‘American Ninja Warrior’ Lands Bumper Renewal Order At NBC With Taller Mega Wall Among Format Changes
The competition format, which is produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions, returns this June for season 15 and has already been picked up for season 16.
There are a number of new additions to the seasons including a Mega Wall with ninjas also racing side-by-side and head-to-head for the first time, marking the biggest changes to the show in its history.
Production is currently underway on both seasons, with A. Smith & Co. filming the seasons back-to-back with select ninjas featured in both seasons. Season 15 will premiere on June 5 and season 16 returns in 2024. It marks a major statement of intent from NBCU unscripted chief Corie Henson, who joined last summer.
“The Ninja movement continues,” exec producer Arthur Smith told Deadline. “We’re now at the point where the show has been on long enough that some of our younger athletes, Ninja has been around their whole life. This year, we have fathers and sons and mothers and daughters competing.”
He added, “This is a unique competition that it is about the people and the stories and it has a lot of unique characteristics. Where else you have athletes rooting for each other? Where else you have women and men competing on the same course? We have a community and there’s so many positive values.”
Smith noted that one of the reasons they change the course up is the number of people training to compete. “We keep making the course harder, and they keep getting better. They keep training and it’s like the never ending quest for us to push the limit. They started with building courses in the backyard, that was reasonably early in the run. Now there’s Ninja gyms everywhere and then to coaches and then to trainers. Now we have kids, who say, ‘I’m not going to play soccer. I’m doing Ninja.”
He also pointed to the inspirational stories of some of the competitors including Christopher Harding Jones, a teenager from Georgia in season 14, whose motto was “Living Wide”, which he adopted after his father passed away from lung cancer, and Taylor Greene, who competed as a child on American Ninja Warrior Junior and is now 15 so she’s appearing on the main show.
“It’s kind of like watching LeBron James in high school,” he added. “Those moments happen on Ninja and we always have these really great backstories.”
Read the full Deadline article here.