Universal Kids has ordered the first kids version of NBC’s two-time Emmy-nominated competition series American Ninja Warrior.
Scheduled to premiere on the NBCUniversal-owned channel this October, American Ninja Warrior Junior will see Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila (pictured) reprise their roles as hosts as they guide 200 young competitors in head-to-head challenges. The series will feature kid-sized versions of iconic American Ninja Warrior obstacles including Sonic Swing, Tic Toc, Spin Cycle and the Warped Wall.
Girls and boys will compete together, and the format is open to three age groups—nine to 10, 11 to 12, and 13 to 14.
A. Smith & Co. Productions’ American Ninja Warrior is based on Tokyo Broadcasting System Television’s original Japanese series Sasuke, which is currently in its 35th season. In partnership with Universal Kids, American Ninja Warrior Junior is executive produced by A. Smith founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed (Hell’s Kitchen, NFL Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, Unsung) along with Matt Cahoon.
The series adds to Universal Kids’ growing slate of competition shows, which now include Top Chef Junior, Beat the Clock, The Noise and recently greenlit The Big Fun Crafty Show. Investment in competition series for kids is also rising across the board as linear and digital platforms look to maximize opportunities around co-viewing in the living room.