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Who Is Zuri Hall? Her Career From the Indianapolis Local News to American Ninja Warrior

From glittering red carpets to the sidelines of American Ninja Warror, she always finds inspiring stories.

By Jessica White

The gravity-defying runs of American Ninja Warrior are always exhilarating, and the host with the honor of catching up with the Ninjas when they return to Earth is the beloved Zuri Hall.

How to Watch

Watch American Ninja Warrior Mondays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock.

Hall is one of the most versatile and insightful commentators and hosts in the entertainment industry, with a prolific career jam-packed with milestones in everything from the entertainment space to sports coverage.

After getting her start in sports and local broadcasting in the early 2010s, landing on ANW's sidelines as co-host feels like destiny.

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"Being a part of telling [Ninja] stories is so special," Zuri Hall told NBC Insider ahead of Season 16's premiere. "Sometimes I'm there to provide a hug or a Kleenex or sometimes I'm there to celebrate and have fun after an incredible run on the course."

Zuri Hall smiles in a gold dress.

Where did Zuri Hall get her education?

Hall was born June 2, 1988 and raised in Toledo, Ohio.

She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2010 after getting her Bachelor's degree in strategic communication with a minor in theatre. According to a 2016 interview with OSU, Hall was an active member of the Black Student Theatre Network and the Ohio Union Television during her senior year of college.

Zuri Hall smiles in a neon yellow dress.

Where did Zuri Hall get her start on local news?

Hall hit the ground running in her career career after called, winning a competition that crowned her as the official face of MyINDY-TV in Indianapolis, according to her LinkedIn. The year following her college graduation, Hall scored a Regional Emmy Award for Outstanding Host and Talent for her work on WNDY.

"Things just kind of took off," Hall told Yahoo! while looking back at her career. "The momentum really built in an incredible way. And not long after I landed in Indy, they were asking me to audition to emcee for the Indiana Pacers"

In November 2010, Hall became an on-air emcee for Pacers Sports & Entertainment, a job at which would continue working for nearly two years. During that time, she also worked as a host and producer for Living Dayton on WDTN-TV. In December 2012, Hall hopped aboard the Tribune Company to host Nightcap on KDAF-TV, an evening news show based in Dallas. According to her NBC profile, Hall earned an Emmy nomination for her investigative reporting.

Zuri Hall smiles in a blue dress.

How did Zuri Hall make the leap to national entertainment reporting?

Hall moved to New York City in 2013 to join Fuse Media Inc. as their their host of Trending 10 and then caught the attention of Viacom and MTV Networks, who recruited her as a host and TV personality for MTV and MTV2. She first began hosting the reunion specials for the smash reality competition The Challenge.

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She joined E! in August 2015 as their on-air news correspondent and moved to Los Angeles, where she created and co-produced What’s Good with Zuri Hall, an original series that celebrated diversity in Hollywood, and was a regular guest on Fashion Police. In 2017, Hall's expert insight earned E! a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Entertainment News Program.

"Every day is different. Some days I do stand-ups and traditional host reads in the newsroom or in-studio, on the E! News set," Hall told OSU during her time there. "Other evenings I'm covering film premiere red carpets (like The Revenant and The Big Short). I also do one-on-one sit-down interviews with musicians, actors, and entertainers. During awards season, I'm a special correspondent/co-host for E!'s popular Live from The Red Carpet shows."

Hall has also hosted dozens of other high-profile events throughout her career, she says on her website, including for NBC’s livestream of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and as the on-stage host of the Super Bowl Village for Super Bowl XLVI.

She had also worked as a correspondent on dozens of red carpets, including the Academy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, the Emmy Awards, the Grammy Awards, the SAG Awards, and the Academy of Country Music Awards, just to name a few. 

In May 2024, Hall added the Met Gala to her roster and celebrate the exciting milestone on social media. "Magical night hosting 3.5 hours of LIVE Met Gala coverage on E!," Hall captioned the Instagram post. "Thank you to all of our incredible panelists — and our all-star glam, crew + production teams for jobs well done."

Unlike some red carpet reporters who delight in tearing down celebrity looks at events, Hall has strongly embraced a "kindness is cool" mentality with her commentary.

"I think as we evolve as a society, we're just so fatigued by the criticism. And I get that some people want, like, the fun of the snark, but it's a delicate dance," Hall told Yahoo! in 2023. "And there are few people who can do it really well, who can toe the line of, like, just enough shade to where it's fun, but it's not mean-spirited. And I think there's a world where we can land there."

Zuri Hall interviews Jesse Labreck on American Ninja Warrior

When did Zuri Hall become a co-host on American Ninja Warrior?

Hall has been killing it on the ANW course sidelines since April 2019, and has watched dozens of dedicated Ninjas take the stage throughout the years, expertly weighing in on their performances and catching up with the folks after their runs.

"There's just so much excitement [on American Ninja Warrior], it's palpable," Hall told Yahoo! "It does kind of feel like I'm back on the court or the fields like I was in my earlier hosting days."

"When I joined the team it was the biggest opportunity of my life, I was so excited. I'd never been a part of a production of that magnitude," Hall told NBC Insider in May 2024. "Not only does the course get bigger, and better, and harder, but I am just overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of the show at all let alone telling such incredible stories."

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"I think the thing that really sets Ninja apart for me is the sense of community that comes with being a part of this show. Like I covered the Oscars and the Grammys and Met Gala, and it's all fun, and the gowns are gorgeous, and the red carpet interviews are really exciting. But there's something about coming back from Ninja every season looking forward to seeing familiar faces looking forward to getting to know new rookies on the scene..."

Hall continued, "We have Ninja engagements, we have people falling in love on the course, we have Ninja newborns. We've got babies on the sidelines at this point! I can't say that about any other show that I've ever been a part of, so just to be a part of the community, the family that is Ninja is really special for me."

Zuri Hall poses for a promo shoot for Access Hollywood

When did Zuri Hall become a correspondent on NBC's Access Hollywood?

Hall became the host and correspondent for NBC's Access Hollywood and All Access in October 2019 — shortly after she joined ANW teams as its high-energy sidelines reporter.

As part of the team, Hall spearheaded a partnership between Access Hollywood and the Black and Missing Foundation. Hall's mission is to highlight "cold cases of missing people of color, Black and Brown people of color," Hall explained to Yahoo! "Talking to local authorities, talking to the family and friends of those loved ones who are missing."

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Hall helped NBC score a 2024 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Entertainment News Series for Access Hollywood.

Zuri Hall's Podcast Hot Happy Mess and YouTube Channel Hey Zuri Hall

Hall is also the proud executive producer of Hot Happy Mess, a podcast created by the ANW host to celebrate women from all backgrounds.

"Hot Happy Mess is a podcast that I love being the executive producer of, the creator of," Hall told Yahoo! in 2023. "I developed it. You know, it came from my heart years before I ever was even able to make it a tangible and real thing. And so now, it's a labor of love."

Her YouTube channel, HEY ZURI HALL!, has collected millions of views and over 109K subscribers. It features Hall connecting "directly with the very women she wants to highlight through her work," according to her website.

Zuri Hall's Movies and TV Shows

According to IMDb, Hall's first credit was as Claire in the 2015 short film FIFA Rebranded.

She has since appeared as herself on several television programs, including a 2016 episode of Hashtaggers, four episodes of The Arrangement (2017-2018), and two episodes of Nobodies.

Hall also played an E! reporter in the drama series The Morning Show, appearing alongside Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Watch American Ninja Warrior on Mondays at 8/7c on NBC and the next day on Peacock.