NBC continues its tradition of hit summer TV shows with the return of two huge favorites and two brand new shows:
America’s Got Talent
The 10th season of the unique national talent show that is larger than life will return on May 31 at 8:00 p.m. While Howard Stern stepped down from judging duties from the NBC show, his chair will be taken by former American Idol “mean” judge and executive producer of the show, Simon Cowell. He, of course, will sit alongside Heidi Klum, Mel B., and Howie Mandel. Nick Cannon will be on hand to emcee as well.
Last year, America’s Got Talent continued the tradition of being NBC’s and the summer’s No. 1 TV show for the tenth year in a row. The show’s past 10 winners are:
- Season 10: Paul Zerdin (ventriloquist)
- Season 9: Mat Franco (magician)
- Season 8: Kenichi Ebina (unique dance performance)
- Season 7: Olate Dogs (dog show routine with Richard Olate and his son Nicholas)
- Season 6: Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. (jazz singer)
- Season 5: Michael Grimm (soul singer)
- Season 4: Kevin Skinner (country singer)
- Season 3: Neal E. Boyd (pop singer)
- Season 2: Terry Factor (ventriloquist)
- Season 1: 11-year-old Bianca Ryan (singer)
Maya and Marty
Little is known about this new NBC variety show created by executive producer Lorne Michaels (Saturday Night Live) other than it stars Maya Rudolph and Martin Short. NBC says that the show will be a blend of musical numbers, comedy sketches, and celebrity guests into “one jam-packed hour of primetime TV” which sounds eerily similar to last summer’s over-ambitious Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris which didn’t fare so well.
Both Rudolph and Short got their start on Saturday Night Live and both have gone on to other TV show projects and movies including The Maya Rudolph Show variety show special which aired in 2014 and was also produced by Lorne Michaels.
American Ninja Warrior
American Ninja Warrior returns for an eighth season beginning June 1 at 8:00 p.m. Based on the similar Japanese show Sasuke, the NBC show will once again be hosted by former NFL player Akbar Gbajabiamila (NFL Network) and co-host Kristine Leahy (CBS Sports).
It took the seventh season of the NBC show before an actual winner was crowned for completing all four stages of the course including reaching the top of Mt. Midoriyama. Last season, Isaac Caldiero was able to do so in 26.14 seconds and was the first ever winner of the $1 million grand prize.
For the eighth season, hundreds of competitors, some trying out after failing year, will test their skills to see if they have what it takes to become the next American Ninja Warrior. The show will feature new obstacles as well as broadcast from several new cities including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, and Philadelphia before heading to Las Vegas for the stunning four-stage obstacle course known as Mt. Midoriyama.
Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge
From the producers of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior comes the new team obstacle course competition series inspired by the Spartan Race. In a press release, NBC says, “Groups of friends, families, co-workers and more must work together as they race across specially designed Spartan courses engineered to test their determination, endurance and will. Teams of five will compete on one the most demanding courses ever devised and will have to push through the pain to win $250,000.”
Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge will run for seven weeks beginning on June 13 at 10:00 p.m. The show looks both grueling and a lot of fun to watch as no group will make it over the finish line without working together as a team. The show is executive produced by A. Smith & Co Productions (Hell’s Kitchen) and stars former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones and former L.A. Galaxy star Kyle Martino. NBC news anchor MJ Acosta and TV host and “ninja” contestant Evan Dollard serve as course reporters.
[Photo courtesy of NBC]