*For the second year in a row “American Ninja Warrior” has been nominated for a Reality TV Competition Emmy.
Yesterday, NBC celebrated for the heart-racing obstacle-course competing show at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood, where EUR correspondent Fahnia Thomas sat down with host Akbar Gbajabiamila and Kevin Bull to dish on ninja kids and ‘isms.
Q: How do you create your Akbar-isms?
Akbar Gbajabiamila: I went to public school so some of my education wasn’t the greatest…But I call it “midnight intoxication.” Sometimes we’re taping the show at two or three o’clock in the morning. If you watch closely, you’ll see there is the buttoned up Akbar and then after a while, I just say whatever comes to my mind. It might not be grammatically correct but who cares I went to public school. It just comes out and it may not make sense but somehow it magically works for the show.
Q: What do your kids think about the “American Ninja Warrior?”
Akbar Gbajabiamila: They love this show…They walk around saying, “dad, watch this! Dad, watch this! Dad, watch this!”…And then they’re climbing on the couches and door frames. Ninja gives kids the ability to dream and to see beyond the impossible.
Q: How is “American Ninja Warrior” different from other competition shows?
Akbar Gbajabiamila: The show does a really good job of capturing everyone’s story. Viewers get to learn and invest in every run. When you watch professional sports you don’t really get to know all of the athletes. With Ninja, you get to know the athlete and their story. You either know the person or you can relate to the person.
Also, Ninja creates a discussion. One of the things humans have in common is we all want to matter to someone. It’s a primal need. One of the biggest ways is through our unique personal story. Ninja reaches depth. When I see my five year-old having an emotional response to a story from a 60 second package, I’m amazed. It opens people up to have a discussion. For the six years I’ve been on the show, I don’t think anyone knew my father had Parkinson’s until one of the other competitors sharedtheir story.
Watch “American Ninja Warrior” Mondays at 8/7c on NBC.