ANW's 6th season is currently being filmed. They've wrapped up Venice, CA, Dallas, and St. Louis. Miami's being filmed Friday and Saturday this weekend (May 2-3), and Denver will be filmed on the 13th and 14th. The show will begin airing on NBC on Monday, May 26 at 9/8 Eastern/Central. It will run into September, and each episode will be two hours.
After about four or five months of chiropractor visits (sciatic nerve pain from a pinched L4, L5, and S1--holy hell that hurts, by the way), a few months shy of two years of exercise and training, and 65 pounds dropped, yes, I got to compete in the qualifiers in Dallas. :)
No, I can't tell you how I or anyone else did (except for anyone they've showed on the commercials, and then I can only repeat what happened in the commercial).
No, there's no guarantee I'll get even a second of airtime (they usually run upwards of 125+ people overnight ALL NIGHT LONG, and that's very difficult to cram into two hours).
No, they didn't actually send me an invitation; I had to go as a walk-on. I arrived and claimed my spot in the walk-on line on a Friday. Eight people were already in line ahead of me (the first guy got there Wednesday). The filming started Monday night after sunset, with some of us not running until the very wee hours of Tuesday morning before sunrise.
Yes, I wore my hat the entire time. Look for me in the Dallas episodes. :)
NBC is (maybe, since it's raining/snowing a bunch right now--but they may still go ahead with the filming) recording Denver's preliminaries and regional finals on the night of the 13th and 14th, if anyone's in the region and feels like showing up.
Civic Center Park: stay on the western side of the park--it's pretty sketchy on the eastern side.
After that, it's the finals in Vegas sometime in June, after the first few episodes of the season have aired.
They still went ahead with the Denver filming, but only 10 of the people in the walk-on line (some of which were there for six days) got to run. There was an hour and a half delay because of ice on obstacles. My sympathies for the walk-ons and also anyone that fell in the water in those sorts of temperatures.
A US adaptation of a Japanese obstacle show, lacking the standard absurdity. Unlike Wipeout, performance depends solely on the competitor, not silly "gotcha" traps.
If you have Esquire, they're rerunning the countdown show tomorrow at 7/6 Eastern/Central before they rerun the Venice competition. Monday next week will be Dallas, so if I end up getting more than the 2.5 seconds I got tonight, they'll all be there.
My wife found a video of the countdown show on NBC.com, if you can tolerate the occasional commercial that you can't fast-forward... Countdown show. I'm in the striped shirt and oh so fashionable beard-hat combination around 13:29-13:32 where the main announcer's saying, "... they've spent days off from work and nights away from their families, just hoping to get a shot at the course." Hard to miss me--they put the camera right up in front of me.
It gives a pretty good overview of the series (despite a few errors--there was no "Dallas Qualifiers 2013." That lady they're highlighting ran in Denver [I was there as a walk-on, but didn't get to run myself, but I saw her make it to the warped wall]), as well as introducing a few of the bigger name competitors. Michelle Warnky's as awesome in person as on video. She drove to Denver last year just to hang out with the walk-ons and competitors (she was invited to Baltimore) and brought Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and some other game I don't remember to keep us from going completely crazy after days in line. Then after the competition, she drove three of us to a parkour gym with a cliffhanger replica and made us all feel inadequate. :P
The Dallas episode's going to be airing Monday at 9/8 Eastern/Central, and it seems like there's a good chance I'll get at least a few seconds.
Dang, they didn't show me and about 40-50 other people at all, including the guy that got the third fastest time.
The editing was a bit silly as usual. The guy that supposedly ran "last" according to the show actually ran before me, so Brent Steffensen was out of the top 30 long before the end of the night. (You could actually hear audience members chanting, "Beat the Wall!" for another competitor while they were interviewing Brent about not making it through qualifiers, so you know that "last" run they just showed wasn't the last run.)
Now that it's aired, I can give my results. After four days in line, poor sleep, and then sitting in the waiting area next to the course from around 8:00 until nearly 2:00 in the morning, I went out on the fourth of the quintuple steps (which, believe it or not, puts me ahead of some Olympic athletes and about a dozen others from the Venice qualifiers). I'd actually expected to go out on either the Tilting Table or the Ring Toss
I actually have a replica of the steps in my backyard, and they're spaced a fair bit further apart than the official ones. I was extremely shocked to fail there.
Since they don't send Americans to Japan anymore, the finals on the Midoriyama replica in Vegas pretty much are the "Olympics." They just also show the qualification rounds as well, likely because of how many people attempt them (and because they're quite a bit more interesting than what passes for qualifiers in Sasuke).
Drew Dreschel this year was a special request due to completely dominating the ASEAN Sasuke Cup, and it sounds like it was still tough for TBS to get NBC to agree to let him compete.