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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media — comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Contact John at

NBC's 'American Ninja Warrior' Filming Here In May

Courtesy NBCUniversal

Guess who's coming to Taste of Cincinnati?  NBC's American Ninja Warrior fans!

Producers for the reality TV competition will construct their obstacle courses on Second Street for 10 days in May, overlapping with the annual Taste of Cincinnati food festival Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27) on Fifth Street.

Film Cincinnati said Thursday the city will host an American Ninja Warrior qualifying round May 18-27 for the upcoming 11th season on Second Street, between Race and Walnut streets, in front of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The Reds are on the road that week. 

Cincinnati has never hosted the popular NBC series.

Credit Courtesy NBCUniversal
Chris Wilczewski competes in the Las Vegas finals broadcast Sept. 10, 2018.

"We were thrilled to learn that Film Cincinnati is bringing 'American Ninja Warrior' to the area during Taste of Cincinnati, May 25-27. The Chamber is eager to learn about potential partnerships and believe that each event will benefit from the other," says Rich Walburg, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber communications director.

The announcement came six weeks after the Jan. 2 application deadline for this season. Ticket information for season 11 has not yet been posted at the show's ticket site.

The national winner receives $1 million.

Baltimore also will host a regional competition for the 11th season. The final again will be in Las Vegas.

Last year ANW taped rounds in Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Dallas, Miami and Los Angeles before heading to Las Vegas for the finals broadcast Sept. 10. The series aired Monday nights last summer.

Credit NBCUniversal
Drew Dreschel won the #1-million prize in Las Vegas last year.

Here's the Film Cincinnati release:

NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” Coming to Cincinnati

Film Cincinnati brings reality show to downtown

CINCINNATI (For Immediate Release) – “American Ninja Warrior,” NBC’s hit reality show featuring top athletes tackling a challenging obstacle course, will bring its production to the streets of Cincinnati this May to stage a qualifying round for its upcoming season.

Film Cincinnati has been working with the “Ninja” production staff, city and county officials for months to find a suitable site for the obstacle course, which will be set up along Second Street from Race Street to Walnut Street downtown. Production is scheduled to last 10 days, from May 18-27, with the Cincinnati shoot featuring four hours of primetime exposure on NBC.

“We could not be more excited to have ‘American Ninja Warrior’ come to downtown Cincinnati and show off the city to the entire country,” said Kristen Schlotman, executive director of Film Cincinnati. “The show has such a tremendous following and we’re honored to have the ninjas and their fans come to town.”

“American Ninja Warrior is an incredible opportunity to showcase Cincinnati on primetime television” said Mayor John Cranley. “Their selection of our city gives strong testament to the resurgence of Cincinnati, the vibrancy of our people, and the economic opportunity we have worked to build together. I look forward to witnessing the impact this will bring downtown.”

“This is a spectacular addition to the fun happening in and around the ballpark this summer. The dynamic presence of American Ninja Warrior provides another exciting reason for our fans throughout Reds Country to extend their stay in Cincinnati,” said Reds President and Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini. “Our city welcomes national phenomena such as this in ways that make even viewers at home feel our energy.”

Cincinnati is one of six cities chosen for this season’s qualifying rounds, with the finals to be held in Las Vegas. At previous stops around the country, the production is estimated to have a $7.5 million economic impact for the area. As many as 70 local crew members will be hired for the production.

About “American Ninja Warrior”

"American Ninja Warrior" returns for its 11th season this summer and its eighth full season on NBC.

The action-packed series follows competitors in both city qualifying and city finals rounds across the country. Those who successfully complete the finals course in their designated region move on to the national finals round in Las Vegas, where they face a stunning four-stage course modeled after the famed Mt. Midoriyama course in Japan. The winner will take home a grand prize of $1 million. 

About Film Cincinnati

Film Cincinnati, celebrating its 32st year in 2019, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to attracting, promoting and cultivating film, television and commercial production throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Since its beginning in 1987, Film Cincinnati has brought hundreds of films to Greater Cincinnati, plus thousands of commercials, music videos, documentaries and industrials. Learn more at

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.