Matt Iseman: With ‘American Ninja Warrior,’ ‘You see more success than on any other show’
Matt Iseman believes that when you watch “American Ninja Warrior,” “You see more success than on any other show,” even though all but one of the many participants over the years “has fallen.” Now in its 10th season, this NBC reality competition series features contestants navigating a wide variety of obstacle courses. Though very few are able to complete the daunting path, “just about everyone who comes on the course can feel like they’ve won in a different way.” Iseman has hosted the show since Season 2, working alongside former NFL star Akbar Gbajabiamila since 2013. Watch our exclusive video interview with Iseman above.
Most contestants on “American Ninja Warrior” have had to overcome some form of adversity, whether it’s a woman who survived stage 3 breast cancer or a man who shed 75 pounds to improve his health. Although they may fall in the first round, these players have “already won the biggest victory” of their lives simply by making it on. “By showing up, so many people have proven so much,” Iseman divulges. “That’s the thing I think people at home can identify with.”
Iseman started out as a doctor before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in standup comedy. He won a Daytime Emmy for the home makeover show “Clean House” (Best Special Class Special in 2010), which he appeared on from 2006-2011. He previously hosted the game shows “Scream Play” and “Casino Night.”
“American Ninja Warrior” premiered on the now-defunct cable station G4 before moving to NBC. It broke through at the Emmys in its eighth season, contending for Best Reality Competition Program two years in a row (2016 and 2017), losing both times to “The Voice.” It also contended at the PGA Awards for Best Reality Competition Series in 2017 and 2018, where it also lost to “The Voice.”
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