'American Ninja Warrior' to air first-ever celebrity special, including Derek Hough, Stephen Amell, Erika Christensen, Mena Suvari
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/05/2017
American Ninja Warrior will air its first-ever celebrity special as part of NBC's Red Nose Day charity television event next month.
NBC has announced Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day will air on Thursday, May 25 at 8PM ET/PT, and feature nine stars attempting to tackle the obstacle course.
Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila will serve as hosts of the show, along with Kristine Leahy as co-host.
The participating celebrities will be longtime Dancing with the Stars pro and upcoming World of Dance judge Derek Hough, Arrow actor Stephen Amell, Parenthood actress Erika Christensen, Better Late Than Never actor Jeff Dye, two-time Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser star Nikki Glaser, Today and Access Hollywood journalist Natalie Morales, former New York Yankees outfielder and Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge participant Nick Swisher, and American Woman actress Mena Suvari.
Each of the celebrities will be paired with "an elite ninja," according to the network, who will serve as both a coach and cheerleader, helping them prepare mentally and physically for their run from the floating steps to the warped wall.
Each celebrity must face up to six challenging obstacles that will test his or her upper body strength, agility and stamina.
The ninja advisers are as follows: Kevin Bull coaching Eaton, Kacy Catanzaro assisting Amell, Drew Drechsel helping Swisher, Natalie Duran advising Suvari, Daniel Gil coaching Hough, Jessie Graff assisting Glaser, Grant McCartney helping Morales, Meagan Martin advising Dye, and Flip Rodriguez coaching Christensen.
Red Nose Day, which launched in America two years ago, is a long-running annual U.K. campaign that uses the power of entertainment to raise money and awareness for children living in poverty.
The American Ninja Warrior special is part of NBC's initiative to raise money on Red Nose Day by calling viewers to action to donate throughout three hours of special primetime programming on May 25.
Following Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day at 8PM ET/PT, NBC will air a reality TV special starring Academy-Award winning actress Julia Roberts -- Running Wild with Bear Grylls for Red Nose Day at 9PM ET/PT. Roberts and Grylls will travel to Nairobi, Kenya and deliver vaccines to a community in need.
NBC will then air its third annual The Red Nose Day Special hosted by comedian and actor Chris Hardwick at 10PM ET/PT. The special will feature comedy, musical performances, documentaries, and a short film sequel to the hit movie Love Actually.
The short film from writer-director Richard Curtis is called Red Nose Day Actually and will star the original Love Actually cast, who reunited for the cause. Additional talent for The Red Nose Day Special will be announced at a later date.