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Season 12 of American Ninja Warrior will feature several big format changes

You might have missed this info in the excitement of the premiere announcement.

Dennis Mong/NBC

When American Ninja Warrior announced its return earlier this week, we were all overjoyed to get the news. The obvious highlight of the announcement was that season 12 would debut on Monday, September 7 at 8pm EST/PST on NBC.

In all the excitement, it was easy to overlook that a ton of other information snuck into that press release. Season 12 of American Ninja Warrior will be drastically different from anything we’ve seen before. In case you missed it, here are some highlights of those upcoming changes.

  • The season will be shorter.
    Season 12 will be eight episodes long. Generally the season lasts about 15-16 episodes.

  • There was no “tour” this year.
    All of the episodes were filmed in St. Louis, MO inside the Dome at America’s Center.

  • The pool of competitors was much smaller.
    Only about 150 Ninjas were invited to St. Louis. Generally, somewhere around 600 Ninjas get to attempt the course each season.

  • Yes, that’s because of the pandemic.
    The show took extensive precautions to protect the Ninjas and the crew. Staying in one place with a tight-knit group of people was a part of that.

  • 50 top American Ninja Warriors were invited.
    They were each joined by two community members to take on the course with them. A community member could be an existing Ninja, or a rookie.

  • The Ninjas will advance through Qualifiers, Semi-finals, and Finals.
    The Qualifiers will be courses with six obstacles. The Semi-Finals will be 10-obstacle courses. The Finals will also include a 10-obstacle course but...

  • The Finals will culminate in a playoff bracket with races on the Power Tower.
    The top eight athletes will then race head-to-head on the Power Tower.

  • The Last Ninja Standing receives $100,000.
    With no National Finals, Total Victory and the $1 million prize is off the table this year.

  • That’s not all, folks!
    There are more changes included in season 12. We’ll tell you about them as we’re able to reveal them!

Season 12 of American Ninja Warrior premieres on September 7 at 8pm EST/PST on NBC.