Posts Tagged ‘G4’

Pour a 40 on the Ground for G4

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

G4 is officially dead.  Long live G4!  For many of us watching Sasuke reruns and the first 3 seasons of ANW on G4 is the nostalgic root of our ninja passions.  This death has been slow and confusing (Esquire Network, were you ever really G4?), so let’s all give G4 a tip of our hat and pour a 40 on the ground in remembrance of an old friend officially passing.

Hit LIKE if G4 was a ninja and geeky delight for you, it was for me (I miss Olivia Munn and Alison Hayslip).

G4NBC Pulls the Plug on G4

“According to a statement that NBCUniversal Cable sent to the remaining providers still carrying the G4 channel, the company announced that the network will come to an end on November 30. In 2013, there was talk that NBCUniversal would rebrand G4 as the Esquire network, but ended up launching it on Style, instead.”

The Calm Before the Storm

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Just a few short days before launch of American Ninja Warrior 4 this Sunday night on G4, followed the next night by its network debut on NBC, I find myself in a reflective mood about the state and fate of this quirky crazy fun obstacle course competition as it perhaps stands on the precipice of mainstream awareness.  This season represents the moment when American Ninja Warrior gets called up to the major leagues of network NBC as a prime-time summer series from its previous minor league status as a cult favorite the past three seasons on the niche G4 network otherwise notable only for its video-gaming and Cops-rerun-watching audience.

Like a lot of competitors who have been longtime fanatics of Ninja Warrior in Japan, I feel a sort of possessiveness about this competition and some sense of ownership of it.  Whether there is any merit to it or not, I perhaps feel more ownership than most because I envisioned this very moment, this very threshold, of when American Ninja Warrior might be embraced by the mainstream American public and become a cult phenomena, driving kids and adults alike to jump, climb and swing around on any obstacle they could find.  I envisioned this even before American Ninja Warrior was created, rushing out to buy the domain name for $10 from GoDaddy in a moment of inspiration 5 years ago when I was SURE it would one day be a hit here in America, thinking “how could it not?” because it was so transparently awesome to me.  And I wasn’t buying the domain name for financial speculation, I was buying it because as a middle-aged guy I wanted a platform to voice my passion to compete that would hopefully translate into a ticket onto the course so I could measure myself against those unforgivable obstacles I grew to love sitting on my couch.

Now with American Ninja Warrior three seasons into its existence with a growing fan and competitor base it’s poised to take a quantum leap into the mainstream awareness with its extensive coverage on both NBC and G4 this summer, and I find myself wrestling with a mix of excitement and concern.  This was the moment I foresaw 5 years ago, so you would think I would be gratified by its arrival, but I fear that this is also the moment where it might cease to be the private obsession of mine and my small cadre of ninja brethren, and we irrevocably lose our ownership of it to network producers and the teeming masses.

While I am sentimental (clearly), I am also a realist.  If ratings disappoint, NBC will not hesitate to kill American Ninja Warrior in the cradle, and I might not ever get to run again or see my beloved ninja brothers again.  If it is a success, which I believe it will be, NBC will wrest control of it away from us and whip it to whatever frenzied success it can create, leaving we early competitors behind in its wake.  And make no mistake about it, we competitors (with the exception of a small group) are largely just rats in the maze to the producers and are totally replaceable and interchangeable.  Maybe that is the root of my anxiety, my fear that if American Ninja Warrior blows up in popularity and becomes a big mainstream success there were be a tidal wave of applicants battling to compete and myself and my early ninja buddies will no longer be invited to play, kicked out of the party right when it really starts to get roaring.  Yes, that is the root of my fear, and the thought of it makes me sad.

But all weepiness aside, I’m still proud of American Ninja Warrior and proud to be a three-time competitor in this awesome competition, and proud to be called friend by the amazing people who I have met that share my passion in this crazy quirky fun obstacle course that maybe, just maybe, America is about to fall in love with as well.

The very first moment I ever stepped onto the American Ninja Warrior course. Quad Steps in ANW2 in Venice Beach, 2010.

American Ninja Warrior 4 TV Schedule – UPDATED

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

This season’s American Ninja Warrior will premiere on G4 on Sunday May 20 at 9 pm ET for 2 hours. In what is an unusual airing schedule between G4 and NBC, two of the properties of the Comcast/NBC conglomerate, every Sunday night starting May 20th G4 will air a 2 hour slot followed the very next night (Mondays) with a one-hour slot on NBC (prime-time baby!). In a clever structure designed to cross-pollinate viewership between the niche G4 channel and the mainstream network NBC, American Ninja Warrior 4 will show the “opening round” of a given regional competition on Sunday night for 2 hours on G4, and then the next night (Monday) will show the finals of that region on NBC. I think this structure ensures that for a given region people will feel more vested in the 30 finalists that advance (meaning they are more likely to remember them) when they get to watch the regional finals the very next night on NBC. The success of Ninja Warrior in Japan and around the world largely developed because viewers got to know and root for the “regular people” who competed and there was some continuity of competitors across seasons, so I’m glad that G4/NBC recognizes this critical viewer dynamic.

Below is the official schedule for the summer according to the best information I have to date, with my notes next to it about what will likely be shown according to fairly reliable sources. Keep in mind the overall structure of the American Ninja Warrior 4 competition this year, which is different from past years. Things to remember: 6 regional competitions held in 3 cities (2 regionals in Venice, 2 in Dallas, 2 in Miami). Each regional competition had an “opening round” with about 150 competitors (to be shown on G4) where the top 30 advanced to the regional finals (to be shown on NBC the next night). The top 15 competitors from each regional final advanced to the finals in Las Vegas on the new uber-course built there (6*15 regional finals means 90 competitors, plus 10 “wild-cards”, to equate to a tidy 100 finalists in Vegas).

Sunday, May 20: 9 p.m.-11pm ET on G4 – Southwest Regional

Monday, May 21: 9 p.m.-11p.m. ET on NBC – Finals of Southwest Regional…this slot is 2 hours for presumably more background segments to setup the season

Sunday, May 27 9 p.m.-11 p.m. ET on G4 – Midwest Regional (this is where I, your humble host, compete)

Monday, May 28: 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET on NBC – Finals of Midwest Regional

Sunday, June 3: 9 p.m.-11p.m. ET on G4 – Northeast Regional

Monday, June 4: 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET on NBC – Finals of Northeast Regional

Sunday, June 10: 9 p.m.-11 p.m. ET on G4 – Northwest Regional

Monday, June 11: 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET on NBC – Finals of Northwest Regional

Sunday, June 17: 9 p.m.-11 p.m. ET on G4 – Midsouth Regional (also called South-Central)

Monday, June 18: 9 p.m.-11 p.m. ET on NBC – Finals of Midsouth Regional

Sunday, June 24: 9 p.m.-11 p.m. ET on G4 – Southeast Regional

Monday, June 25: 10 p.m. -11p.m. ET on NBC – Finals of Southeast Regional

Sunday, July 8: 9 p.m. -12 a.m. ET on G4 – Las Vegas Finals, Stage 1, Runners 1 thru 88

Monday, July 9: 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET on NBC – Las Vegas Finals, Stage 1, Runners 89 thru 96

Monday, July 16 9 p.m. -10 p.m. ET on NBC – Las Vegas finals, Stage 1, Runners 97 thru 100 & Part of Stage 2

Monday, July 23 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET on NBC – Las Vegas finals, Stage 2, 3 and ??

That’s the best information I have coming from a pretty reliable source. Set your DVRs!

The Ninja Warrior World Re-Aligns

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

We’re all geeks for Ninja Warrior, right? If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be here right now, reading some random blog from some random guy about his delusional middle-aged aspirations to become the first American Ninja Warrior. Well, for those of us who love Ninja Warrior, the earth has shook and the planetary rotation of the Ninja Warrior orb has been turned on its axis as the entire structure and premise of American Ninja Warrior has changed in the last few weeks. Most of us came to love Ninja Warrior by watching re-runs of Sasuke (incorrectly translated as “Ninja Warrior”) on G4 of the epic competitions in Japan to find the world’s best obstacle course runner. And, yes, it was to find the world’s best obstacle course runner, because although most of the competitors have been Japanese, the producers of the show have always tried to bring in the world’s best foreigners to compete, extending invitations to Olympic athletes in various disciplines to come and try their hands at the increasingly difficult course. They too, like many others, ran and failed at some point in the 4 stage course we learned to love named Mount Midoriyama. In recent years competitions like Sasuke Malaysia and American Ninja Warrior have sprouted up around the globe to become their own events to select the top competitors to get their shot running Sasuke on the hallowed grounds in Japan. For all Ninja Warrior aspirants around the world it was all about getting a shot somehow to run that course in Japan.

Now all that has changed (at least for we Americans). With the uncertainty of future competitions in Japan, and the relative success of American Ninja Warrior the last couple of years here in America, the NBC/Comcast entertainment conglomerate has secured the rights to produce American Ninja Warrior as a standalone network program here in the U.S. No longer is American Ninja Warrior a feeder competition for Ninja Warrior Japan, but it is (for the time-being at least) its own bad self standing on its own bad own. Meaning that instead of having 10 Americans going to compete in Japan at Sasuke against the legendary Japanese group of competitors, there will be 100 Americans that will arise out of 6 regional competitions to compete in a new mega-course they are building in Las Vegas. That’s right, Vegas baby. The owners/producers of Ninja Warrior Japan are consulting on the building of the course, which is good news for American Ninja Warrior competitors who have pointed out that in recent U.S.-based competitions the quality of some of the obstacles was lacking. Whether it will be an exact replica of Mt. Midoriyama is unclear, but I believe most expectations are that it will be very similar, and will certainly be composed of many of the iconic obstacles we all love and fear like the Salmon Ladder, the Warped Wall, and the Ultimate Cliffhanger.

So 6 regional competitions going down in 3 cities (LA, Dallas, Miami), each with reportedly 125 runners, will happen throughout March to pick the top 100 guys to compete in Las Vegas on this new course reportedly on April 21-22. I believe that there will be some coverage of these regional competitions on G4 before they (for certain) show the 100 person final in Las Vegas over several weeks on NBC this summer. This is supposedly NBC’s competitor for ABC’s very popular Wipeout (although the surest way to see an American Ninja Warrior competitor go apoplectic is to ask them if their competition is similar to Wipeout).

This is a major shift in the structure and identity of American Ninja Warrior. It now stands alone, and is no longer the cable network feeder program for Ninja Warrior Japan, but its own bad self (did I say that already?). Competitors and fans have mixed emotions about this, with much loyalty and love being reserved for the original Japanese competition. While I myself am saddened at what is an increasing likelihood that Ninja Warrior Japan will “go away” at some point, I’m glad that there is a strengthened competition here in America that could keep the spirit alive even as the Mother Ship goes into retirement.

Below are the locations of the regional competitions, the submission dates for the videos, and the estimated competition dates for those locations (they will confirm and narrow these dates soon).

LOS ANGELES (Northwest and Southwest Regions) – Video Submission by Feb. 14th, Competition Window is March 1-5

DALLAS (Midwest and South-Central Regions) – Video Submission by Feb. 27th, Competition Window is March 14-18

MIAMI (Northeast and Southeast Regions) – Video Submission by March 8th, Competition Window is March 27 – April 1

American Ninja Warrior 3 Begins Airing

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

The new season of American Ninja Warrior starts airing tonight, Sunday July 31st, on G4 at 6 pm Pacific / 9 pm Eastern. This is American Ninja Warrior 3 that I competed in at Venice Beach this past May. I doubt my run will be shown, but regardless I’m still tuning in to root hard for my fellow competitors and some good buddies in particular as they pursue total victory in the world’s toughest obstacle course competition!

Game TrailersE3 2012