Interview: Anthony Storm, Executive Producer of the American Ninja Warrior Megaverse

Anthony Storm smiles facing camera
Anthony Storm photo credit: A. Smith & Co. Productions

Anthony Storm serves as showrunner and executive producer for a variety of A. Smith & Co. programs including the extremely popular NBC Emmy-nominated competition series American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior. In addition, Storm has executive-produced hundreds of hours of documentary and reality programming, including NBC’s Titan Games, NBC’s Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge, Discovery’s SciJinks, ESPN’s Pro Bowl Skills Challenge, TNT’s Dunk King, TVOne’s Celebrity Crime Files, six seasons of UFC Countdown, MyNetworkTV’s IFL Battleground and CMT’s Chainsaw Gang.

Prior to joining A. Smith & Co. in 2006, Anthony served as a supervising producer on ESPN’s Sport Science, FSN’s In Focus and FSN’s The Sports List. He started his career as a Production Assistant for HBO’s Wimbledon coverage, ESPN’s French Open, CBS’s US Open and NBC’s 1992 Summer Olympics. After helping to launch The Golf Channel, Anthony served as a feature and live show producer for Fox Sports News, spearheading coverage from the World Series, NBA Finals, Super Bowls and NCAA Final Fours.

The extremely busy Storm took time out of his work to speak to us about his career, specifically the American Ninja Warrior series.

Jason: Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Anthony Storm: I grew up playing a lot of sports, and like most other kids, dreaming of one day becoming a professional athlete. While in high school, I learned that those ambitions were a bit out of reach and turned to a passion of watching sports rather than participating as a player. My lifelong passion for sports led me to pursue a career in sports television.

Jason: What are some notable projects you worked on and were a part of?

Anthony Storm: I worked on events such as the Olympics, Wimbledon, the World Series, the Super Bowl and more before transitioning into documentary filmmaking where I then worked on projects such as Beyond the Glory. When American Ninja Warrior was picked up by A. Smith & Co. Productions, Arthur Smith approached me to come on board given that the series combines the worlds of sports, television and storytelling into one place.

Jason: What drives you to get up every day and work in Sports Reality TV?

Anthony Storm: I feel like I have the best job in the world—I get to wake up every day and work on different series that positively impact the world and motivate people to push themselves further than they thought possible. American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior celebrate everyday people, and I feel so lucky to have an integral role in telling the competitors’ stories and being a part of such a supportive community.

Jason: What do you look for in a competitor which you feel will make for a remarkable story to tell? For example, Jesse Labreck?

Jesse LaBreck competes in a American Ninja Warrior competition
AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR—Pictured Jesse LaBreck (Photo by Elizabeth Morris NBC)

Anthony Storm: What’s beautiful about the series is that each competitor has a unique story to tell and an individual journey that brought them to the Ninja Warrior course. The bottom line is that all of us are going to hit rough spots in life, and the most impactful stories on American Ninja Warrior are the ones from people who hit rock bottom and used Ninja Warrior to motivate themselves through their hardships.

Jason: Is there a particular competitor who stands out to you?

Anthony Storm: Jesse Labreck has been a remarkable competitor to watch over the years because of her drive and determination. She’s taken her gifts and used them to become one of the highest-achieving competitors ever on American Ninja Warrior. She’s as focused as any athlete competing in any sport, and it’s thrilling to see her take to the course.

Jason: Why in your opinion, is the reason series such as American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior resonate so strongly with audiences?

Anthony Storm: I think one of the big draws of both American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior is that the competitors are everyday people. There’s a good chance you know one of the competitors, or maybe you know someone who knows someone who does. As opposed to professional athletes, competitors on Ninja Warrior are ordinary people; they are plumbers, your daughter’s third grade teacher or the local veterinarian. That really speaks to how accessible the sport is. Kids are able to watch the show and think to themselves ‘that could be me,’ and with drive and motivation, it really can be.

Meagan Martin holds her trophy after competing in American Ninja Warrior
AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR—“Women’s Championship” Pictured: Meagan Martin (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Jason: What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Anthony Storm: I can’t go into too much detail, but we have some exciting projects coming down the pipeline. One thing I can say is that the second season of Floor is Lava, another physical competition series from A. Smith & Co. Productions, is in the works, and we can’t wait to share it. This is another series that lends itself to family viewing and is a lot of fun to watch—you can check out the first season on Netflix now!

Jason: Thanks for taking time to speak with us.

Anthony Storm: My pleasure.

The Peacock Original American Ninja Warrior Junior airs weekly on Thursdays. 

Written by Jason Sheppard

Entertainment reporter living at the end of very cold Canada. Proud owner of a diploma in journalism and just about every CD by John Williams ever released. Favorite directors are Spielberg, Scorsese, Kubrick, Tarantino, Fellini, Lynch and Fincher. Twin Peaks, Sopranos and Six Feet Under are the greatest TV dramas ever crafted and I love 90s sitcoms such as Spin City, Sports Night, Newsradio, Seinfeld and even that one with Deadpool working in the pizza place. Click linkies below to follow me.

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