With so many different kinds of reality competition series on TV nowadays, it can be easy to get caught up in who wins each season instead of focusing on what the competitors are achieving just by showing up. And that’s what sets “American Ninja Warrior” apart from the rest.
Returning for Season 6 on Monday (May 26), the extreme obstacle course competition has yet to produce a winner — that is, someone that is able to successfully complete the four-stage course modeled after the infamous Mt. Midoriyama (based on the Japanese television series “Sasuke”) after first completing a qualifying round. Competitors must tackle ten obstacles in the qualifying round, including three brand new obstacles: The Slack Ladder, the Jumping Bars Into Cargo and the Cannonball Alley.
But according to executive producer Kent Weed, winning is not the most important part of the show. Weed explained his reasoning when Zap2it visited the “American Ninja Warrior” course when it stopped in Venice, CA in March for a qualifying round.
“It’s the stories of the people that separates us [from other reality shows],” Weed says. “How people overcome adversity to achieve their goals, whether they’re doing it for a friend who’s ill, a mother that had breast cancer or whether it’s a personal achievement they’re trying to overcome like weight loss, beating drugs or alcohol. It’s personal human achievement and it’s something that audiences can identity with.”
Both Weed and host Matt Iseman referred to “American Ninja Warrior” several times as “the serious version of ‘Wipeout,'” with heartwarming stories that audiences will be able to relate to rather than laugh at. Plus, there’s the added bonus of seeing athletes that have been training all year long conquer the extreme obstacles in the hopes of finally producing the first winner — although fans will still be cheering for the competitors regardless of whether or not someone takes home the cash prize $500,000.
This season, “American Ninja Warrior” will travel to five cities for qualifying rounds: Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis, Miami and Denver, before heading to Las Vegas for the finals.
Watch the promo for the premiere below:
“American Ninja Warrior” Season 6 premieres Monday (May 26) at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.