“American Ninja Warrior,” the cult hit that spent an April weekend filming in Kansas City, will kick off/climb up/swing into its seventh season Monday (7 p.m. on NBC).
That first two-hour episode will feature contestants in Venice, Calif., the first of five cities the competition show is visiting this year.
The Kansas City qualifying round, shot April 17 in front of Union Station, will air the second week, on June 1. Reportedly 116 athletes, including several walk-ons, tried their luck on the tough “Ninja Warrior” obstacle course that Friday night.
As for the much smaller group that made it to the KC city finals the following night, no word yet from NBC when that episode will air.
Among the 116 ninjas who competed at Union Station were at least eight from the Kansas City area: college students, an elementary physical education teacher and a Kansas City police sergeant/part-time magician.
And there was “classy ninja” Donovan Metoyer, a local Walgreens shift leader/manager who also appeared on Seasons 5 and 6. His shtick is running the course in a suit.
What’s the appeal of the show?
“No American has conquered it, that’s one thing,” Metoyer told us, referring to the Las Vegas finals that should result in one champion American Ninja Warrior but never has. (This year the grand prize has been bumped up from $500,000 to $1 million.)
“And people like to see people fail for some reason. It’s just human nature.”
“Ninja Warrior” is still filming its Season 7 episodes, by the way. It’s in the Pittsburgh area this weekend. On June 5-6, a special all-military episode will be filmed near the U.S.S. Iowa battleship museum in San Pedro, Calif. That should air around the Fourth of July.
The Vegas finals, expected to include 15 or so successful competitors from the Kansas City course, are slated to be shot June 26-28.
If you miss an episode on NBC, catch it in reruns on the Esquire network.