Two strong unscripted series are the first to be placed in NBC’s summer schedule: America’s Got Talent will return on May 31 at 8pm with American Ninja Warrior returning on June 1, also at 8pm according to Variety.
Talent is entering its 11th season and will again showcase Howie Mandel, Mel B, and Heidi Klum as judges, and Nick Cannon as host. Creator Simon Cowell will replace Howard Stern at the judges’ table.
This season will also feature guest hosts and the golden buzzer again. During each week of preliminary judging one regular host is able to invite on a guest host. In season 10 Howard Stern invited Neil Patrick Harris, Heidi Klum invited Michael Buble, Howie Mandel invited Marlon Wayans, and Mel B invited back previous judge Piers Morgan. The guest host controls a golden buzzer, with which they can buzz an act straight through to the live shows, regardless of the other judges’ votes.
Preliminary talent calls have already been held across the U.S. in cities like Detroit, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Atlanta, Orlando, Dallas and more. Online auditions were also accepted. The celebrity judging panels just got under way last week in Pasadena.
Here’s a look at auditions in Dallas this year:
Season 8 of Ninja Warrior will again be hosted by Matt Iseman, former NFL player Akbar Gbajabiamila, and CBS Sports reporter Kristine Leahy. Last season was the first to feature two men who completed all four stages of the Las Vegas based finals. The winner, Isaac Caldiero, was determined by a faster course time and declared the First American Ninja Warrior.
ANW has decidedly benefited from the growth of cross-fit and popularity of obstacle course racing. In 2015 more than 6.5 million people tuned in on average which placed the show 9th in total viewers over the summer season – behind big shows like NCIS and The Big Bang Theory (in repeats), and Big Brother – and 7th in viewers 18-49.
America’s Got Talent has dominated the summer rankings for over a decade though, drawing an average 12.4 million viewers in 2015.
It’s all par for the course for NBC, who has also enjoyed strong ratings during the fall and spring seasons with shows like Blindspot, Chicago Fire, and The Voice mixed with Sunday Night Football. This summer the networks biggest problem may be juggling their top-rated unscripted programming around the Summer Olympics, which they’ll be carrying from Rio.