The series 'moved heaven and earth" to film safely during COVID-19, co-host Matt Iseman says in EW's exclusive preview.


One thing we can count on, pandemic or not, is feeling both inspired and out of shape after watching the incredible athletic feats on American Ninja Warrior.

And while the show had to "move heaven and earth" to safely film the new season during COVID-19, it's looking like ANW will still feature all the enthralling stunts and physical achievements we know and love. EW has an exclusive first look, above, at the new rules and challenges fans can look forward to in season 12 of NBC's competition series.

"This year is so different than any other year. First of all, just to get here, we had to move heaven and earth and always the thought was 'How do we do this safely?' " co-host Matt Iseman, alongside co-host Akbar Gbajabiamila, says in the teaser.

The super-safe "ninja bubble" takes place inside the Dome at America's Center in St. Louis. And this year, the top 50 athletes will form teams with people from their own communities. In the clip, we meet contestants from all walks of life, including a frontline worker and a team of three moms, who will vie for the $100,000 prize.

Credit: Elizabeth Morris/NBC

The season will feature an abridged format with three rounds of competition. To determine the winner during the finals, the top eight ninjas will compete in a playoff bracket where they will race head-to-head on the Power Tower. Along with Iseman and Gbajabiamila hosting, Zuri Hall will report from the sidelines.

The upcoming installment will also include new courses like Weight For It and Ring Chaser, which, as you can see in the preview, looks far from a walk in the park.

"The course is constantly changing. I think at some point, we're gonna see ninjas fly," Gbajabiamila says.

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

With ANW coming back, the hosts and athletes all say it's a much-needed opportunity for audiences to enjoy themselves and feel uplifted.

"We have a platform where we can really make a difference here," says competitor Najee Richardson. "Hopefully watching this show and all of us coming back and doing what we love to do, will bring hope to a lot of people that good time are on the way."

Season 12 of American Ninja Warrior premieres Monday, Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Related content:

American Ninja Warrior
  • TV Show
  • 6
  • NBC