Fan favorite hosts Matt Iseman & Akbar Gbajabiamila return
Universal Kids, the TV network that playfully celebrates kids’ everyday adventures, has tapped Victoria Arlen, former champion Paralympian swimmer and TV broadcaster, to co-host season two of “American Ninja Warrior Junior” with hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila.
Following the success of season one, this next generation of “American Ninja Warrior” is giving young fans another opportunity to compete in this worldwide phenomenon for a chance to be crowned junior champion. “American Ninja Warrior Junior” production commences in July in Los Angeles, and will premiere in early 2020.
"I am so honored to join the ‘American Ninja Warrior Junior’ family,’ Arlen said. “I’m a longtime fan of ‘American Ninja Warrior’ and I’m excited to co-host alongside the amazingly talented Matt and Akbar. To share and celebrate these remarkable kids' stories is inspiring and a tremendous honor. I can't wait to cheer them on!"
“American Ninja Warrior Junior” shows real kid athletes taking on the iconic course with dedication and skill. More than 140 boy and girl “Junior Ninjas” from across the U.S. will face off on head-to-head courses in three age brackets: 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14. The courses will feature brand-new “Ninja Warrior” obstacles. All-star “ANW” mentors Drew Drechsel, Najee Richardson, Barclay Stockett, Meagan Martin, Grant McCartney and Jessie Graff will mentor each age bracket. Three final winners (one per age bracket) will be crowned “American Ninja Warrior Junior” champions.
"Victoria Arlen exemplifies the 'American Ninja Warrior Junior' spirit," said Arthur Smith, CEO of A. Smith & Co. Productions and executive producer of the “American Ninja Warrior” franchise. "In this brand-new season, she will use her unique voice and life experience to inspire a new generation. Get ready to witness the remarkable feats that kids can accomplish, defying the odds of what is possible and striving to be their best."
About Victoria Arlen
ESPN broadcaster and Paralympian swimmer Arlen defines perseverance. At the age of 11, she developed transverse myelitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, leading her to slip into a vegetative state where she spent four years being written off as a lost cause. In 2010, she began the nearly impossible fight back to life and learned how to speak, eat and move all over again.
Defying the odds, Arlen is fully recovered. She won a gold medal in swimming in the 2012 Paralympic Games before joining ESPN as one of its youngest on-air talents. In 2018, she chronicled her life’s journey in the book “Locked In” and was the subject of the ESPN Films documentary of the same name that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. She also continues to be the face of Jockey, a relationship that also got under way in 2018.
“American Ninja Warrior Junior” was nominated for three Daytime Emmys in 2019: Outstanding Children or Family Viewing Series, Outstanding Daytime Promotional Announcement – Topical, and Outstanding Technical Team.
For more information, visit www.universalkids.com and join the conversation at #ANWJR.