ANW Sets Premiere for Pandemic-Shortened Season 12
While the rest of us continue to make human-sized dents in our couch cushions during quarantine, a new crop of American Ninja Warrior athletes are about to show us up. NBC’s competition series will be back for Season 12 on Monday, Sept. 7 at 8/7c, TVLine has learned. The season will kick off with a two-hour premiere. Production on the new season took place at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, making American Ninja Warrior the first NBC series to complete a full season during the coronavirus pandemic. But due to the ongoing global health crisis, Season 12 will only consist of eight episodes, which is about half the length of a typical cycle. The upcoming episodes will feature an abridged format with multiple rounds: qualifiers (which include a six-obstacle course), semifinals (a 10-obstacle course) and finals (a 10-obstacle course, plus a playoff bracket where the top eight competitors will race head-to-head on the Power Tower). The top 50 athletes will bring along two people from their communities to compete with them, totaling 150 players competing for a $100,000 prize. American Ninja Warrior recently made headlines for a more unfortunate reason: Earlier this month, the show severed ties with Season 11 champion Drew Drechsel after he was charged with multiple child sex crimes, including the manufacturing of child pornography and enticement of a minor to travel for illicit sexual conduct. “We are shocked and disturbed to learn about the charges alleged against Drew Drechsel,” NBC said in a statement at the time. “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. Moving forward, the American Ninja Warrior brand will sever all ties with Mr. Drechsel, including his appearance on future seasons of the show.” Sources tell TVLine that Drechsel has been edited out of the coming run.