Universal Kids jumps for junior Ninja Warrior

Universal Kids jumps for junior Ninja Warrior

NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment-owned network Universal Kids will launch the first-ever children’s version of competition format American Ninja Warrior later this year.

American Ninja Warrior Junior will debut in October and will be fronted by the hosts of the adult version, Matt Iseman, and Akbar Gbajabiamila.

In the new series, almost 200 boys and girls will compete together on the same courses, featuring obstacles such as the ‘sonic swing’ and the ‘warped wall.’ The competition will be open to three age groups: 9-10s, 11-12s, and 13-14s.

The series is executive produced by A Smith & Co-Productions founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed (Hell’s Kitchen), along with Matt Cahoon.

American Ninja Warrior, which airs in the US on NBC and is also produced by A Smith & Co, is based on the hit format Sasuke from Tokyo Broadcasting System Television in Japan, where it is now in its 35th season.

“We know that American Ninja Warrior resonates with families, but we also know kids want to see themselves reflected on screen,” said Deirdre Brennan, general manager of Universal Kids.

“The opportunity to tap into this incredible franchise, creating a version exclusively for kids, is tremendous and really delivers on our investment in big-brand, innovative content.”

The commission follows Universal Kids’ recent acquisition of a host of DreamWorks Animation titles and the commission of its first original comedy for kids.