We sat behind Matt and Akbar, the charismatic co-hosts of American Ninja Warrior, while they called Ninja Warrior runs in Oklahoma City. At each location, the hosts sit in a tower about halfway through the full course. Here's what it's like to be in the tower with them.
There is no script.
All that compelling talk about the Ninja's back story? Matt and Akbar do that on the fly based on the bios and submission videos they've been given. They're constantly flipping through pages of competitor information while getting information from the control booth.
They talk for a minimum of 8 hours a night .
Matt and Akbar talk all night... non-stop. They lose their voices. They need mint tea and green juices to survive. There is a brief "lunch" break in the middle of the night but after that the hosts are back to callings runs. They'll call 130 competitors' runs at each location and film from sunset to sunrise.
One guy's job is to try to keep them on track all night.
He has a fun little cubby so you don't see him, but he's busy keeping track of all the calls made by Matt and Akbar and coordinating any changes with the production team.
Most of their banter doesn't make the final cut.
In between calling the runs, Matt and Akbar are also talking to each other, the producers in the control room, the competitors and fans. Things get nutty as the night goes on. The post production crew has some work to do.
Yes. They are actually that excited.
When a Ninja Warrior makes it up the Warped Wall, it's not a coincidence that they're brought eye-level with Matt and Akbar. Those guys genuinely want to celebrate that success.
Here's a peek into the inner workings of the host tower.