“Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day” returns with a star studded line up as a part of NBC’s fourth annual Red Nose Day celebration on Thursday, May 24 (8-9 p.m. ET/PT). With “American Ninja Warrior” hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila at the helm alongside Kristine Leahy as co-host, the show will feature celebrities from all walks of entertainment as they attempt to overcome the famed obstacle course. For the first time, host Akbar Gbajabiamila will take on the course he has seen so many ninjas face, all to support Red Nose Day and its mission to end child poverty. Additionally, Derek Hough (“World of Dance”), Grammy Award winner NE-YO (“World of Dance”), WWE Star Nikki Bella, Colton Dunn (“Superstore”), Scott Evans (“Access”), Olympic gold medallist Nastia Liukin and Gregg Sulkin (“Runaways”) will all compete in the name of charity.
Elite ninjas will return to support and mentor their partner as they take on the physical and mental challenges of the course. Kevin BULL (coaching Akbar), Drew Drechsel (coaching NE-YO), Natalie Duran (coaching Colton), Meagan Martin (coaching Derek), Grant McCartney (coaching Nikki), Flip Rodriguez (coaching Scott), Barclay Stockett (coaching Nastia) and Maggie Thorne (coaching Gregg) will help the celebrities through a gruelling set of obstacles including the floating steps, the spinning bridge and the iconic warped wall.
“Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day” at 8 p.m. will kick off the evening followed by a special edition of “Hollywood Game Night” at 9 p.m., featuring Emmy-winning host Jane Lynch and some of the biggest names in entertainment competing to raise money to ensure that children in need are safe, healthy and educated. “The Red Nose Day Special” hosted by Chris Hardwick will close the night at 10 p.m. All three hours of programming will work collaboratively to celebrate Red Nose Day while promoting donations to the cause throughout the night. “Hollywood Game Night” talent will be announced at a later date.
Red Nose Day is an annual event that harnesses the power of entertainment to raise money and awareness for children living in poverty in America and internationally. NBC’s night of special Red Nose Day programming is a culmination of a seven-week fundraising campaign, which brings together millions of Americans around the country to have fun and make a difference. Talent who have supported the campaign include Julia Roberts, Ed Sheeran, Elton John and many more.
Red Nose Day was created by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning writer-director Richard Curtis, (“Love Actually,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill”). It has raised more than $1 billion globally since its launch 30 years ago in the U.K. in 1988.
About Derek Hough
Emmy Award-winning and New York Times best-selling author Derek Hough stars with Jennifer Lopez, Jenna Dewan Tatum and NE-YO in the NBC competition series “World of Dance,” which launched in 2017 as the highest-rated summer show in more than 10 years. Additionally Hough is the only six-time champion in franchise history of Emmy nominated show “Dancing with the Stars.” A multi-talented entertainer, Hough has also appeared in film, television and stage projects as an actor, including starring roles in NBC’s “Hairspray Live!” and London West End’s “Footloose,” as well as a recurring role on the ABC series “Nashville.” Hough is also an acclaimed author. His 2014 memoir, “Taking the Lead: Lessons From a Life in Motion,” was named to the prestigious New York Times bestseller list during two non-consecutive time periods. His wide body of work has brought him Emmy nominations and inquiries from the film and music world regarding his dance knowledge and ability.
NE-YO born Shaffer C. Smith is a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and actor. In 2017 NE-YO joined the judges’ table with Jennifer LOPEZ and Derek Hough for the NBC dance competition show “World of Dance,” which will return May 29. With multiple #1 albums, millions of albums sold worldwide and three GRAMMY AWARDS of his own, he has also written and produced chart-topping hits for today’s biggest stars, including Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Celine Dion and many more. In addition to music, NE-YO’s solid career in film includes credits in George Lucas’s “Red Tails,” “Stomp the Yard,” “Battle: Los Angeles” and “Save the Last Dance.” Adding to his acting credits, NE-YO can currently be seen in Youtube Red’s original series “Step Up: High Water.” NE-YO’s seventh album, “Good Man,” scheduled for release June 8th, features the title track “Good Man” and “Push Back” ft Bebe Rexha and Stefflon Don currently available.
About Akbar Gbajabiamila
Akbar Gbajabiamila is host of NBC’s two-time Emmy Award-nominated hit competition series “American Ninja Warrior,” which begins its 10th season this summer. He is also the host of the show’s spinoff, USA Network’s “American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs. Ninja.” Gbajabiamila is a former NFL star who also currently hosts one of NFL Network’s highest-rated shows, “NFL Fantasy Live.” The multihyphenate has an expansive career in entertainment and media, including contributing to radio shows such as KSWB, an NBCradio affiliate in San Diego, hosting NBC’s 2017 “Red Nose Day Special” and “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” and acting in the 2015 short film “The Sac Fly.” Gbajabiamila has a long history of volunteering and social consciousness, currently serving as a board member for both the Asomugha Foundation, an organization aimed at creating better educational opportunities for impoverished communities, and the Michael J. FOX Foundation. He and his wife, along with their four children, currently reside in Redondo Beach, Calif., with their beloved dog.<
About Nikki Bella
Nikki Bella is an American professional wrestler and a self-admitted “tomboy” with a feminine side. She made it onto the WWE’s main roster in 2008. From there, Bella culminated a Divas Title reign in 2011 and 2012, a title earned from the WWE Divas Championship. She went on to set a record for the longest Divas Title reign of 301 days. Bella is also a pivotal member of “SmackDown LIVE,” the professional wrestling television program, as well as a reality star on the E! show “Total Bellas and Total Divas.” BEYOND the WWE and E!, Bella is an entrepreneur. With her twin sister, Bella co-founded Birdiebee, a women’s empowerment clothing line, as well as a wine collection, Belle Radici.
About Colton Dunn
Colton Dunn is best known as Garrett, a series regular on the NBC series “Superstore,” which was just picked up for a fourth season. Recently, Dunn starred in the film “Lazer Team 2” and will appear in the highly anticipated Universal comedy “Blockers,” opposite Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz. He has recurred on “Parks and Recreation” and “The League,” and has appeared on Fox’s “Brothers,” NBC’s “Save Me” and Comedy Central’s “Pretend Time.” He was a writer and recurring performer on MADTV and “The Arsenio Hall Show,” performed at the Aspen Comedy Festival and Just for Laughs, and regularly performs at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Dunn also wrote and performed on the hit Comedy Central series “Key & Peele.”
About Scott Evans
Scott Evans serves as the Los Angeles correspondent for the nationally syndicated, Emmy Award nominated and daily entertainment news program “Access.” Since joining “Access” in 2015, Evans has covered major entertainment events and red carpets in both Los Angeles and New York and interviewed some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Oprah Winfrey, Heidi Klum, Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey and Will Smith. Evans began his entertainment career as the youngest person ever to host/MC the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and the WNBA’s Indiana Fever home games before continuing his career as a reporter for multiple outlets including WISH-TV 8 in Indiana and “One Minute News” in Los Angeles and anchor for Channel One News in New York. A devoted philanthropist, Evans started a youth development non-profit in Indianapolis and remains active with many different youth charities, such as 18 for 18 and Catch the Stars Foundation.
About Nastia Liukin
Five-time Olympic medalist Nastia Liukin has made her mark on the gymnastics world after winning the gold for the U.S. in 2008. On and off the mat, Liukin continues to inspire young female athletes. After retiring from gymnastics at the young age of 23, Liukin went to college and graduated from New York University in 2016 with a degree in sports management. Continuing her career in the sports and entertainment world, in 2015 she was a contestant on Season 20 of “Dancing with the Stars” and currently serves as a commentator for NBC Sports. Now, to give back to her community, Liukin is creating an app called Grander that allows gymnasts to be mentored by their biggest idols; she founded the Nastia Liukin Cup, an annual gymnastics competition; and visits gyms across the country inspiring young athletes to pursue and achieve their dreams. She currently splits her time between Boston and Los Angeles.
About Gregg Sulkin
Born and raised in London, Gregg Sulkin is a multi-hyphenated actor who has showcased his talents across the board in the entertainment industry. He made his acting debut in 2005, starring in the coming-of-age dramedy “Sixty Six.” His major television credits include roles in “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Pretty Little Liars” and “Melissa and Joey.” In 2011 Sulkin received the Rising Star Award at the EuroCinema Hawaii Awards for his starring role in “White Frog,” a controversial independent coming-of-age film with Tyler Posey and HARRY Shum Jr. He is currently starring in the Huluseries “Marvel’s Runaways,” which premiered in November 2017.
About Red Nose Day USA
Red Nose Day USA is a fundraising campaign run by the non-profit organization Comic Relief USA. Red Nose Day started in the U.K., built on the foundation that the power of entertainment can drive positive change, and has raised over $1 billion since the campaign’s founding in 1988. Since launching in the U.S. in 2015, Red Nose Day has raised over $100 million, which has positively impacted more than 8.3 million children, both in America and abroad. Money raised by Red Nose Day USA supports programs that keep children in need safe, healthy and educated. Red Nose Day USA has received generous support from millions of Americans, hundreds of celebrities and many outstanding partners, including Walgreens, NBC, Mars, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information about Red Nose Day and its impact, visit rednoseday.org. Follow @RedNoseDayUSA on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
This year, Red Nose Day is inviting everyone to go Nose to Nose. It is the simple act of two people touching Red Noses in a fun, light way, to create shareable social content while encouraging donations for the cause. Buy two noses at Walgreens, go Nose to Nose, and snap a SELFIE or video. Share it with the hashtag #GONOSETONOSE then make a donation at rednoseday.org. Challenge your friends to do the same. It’s a fun and easy way to participate.
Walgreens is a broadcast partner of “The Red Nose Day Special” for the fourth year, and the campaign’s iconic Red Noses are exclusively sold at Walgreens and Duane Reade locations around the country. Mars Wrigley Confectionery and the M&M’S® brand are also teaming up with Comic Relief for the fourth year, donating $1 million as national partners of Red Nose Day.