G4′s cult favorite American Ninja Warrior is getting a huge platform boost thanks to NBC.
The broadcast network will air a two-part season finale of the extreme obstacle course competition this fall after the show returns for its third season on G4 in August. The move represents the first major on-air commitment by NBC to spotlight a program on Comcast’s cable channel group since the companies merged earlier this year, and it’s quite cool that it’s Warrior that’s getting the exposure — the series long has been in the shadow of ABC’s comic version of the same concept, Wipeout.
“Wipeout has its success, but American Ninja Warrior is a true competition to find a real athlete to conquer a course that has only been conquered by three people over 2,600 tries — that’s what makes this drama interesting,” G4 president Neal Tiles told EW.
In the third season, the show will head to Japan and touts the biggest prize yet for the show, a $500,000 K-SWISS endorsement deal and marketing campaign. Also, G4 and the Tokyo Broadcasting System will auction off a chance for a fan to compete with the 10 finalists to benefit American Red Cross relief efforts in Japan. Production starts next month.
“Warrior has really come a long way and nurtured its cult-like status, and this American Idol-like prize structure takes an amateur athlete and elevates them to professional status,” Tiles said.
TOKYO -- NBC has skedded the hit Tokyo Broadcasting System sports gameshow "Sasuke" for a fall primetime spot, TBS announced on Wednesday.
The show, which launched in 1997, has been a consistent ratings winner ever since. Broadcast as a special on TBS, "Sasuke" challenges contestants of various sports backgrounds (or none at all) to clear a fiendishly difficult obstacle course.The Variety article is essentially a translation of the TBS press release which has various permutation. Some are variations or copies of the Mainichi News story. All links are in Japanese:
It has been broadcast, in different versions, in 153 countries on five continents.
Known in the U.S. as "Ninja Warrior," the show bowed on the G4 cable station in October 2006 and became a cult hit. It generated a spin-off, "American Ninja Warrior," whose third incarnation is skedded for airing on G4 in 10 episodes starting in August.
NBS, however, is planning to broadcast the climax of 27th Japanese "Sasuke" on a yet unspecified date this fall.
Also, TBS and G4 are partnering to present "Ninja Warrior Japan Relief," a 50-hour marathon show for Japanese disaster relief skedded from April 29 to May 1, featuring the New Year's "Sasuke" show.
Original TBS release
Mantan (Mainichi News)
None of the articles have airdates. Everything is vaguely "in the fall." In general, a fall SASUKE is around September/October between drama seasons. We'll just have to wait and see. The part about the show being broadcast during primetime was taken from the Japanese articles. And it's unclear how everything will work out. The show is still being treated as TBS property so I assume that it will air in Japan first and then in NBC in a different (read: Ninja Warrior) form.
And no, while this is interesting news to hear, it doesn't necessarily mean that SASUKE has been given a second chance that many have been hoping for. It could be that SASUKE in Japan as we know it has finally run its course and everything will be Ninja Warriorized from here on out.
And in the fall? NBC has the NFL night games on Sundays. It's possible that SASUKE is being used for either a) a World Series schedule conflict or b) emergency programming if there is no NFL season. Neither will help build up the show in the states. But I guess that's keeping in tradition with the way TBS uses SASUKE as holiday cannon fodder.