warrior features celebrities competing on the American Ninja Warrior course while being coached by ANW favorites.[38]


NBC announced a special entitled Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day which aired on May 25, 2017. The course featured modified obstacles: Floating Steps, Cannonball Drop, Fly Wheels, Block Run, Battering Ram, and the Warped Wall. After completing the course, Stephen Amell also completed the Salmon Ladder (which he performed in a scene on Arrow) and unsuccessfully attempted a new obstacle, the Swinging Pegboard; Amell's run was named the M&M's "Run of the Night."

For every obstacle the celebrities completed, M&M's and The Rockefeller Foundation pledged to donate $5,000 to Red Nose Day.

Celebrities Coaches
Stephen Amell Kacy Catanzaro
Derek Hough Daniel Gil
Erika Christensen David Flip Rodriguez
Natalie Morales Grant McCartney
Nikki Glaser Jessie Graff
Jeff Dye Meagan Martin
Mena Suvari Natalie Duran
Nick Swisher Drew Dreschel
Ashton Eaton Kevin Bull


In March 2018, NBC announced a second Celebrity Ninja Warrior special will air during a three-hour U.S. Red Nose Day special on May 24, 2018.[39] On April 2, 2018, the celebrities competing were announced.[40] Like last year's competition, ANW hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, who ran the course this year, were the hosts, along with special correspondent, actress Zooey Deschanel and sideline reporter Kristine Leahy. The course featured six modified obstacles: Floating Steps, Grab Bag, Spinning Bridge, Flying Shelf Grab, Doorknob Drop, and the 14 1/2-foot Warped Wall.

Each obstacle a celebrity completed raised $5,000 for Red Nose Day; earning up to $30,000 for finishing the whole course. A total of $185,000 was raised, courtesy of Comcast.

Celebrities Coaches
Akbar Gbaja-Biamila Kevin Bull
Ne-Yo Drew Dreschel
Colton Dunn Natalie Duran
Derek Hough Meagan Martin
Nikki Bella Grant McCartney
Scott Evans Flip Rodriguez
Nastia Liukin Barclay Stockett
Gregg Sulkin Maggie Thorne

ANW competitors in other competitions

Following the inception of American Ninja Warrior, ANW competitors have also continued to enter other obstacle course competitions around the world, including Sasuke:

  • Drew Dreschel won the Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup in 2014 in Kuala Lumpur and has advanced to Stage 3 at Sasuke six straight times (Sasuke 30-35).
  • Brent Steffensen advanced to Stage 3 at Sasuke 32, going out on the Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger.
  • Kacy Catanzaro also competed in Sasuke 32 and replicated her ANW feat of being the first woman up the Warped Wall but timed out on the Lumberjack Climb, the last obstacle of Stage 1.
  • Jessie Graff competed in Sasuke 34 alongside Dreschel and became only the second woman to complete Stage 1 (the first being Super Sentai stuntwoman Chie Nishimura (née Tanabe) back in Sasuke 2 in 1998). She then became the first woman to complete Stage 2 and advanced all the way to the Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger in Stage 3.
  • David Campbell competed in Sasuke Vietnam 2, the Vietnamese version of the show, in 2016. He completed the Vietnamese Mount Midoriyama at that edition of Sasuke Vietnam,[41] unofficially becoming the third American to achieve "Total Victory" after Britten and Caldiero. It has been confirmed that Campbell will compete in Sasuke Vietnam 4 once again in 2018.


Ninja vs. Ninja

On October 9, 2015, Esquire Network announced a spin-off of American Ninja Warrior which would feature 24 three-person teams (two men and one woman) of popular ANW alumni, initially titled Team Ninja Warrior. The teams compete head-to-head against each other, running the course simultaneously, thus creating a new live duel dynamic (including crossing points where the two competitors can affect the other's progress.) The two teams with the fastest times advance to the finale where one team will be crowned the winners and receive a cash prize. Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila host alongside actor and journalist, Alex Curry.[42][43][44] The series is Esquire Network's most-watched program in the channel's history.[45]

On May 31, 2016, Esquire Network ordered a sixteen-episode second season that also included a five-episode special college edition that had college-aged competitors go head-to-head against rival schools.[45] On March 6, 2017, it was announced that Team Ninja Warrior will be moving to sibling cable channel USA Network as Esquire Network winds down its linear channel operations and relaunches as an online only service. The show's second season premiered proper on April 18.[46] Ahead of its third season, the show was also re-titled American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs. Ninja.

American Ninja Warrior Junior

On May 2, 2018, the second spin-off of American Ninja Warrior, entitled American Ninja Warrior Junior, was announced. Set to premiere on Universal Kids on October 13, 2018, Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila will reprise their roles from ANW as hosts, with Olympic 2016 gold medalist Laurie Hernandez joining as co-host, guiding competitors in head-to-head challenges. The series will feature 200 kids age 9–14 competing along a course of miniature, kid-friendly ANW obstacles such as the warped wall. Similar to ANW, males and females will run along the same course, and similarly to Ninja vs. Ninja and College Madness, competitors compete head-to-head. However, they will be divided into three age groups: 9–10, 11–12 and 13–14,[47] with each category coached by fan-favorite athletes: Drew Dreschel, Kevin Bull, Natalie Duran, Meagan Martin, Najee Richardson, and Barclay Stockett.[48]


Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee Result ref
2015 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Reality Show American Ninja Warrior Nominated [49]
2016 People's Choice Awards Favorite Competition TV Show American Ninja Warrior Nominated [50]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Reality-Competition Program American Ninja Warrior Nominated [51]
2017 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Reality Show American Ninja Warrior Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Reality-Competition Program American Ninja Warrior Nominated [52]
2018 Primetime Emmy Awards American Ninja Warrior Nominated [53]

U.S. Nielsen ratings

Season Time slot (ET) Episodes Premiered Ended Network TV season Season averages
(Live + SD)
Most-watched episode (millions)
Date Premiere viewers
Date Finale viewers
Viewers (millions) 18–49 rating
1 Saturday 6:00 pm 8
December 12, 2009
December 19, 2009
N/A G4 2009–10 N/A N/A N/A
2 Wednesday 8:00 pm 10
December 8, 2010
December 23, 2010
N/A 2010–11 N/A N/A N/A
3 Sunday 9:00 pm 10
July 31, 2011
August 21, 2011
0.25[55][a] 2011 0.30 0.1 0.38[54]
4 Monday 9:00 pm 9
May 20, 2012
July 23, 2012
4.87[57] NBC
2012 5.11[57] 1.9[57] 6.78[57]
5 Monday 8:00 pm 12
July 1, 2013
September 16, 2013
4.04[58] 2013 5.15[58] 1.6[58] 5.81[58]
6 Monday 9:00 pm 14
May 26, 2014
September 8, 2014
5.21[59] NBC
2014 5.33[59] 1.8[59] 5.83[59]
7 Monday 8:00 pm 15
May 25, 2015
September 14, 2015
6.17[60] 2015 6.54[60] 1.9[60] 7.32[60]
8 13
June 1, 2016
September 12, 2016
5.88[61] 2016 6.28[61] 1.8[61] 7.01[61]
9 15
June 12, 2017
September 18, 2017
5.96[63] NBC
2017 5.86[64] 1.4[64] 6.47[64]
10 15
May 30, 2018
September 10, 2018
5.69[66] 2018 5.08[67] 1.1[67] 5.86[67]
  1. ^ The finale broadcast was aired on NBC the next day as a special, with 4.10 million viewers.[56] The viewership number represents the G4 broadcast only.

International broadcasts

In Australia and New Zealand, the show is broadcast on SBS2 (2013–2017), 9Go! (2018), TV3 and Four. On April 25, 2016, it was announced Canadian broadcaster CTV picked up American Ninja Warrior for its 2016 summer broadcast schedule.[68] In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the show is broadcast on Challenge. In Israel, the show is broadcast on Yes Action and Keshet 12. In 2016 Croatian RTL started broadcasting the show. The show is also shown in Finland on Sub-TV. In the Netherlands the show was first broadcast in 2017 on SBS 6, where their own Ninja Warrior NL has been broadcast.


The show is in syndication markets throughout the US and airs on local broadcast channels. As of August 18th 2018 the syndicated episodes are airing on MTV2 on Saturdays.

See also


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  2. ^ "American Ninja Warrior (a Titles & Air Dates Guide)". 2015-06-29. Archived from the original on 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
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  4. ^ a b "NBC Announces Three New and Returning Series Premieres for Summer 2012 Schedule". The Futon Critic. March 15, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  5. ^ "American Ninja Warrior 4 Seasons 2013". Amazon. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  6. ^ "American Ninja Warrior 4 Seasons 2013". Amazon. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "G4 Announces Season Two of "American Ninja Warrior"". The Futon Critic. July 26, 2010. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Lee, Nikki (May 30, 2018). "The evolution of American Ninja Warrior: Seasons 1-4". American Ninja Warrior Nation. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  9. ^ "Hosting Resume". Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  10. ^ Hibberd, James (April 8, 2013). "'American Ninja Warrior' returning with new hosts". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  11. ^ Lesley Goldberg (2015-03-12). "'American Ninja Warrior' Taps New Co-Host for Season 7. (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  12. ^ ""America Ninja Warrior" Selects Host Cities for Upcoming Summer Season". The Futon Critic. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  13. ^ "Why Ninja Warrior Is Bringing Back Its Best Contestants". CINEMABLEND. 2015-12-19. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  14. ^ "American Ninja Warrior Producer on the Show's Historic Finale". TV Insider. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  15. ^ "The Conversation: 'American Ninja Warrior' Geoff Britten on winning the game show". Washington Times. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  16. ^ "American Ninja Warrior 8". Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  17. ^ Alex Garofalo (2014-09-12). "'American Ninja Warrior' Tryouts 2015: How To Get Cast On Season 7". Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  18. ^ a b c Bryant, Kelly. "9 Fierce Facts About 'American Ninja Warrior'". Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  19. ^ Chapin, Adele (August 28, 2015). "Why Does Everyone Want to Become an American Ninja Warrior?". Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  20. ^ "'If It Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Interesting,' Say 'Ninja Warrior' Producers". NPR. June 23, 2016. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  21. ^ Lee, Nikki (March 21, 2017). "American Ninja Warrior producers and hosts discuss the show's exponential growth". American Ninja Warrior Nation. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  22. ^ a b c Garofalo, Alex (June 1, 2016). "'American Ninja Warrior' Season 8's Biggest Obstacle: Compensation For The Athletes". IBTimes. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  23. ^ Lee, Nikki (January 10, 2017). "The fine points of American Ninja Warrior course evolution". American Ninja Warrior Nation. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  24. ^ "NBC's "American Ninja Warrior" Makes History with First Winner". The Futon Critic. Futon Media. September 14, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  25. ^ "When is the Premiere Date of American Ninja Warrior Season 8?". Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  26. ^ O'Hare, Kate (2011). "'American Ninja Warrior' storms Japan's Mount Midoriyama". Zap2it. Archived from the original on September 13, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  27. ^ O'Hare, Kate (2011). "'American Ninja Warrior' storms Japan's Mount Midori". Zap2it. Archived from the original on September 13, 2011. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  28. ^ Hale, Mike (2011). "A 'Ninja Warrior' Upgrade Into Network Prime Time". New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
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  30. ^ "American Ninja Warrior". Retrieved June 30, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ Ishimoto, Moye (February 4, 2013). "American Ninja Warrior Tryouts Begin -- Calling All Aspiring Ninjas For Season 5!". G4 Media. The Feed. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  32. ^ "Finals for 'American Ninja Warrior' Denver auditions slated for Monday night". Gannett Company. KUSA (TV). May 20, 2013. Archived from the original on July 23, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  33. ^ "About". Retrieved 2015-07-17.
  34. ^ "American Ninja Warrior Official Site - Esquire Network". Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2014-05-05.
  35. ^ a b Barnes, Katie (September 6, 2016). "Night 2 of 'American Ninja Warrior' Vegas finals made Jessie Graff's run shine even brighter". Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  36. ^ ""AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR" (X) "ALL STARS" ORIGINAL"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved May 29, 2016.
  37. ^ Polacek, Scott. "American Ninja Warrior 2016 Results: Recap from May 29 Episode". Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  38. ^ Montgomery, Daniel (2017-04-05). "'American Ninja Warrior': New celebrity edition will feature Derek Hough, Stephen Amell and more". Goldderby. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  39. ^ "Chris Hardwick Returns to Host NBC's Highly Anticipated Fourth Annual "Red Nose Day Special"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  40. ^ "Derek Hough, NE-YO, Nikki Bella and More Take on Obstacle Course on "Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day" to Raise Money For Charity". The Futon Critic. April 2, 2018. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  41. ^ Lee, Nikki (September 30, 2016). "American Ninja Warrior David Campbell scores total victory in Sasuke Vietnam". SB Nation. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
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  44. ^ "Cast & Crew". Esquire Network. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  45. ^ a b "Esquire Network Announces Second Season of Hit Series "Team Ninja Warrior"". TheFuton Critic. May 31, 2016. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  46. ^ ‘Team Ninja Warrior’ Moving To USA As Sibling Esquire Shuts Down Linear Service - Deadline Hollywood (published March 6, 2017)
  47. ^ Dickson, Jeremy (May 2, 2018). "Universal Kids runs with American Ninja Warrior Junior". Kidscreen. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  48. ^ Otterson, Joe (2018-07-25). "'American Ninja Warrior Junior' Sets Premiere Date, Adds Olympian Laurie Hernandez as Co-Host (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  49. ^ "Nickelodeon Announces Nominations for the '28th Annual Kids' Choice Awards' - Ratings". 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  50. ^ "NOMINEES & WINNERS". People's Choice. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
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  62. ^ Porter, Rick (June 13, 2017). "NBA Finals end with a bang: Monday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
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  65. ^ Porter, Rick (June 1, 2018). "'Masterchef' premiere adjusts up: Wednesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  66. ^ Welch, Alex (September 11, 2018). "'Bachelor in Paradise' adjusts down: Monday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
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  68. ^ "Ready, Set, Leap! AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR Joins CTV's 2016 Summer Schedule". Postmedia Network Inc. Retrieved May 20, 2016.

External links