We know how many. We just don't know who. NBC tells me that 13 contestants from the Cincinnati American Ninja Warrior finals airing Monday will advance to the four-week national finals in Las Vegas where the winner gets $1 million.
Who are the 13? We'll find out 8-10 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, when NBC broadcasts the Cincinnati finals taped Memorial Day weekend. It was shot the night after filming the Cincinnati auditions broadcast July 8.
NBC has released photographs of 26 contestants, which can be seen in the photo gallery at the top of this story. Half of them are headed to Vegas! (NBC promos also say that "history will be made" during the Cincinnati finals, something that never happened on the show before.)
In alphabetical order, they are: Mike Bernardo, Jonathan Cooley, Jeri D'Aurelio, Chris DiGangi, Christopher Gabayan, Sem Garay, Phillip Hucke, Jesse Labreck, Grant McCartney, Brandon Mears, Cameron Nave, Amanda O'Dell, Reese Pankratz, Derrick Pavoni, Dan Polizzi, Dustin Rocho, Jamie Ross, Eddie Russell, Philip Scott, Tyler Smith, Michael Torres, Jackson Twait, Michelle Warnky, Jesse Wildman, David Womelsdorf and Mike Wright.
When the two-hour episode was taped May 25, producers had a list of 31 contestants. That means five people are not being promoted by NBC, and quite possibly won't be seen (or seen much) on the show.
About 90 contestants will be in Las Vegas for NBC's finals airing consecutive Mondays starting Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. (Channel 5). The $1-million winner will be revealed Sept. 16.
Here is NBC's description for the Aug. 26 episode:
American Ninja Warrior returns to Las Vegas for night one of the National Finals – a four-week TV event where the season's top competitors attempt to conquer all four stages of the world's toughest obstacle course. Stage one will feature eight grueling obstacles, including "Roulette Row" and "Diving Boards" which are new to the course, and must be completed in less than 2:30 in order to advance to stage two. Finalists vie for a $1 million prize and the title of "American Ninja Warrior." Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila host and Zuri Hall reports from the sidelines.
Here's a link to my story about the taping, "My Night With Ninja Warriors."