It's time for another season of American Ninja Warrior!
NBC's summer staple returns for its 10th season in exactly one week, and only ET has the exclusive first look at the upcoming episodes. In the three-minute teaser, hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, along with co-host Kristine Leahy, pump up the the new season, where Iseman calls it "the culmination of a decade of American Ninja Warrior."
The action-packed series follows competitors as they tackle a series of challenging obstacle courses. Those who successfully complete the finals course in their region move on to the national finals round in Las Vegas, where they face a grueling four-stage course modeled after the famed Mt. Midoriyama in Japan, with the winner taking home the $1 million prize.
"The courses are bigger, the applicants better prepared, but the challenges far greater than ever before," Iseman previews, with Gbaja-Biamila adding, "If you're going to want that million dollars, you're going to have to earn it. You're going to have go big time, primetime." Leahy echoes their sentiments, saying this season they're "spicing things up."
And this year, you may see some much younger contestants vying for the grand prize as the minimum age requirement has dropped down to 19 years old. "That's going to be big for this show. We're going to see a lot of young talent," Gbaja-Biamila says. Iseman notes that "the best part of this show are the stories we get to tell because you realize it's not the obstacles they overcome on the course that people identify with, it's the obstacles they overcome off the course."
"American Ninja Warrior is so much bigger than just a TV show. This phenomenon gives hope to people. It gave hope to me," competing ninja Najee Richardson says in the video. Adds fellow ninja Jessica Clayton of the show's significance: "It is an opportunity I would have never imagined that I would have, an opportunity to show my kids how to live life and not to give up." "Even if you've had chemo, a bad car accident or something really traumatic happen to you, that you can get back to the gym and achieve your dreams," says ninja Favia Dubyk, who went from not being able to walk to being able to ace the course.
American Ninja Warrior has been a fan favorite for audiences and celebrities alike over the course of its 10-year run, so much so that they even recruited Hollywood stars for a few "celebrity editions." (This year, Gbaja-Biamila, Derek Hough and Nastia Liukin are among the stars competing on the course for the Red Nose Day special, airing Thursday on NBC.) "The excitement of these ninjas when they're out there competing, you can see the fans on the edge of their seat. At home, you're on the edge of your couch just watching, anticipating greatness right in front of you. Sometimes they make you go, 'What just happened?'" Gbaja-Biamila says.
"American Ninja Warrior brings out a lot of emotion in people because everybody wants to see somebody succeed. That's why you see the crowd cheering after every obstacle because someone just took a step forward in the course and in life," ninja Gabe Stewart sums up perfectly.