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American Ninja Warrior introduces a new walk-on format for season 11

Weeks and weeks of waiting in line is a thing of past.

Bill McCay/NBC

American Ninja Warrior has introduced a new format for its walk-on line just a little over a week before the Los Angeles taping for season 11.

In a post on Facebook, A.Deign and Co, the casting company that works on Ninja Warrior, announced the new rules.

“Hello #Ninjas! The Walk-on line for #ANW season 11 is near!

This season, in an effort to provide people who can’t take weeks away from work a chance to run the course, we’re adopting a lottery system! Anyone interested in walking on the ANW course is invited to meet Production at a predetermined time and location to be announced approximately one week in advance. Everyone that is on location by the announced time will write their name on a slip of paper or ticket, as provided by Production. Production will randomly select 20 names. The winners will be selected as the Walk-ons and will be invited to compete in the order that their names are selected.

This season, Production does not anticipate being able to accommodate more than 15 Walk-ons in each city. If someone who has one of the 20 selected numbers chooses not to run the course, the next number will slide into that spot. If your name is not selected or you are selected but don’t get the opportunity to compete you are eligible to apply to be a walk-on in upcoming cities. The “selected” numbers are nontransferable.

We’re hoping that the new system creates a level playing ground for applicants from all areas of the country and all walks of life and gives everyone an equal opportunity to get a chance to run the course. We are relying on our #Ninja community to continue in a positive manner so that we may allow for walk-ons in future city qualifiers.

The location does not permit overnight “camping”. There can be no loitering. Trespassing laws will be enforced. Any persons found to deliberately attempt to circumvent this process will be indefinitely disqualified from competing at any current or future #AmericanNinjaWarrior location. There will be no exceptions and any violations could result in the disbanding of the walk-on line

#Goodluck We’ll post Los Angeles #Walkon info soon!”

Previously, the walk-on lines were a bit of a self-governed entity. In each taping city, hopefuls would line up weeks and weeks in advance, with whoever was there first starting “the line.” This was a challenging process for many athletes. It meant needing to potentially take weeks off from work, traveling long distances, arranging your schedule to make check-ins, and still not being sure if you’d get a chance at the course.

The new process simplifies that. Prior to each taping, production will announce a day and time for walk-ons to gather. They’ll put their names in a hat and 20 names will be randomly selected. That’s the walk-on line for that city.

Walk-ons are run before, during, and after the “cast” athletes (the Ninjas who got a phone call and guaranteed spot to compete). That’s why the post eludes to not being able to run all 20 walk-ons. If production is slowed down for any reason, technical or weather related, the walk-ons can be cut to save time for the guaranteed competitors.

(While it might sound like a cut back, from our on-set experiences, it was rare for more than 15 walk-ons to make it on the course even with the old system.)

While this is a big shake up, as the walk-on lines have been mostly left to their own devices for the past seasons, it does come with many advantages. Athletes only need to travel to the location about a week in advance. They don’t need to worry about being the very first in line. There are no check-ins during the day they have to make it back for. They don’t need to worry about not being in peak physical form because they’ve been away from home and training for days and days.

While, this way, you are playing the odds, it is one and done. You know right away, either way, and you can adjust your schedule accordingly. As the post states, if you aren’t selected in one city, you’re still welcome to travel to another location.

What do you think about the new process? Do you have questions about it? Leave them in the comments section below and we’ll see if we can find answers for you!