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!