Posts Tagged ‘NBC’

G4 Rebrands as Esquire Network, Keeping American Ninja Warrior

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Yesterday it was announced by NBCUniversal that starting April 22, 2013, G4 will be rebranded as “Esquire Network” to be the “the only television network aimed at the full, multi-faceted lives of today’s modern men.” This will be a joint venture between NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines which owns the Esquire brand and property. “There is a vastly under-served audience in cable TV – today’s modern man – and by joining forces with Esquire, we will deliver a multi-platform experience to this upscale, engaged, passionate audience, one that widens the aperture beyond G4’s technology and gaming base,” said General Manager Adam Stotsky to whomever was listening.

American Ninja Warrior, the top-rated program on G4, will return for its fifth season to air this summer on Esquire Network and NBC. Presumably this means that the structure of American Ninja Warrior 4 will be replicated for American Ninja Warrior 5, meaning the opening round of the competition being shown on G4…er…Esquire Network, with the Regional Finals (or whatever equivalent they have this year) and the National Finals airing on NBC, and then the whole thing airing on perpetual repeat on Esquire Network.

New American Ninja Warrior 4 Compilation Episodes to Air in February on NBC

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Wow, I wasn’t expecting this. The ninja world is still buzzing from the recent confirmation by NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt that they will air American Ninja Warrior 5 this summer, and now this unexpected bomb. Admittedly, this comes from one single source (thefutoncritic.com), which is a fairly reliable source, so I have yet to “double-confirm” this, but I’m just a blogger so I’m going to post it anyway! [NOTE: This has now been confirmed by multiple sources]

Supposedly, allegedly, NBC is going to invest further in the American Ninja Warrior franchise by airing 8 new 1-hour compilation episodes of last season’s American Ninja Warrior 4 – including some tantalizing “never-before-seen-footage” – on Saturday nights at 8:00/7:00c beginning February 2nd. These episodes will be distilled from the 27 hours of episodes that composed ANW4 (13 on G4, 14 on NBC). Set your DVRs ninja bitches!

NBC Entertainment Chairman Confirms ANW5 this Summer

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt confirmed during the TCA Winter Press Tour that the network will air season 5 of American Ninja Warrior this summer. The nine episodes of American Ninja Warrior 4 that NBC aired in the summer of 2012 averaged a 1.9 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 5.11 million viewers, helping NBC routinely win the ratings war on Monday night combined with America’s Got Talent. While ANW4′ ratings weren’t great, the production costs were fairly low and NBC is committed to the show for another season. While rumors and various statements concerning American Ninja Warrior 5 being renewed for this summer have been out there for a while, having a clear statement from NBC’s Entertainment Chairman about it definitely being on the schedule is big news for American Ninja Warrior fans.

No word was given about the structure itself of the show, and whether the partnership with G4 would continue. Fans and competitors will remember from American Ninja Warrior 4 that the Regional opening rounds were aired on G4 on Sunday nights, and the Regional Final rounds were aired the next night on NBC. Then the National Final episodes were all aired on NBC.

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 AmericanNinjaWarrior.com 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!