American Ninja Warrior Producers Prep New Competition Show for NBC

Michael Schneider
NBC

Step aside, ninja warriors. Next up, NBC's looking for a team of Spartans.

The network has ordered Spartan Race, a team competition show from A. Smith & Co., the producers behind summer hit American Ninja Warrior. This time, instead of just one person tackling an obstacle course, Spartan Race will pit teams of five (consisting of friends, families or co-workers) against each other. The teams–two men, two women and one "elite Spartan athlete"–will battle through specially designed courses to test their endurance.

Casting is underway for the series (go here for more info), but NBC has not yet determined an episodic order or an airdate.

Spartan Race will be executive produced by A. Smith & Co. founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed (Hell’s Kitchen, Unsung, Ellen's Design Challenge), along with Anthony Storm.

Spartan Race is based on pre-existing races already held in more than 20 countries. NBC Sports and NBCSN already have a deal to air Reebok Spartan Race Elite Series, featuring athletes competing for $500,000 in cash and prizes and the title of 2015 Reebok Spartan Race World Champion. NBC Sports and NBCSN is airing six Reebok Spartan Race telecasts this year; the events include challenges such as fire jumps, aerial traverses over water, rope climbs and barbed wire crawls.

"The NBC version of Spartan Race will be the quintessential team competition," Smith says. "Instead of docu-coverage, it’ll look more like a live sporting event—the show is reformatted for primetime. Although it is authentically Spartan, it’s a reimagining of what Spartan Race can look like for primetime television.”

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