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TV Titan Behind Hell’s Kitchen and American Ninja Warrior: Arthur Smith (ep. 614)

Arthur Smith

Arthur Smith, the man behind some of the longest-running unscripted series in television history, joins John O’Leary on the Live Inspired Podcast.

Arthur Smith is famous for his innovation and audacity, and as the man behind some of the longest-running unscripted series in television history. His groundbreaking hit Hell’s Kitchen forged the modern food competition reality genre, while his Emmy-nominated American Ninja Warrior has spawned a cultural movement, with Ninja-inspired gyms in every major American city.

Today, Arthur shares adventures, triumphs, and hard-won lessons in his journey from a shy, introverted nine-year-old boy to climbing the ranks of sports production to become the youngest-ever head of CBC Sports, Canada’s premiere sports broadcaster.

My friends, this conversation is a reminder of just how far you can go when you work hard, take risks, and reach for your dreams.

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  • “There’s never the wrong time to do the right thing, and there’s never the right time to do the wrong thing.”
  • If parents make you feel special, you might actually believe it. Arthur celebrates the love, support and wisdom he received from his parents.
  • As a shy, introverted nine-year-old boy, Arthur was put in a position where he didn’t have any other choice but to reach giving him confidence.
  • Before he left to study television and film, Arthur’s dad had a similar conversation his dad had with him about joining the family’s fur business. Unlike his father, Arther couldn’t agree yet his father reminded him that there was always a place for him.
  • When NBC earning the rights during the Seoul Olympics, Arthur said that CBC Sports would beat them in editorial judgement and referred to it as “David v Goliath”.
  • As Arthur’s idol, Dick Clark reminded him of the importance of respecting the audience, meaning produce to the masses and never speak down.
  • Get a copy of Arthur Smith’s book Reach here.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love hearing from Bob Costas. Bob has earned 29 Emmy awards – more than any other sports broadcaster. He is also the only person to have won in news, sports and entertainment. You’ll love this heartfelt conversation as Bob reflects on his humble beginnings + iconic interviews and memorable moments of covering the greatest events of our time. Listen to Bob Costas on ep. 392.


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  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Patience.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. Pictures and home videos.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. My parents.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Good to be lucky. Lucky to be good.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Enjoy the now.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. I believe it's important to reach in your life but it's more important to reach back and help others.