Matt Iseman, co-host of "American Ninja Warrior" came to Atlanta in March to shoot an audition episode, which aired on June 5, 2019.
Photo: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
Photo: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

‘American Ninja Warrior’ in Atlanta

Originally posted Friday, June 7, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog



It’s unfortunate that sometimes I do a set visit, then months later, I forget to write about it. That’s what happened with NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior.” My apologies to NBC. But at least I can post some of the highlights now on YouTube. 

The show came to Atlanta in March for one of the audition episodes, which aired this past Wednesday. I only now realized, two days after the fact that I didn’t post my pictures and interviews from that day. It was in the Home Depot Backyard space next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

I arrived at around 8 p.m. and rain had delayed the start of production. I interviewed both hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila and spied Kim Zolciak and her family doing an on-set visit as well.

"American Ninja Warrior" host Matt Iseman talks to 11Alive about the upcoming season.
Photo: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
Kim Zolciak and several of her family members did a set visit of "American Ninja Warrior" while I was there. Here they are talking to Matt Iseman.
Photo: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
One of the contestants shows off his handstand technique before competing.
A dance troupe from Omega Psi Phi provided entertainment before the start of taping of "American Ninja Warrior" in Atlanta in March, 2019.
Photo: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
Photo: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
This wheel is easily the toughest part of the first round of "American Ninja Warrior" in Atlanta.
Photo: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Before the start of taping, the producers taped crowd reaction shots that could be inserted in after the fact. They had to cheer, say “ooh” and sound disappointed. They also chanted “Beat that wall!” 

I then watched some of the action as several contestants tried to get through the initial obstacles. Some had cute little openers. One dude did a handstand. Another brought cheerleaders. A third had his pecs dance. 

But the launch tarp they stood on before they began was damp from the rain and several of the players complained because their wet sneakers were making it harder to go through the course properly.

So after about six players competed, production stopped. Crew reinstalled a brand new pad from scratch and each of those players got a second chance. Several crew members also hand dried each block and step on the course. 

By then, it was well past 10 p.m. so I decided to go home. I don’t think I saw anything that ended up on air. But I know they shot all night long, bringing in hundreds of fans to watch every two hours.

Jim Garemore of Ocala FL drove five hours to see his friend RJ Roman compete. Roman did end up making it past the intial round.
"American Ninja Warrior" set from the vantage point of where the fans entered the space.

I do regret missing this:

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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