“American Ninja Warrior” has beaten the obstacle course that is coronavirus production.
NBC has announced that the competition series will premiere its twelfth season on Monday, Sept. 7 in the 8 p.m. time slot. That means it will be taking the place of “The Voice,” which sources say will no longer be ready in time for its previously scheduled launch. “The Voice” will likely be ready sometime later in the fall, according to sources with knowledge of the production.
News of the schedule shake-up comes three months after NBC announced an optimistic fall schedule which still featured its biggest players like “This Is Us” and new “Law & Order” spinoff “Law & Order: Organized Crime.” At the time, sources close to the network admitted that not every show would be ready in time for the traditional start of the network season in September, but that NBC was confident it would have almost everything ready for later in the fall.
This latest eight-episode season of “American Ninja Warrior” was shot under social distancing regulations in St. Louis at the gigantic Dome at America’s Center. It represents the first NBC series to have completed a full season of episodes during the pandemic, which made production across scripted and un-scripted grind to a halt since mid-March.
Season 12 of “American Ninja Warrior” will also have several format changes, including multiple abridged rounds. The qualifying round will now feature a six-obstacle course, the semi-finals a 10-obstacle course, and the grand finals a 10-obstacle course plus a Power Tower playoff bracket.
This season will be comprised of 50 top athletes who competed in previous seasons, and each will bring along two people from their communities to compete with them for a total of 150 competitors.
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,” with the winner earning $100,000.
The most recent season of “Ninja Warrior” was a steady ratings performer for NBC, averaging a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49 and 5.4 million total viewers after seven days of delayed viewing, per Nielsen.
“American Ninja Warrior” is executive produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions’ founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed, along with Brian Richardson, Anthony Storm and Kristen Stabile.