Normally premiering in late May or early June, the 12th season of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior finally gets a date to start airing next month but the date of the premiere is not the only change to the show.
Unlike other seasons where the show would travel around the country for the multiple qualifying rounds, American Ninja Warrior only got as far as St. Louis. Filmed at St. Louis at the Dome at America’s Center, ANW is the first NBC series to have completed a full season of episodes during the current pandemic. However, this “full” season includes only eight episodes which is half as many as last year.
This season’s shows is also taking a different format. The top 50 athletes will bring along two people from their communities to compete with them for a total of 150 competitors. The series will feature an abridged format with multiple rounds: Qualifiers (6 obstacle course), Semi-Finals (10 obstacle course) and Finals (10 obstacle course + Power Tower playoff bracket).
To determine the winner during the Finals, the top eight ninjas will compete in a playoff bracket where they will race head-to-head on the Power Tower. The winner will earn $100,000.
ANW will once again be hosted by Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila along with sideline reporter Zuri Hall, but one person will be absent this season. Drew Drechesel, who has competed on nine seasons of the show and was last year’s champion, has been banned from the show after he was arrested earlier this month on “child-sex-related” charges. All of the scenes featuring him have been eliminated.
“American Ninja Warrior is a family show that has inspired countless people, and we will not let the actions of one contestant tarnish the hard work and amazing stories of so many,” a spokesperson for the show told NBC News on August 5. said. “Moving forward, the American Ninja Warrior brand will sever all ties with Mr. Drechsel, including his appearance on future seasons of the show.”
American Ninja Warrior premieres on Monday, September 7 with a two-hour episode beginning at 8 p.m.
Main image: NBC
I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.