Posts Tagged ‘NBC’

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

Strong Ratings on NBC for American Ninja Warrior 3 Finale

Friday, August 26th, 2011

According to this article in the New York Times, as well as a couple of other media sources I found, apparently the season finale on NBC for American Ninja Warrior 3 brought in fairly strong ratings. I think in absolute terms the ratings weren’t so terribly high, but for that time slot (Sunday night during the summer) they were relatively very good. This is fantastic news for American Ninja Warrior fans and competitors, meaning there is an increased likelihood of future competitions and media exposure.

This is total speculation on my part…but I have to believe that it also means that there is an increased likelihood of American Ninja Warrior 4 going down later this year in 2011 in order to send Team America to the very next Sasuke in Japan. Remember ANW has only been happening once a year, while Sasuke happens twice a year, and with Sasuke ratings flagging in Japan they may need an infusion of new interest and NBC licensing money to even run another one.

Season Finale of American Ninja Warrior 3 Tonight

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Click ‘Like’ if you watched the season finale and admire our American competitors who gave it their all in Japan! Let’s spread the word, and please comment here to let me know what most stood out for you from this season.

Tonight the finale of this past American Ninja Warrior competition where the top ten Americans go to Japan to compete in the world’s toughest obstacle course airs on NBC in primetime. Although I didn’t make it that far, a couple good friends did, and it is a surprisingly compelling piece of television to watch them pursue their dreams to be the first American (and only 4th person ever) to complete this insane multi-stage course. These competitors dream and train hard for this, so their achievement of even getting to run in Ninja Warrior Japan (Sasuke) is something to be celebrated, and their attempts to push the boundaries of what they can do on the course is something to be admired and applauded.

Here’s a great article in today’s USA Today that talks more about this competition. Both articles like this one and the premier of American Ninja Warrior on network TV tonight represent a broadening interest in and exposure to this great competition and its amazing competitors. Below are some more articles from media sources about the competition tonight, although some are just glamorized TV listings. The USA Today article is probably the “best” article in terms of coverage and mainstream exposure:

Chicago Tribune
Times Reporter
NBC Philadelphia
LA Times

Finale of Boot Camp Tonight

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

With 13 competitors left and only 10 making Team America to go to Japan to compete in Ninja Warrior, the finale of Boot Camp for American Ninja Warrior 3 airs tonight to eliminate the last 3 competitors. Don’t forget to tune into G4 tonight to watch the intense competition (as well as inspiring sportsmanship and brotherhood) among these amazing competitors to watch the final team selected. Last week’s episodes of Boot Camp were intense and great fun.

Also set your DVRs to record the season finale of American Ninja Warrior 3 on this Monday night on NBC as the top ten Americans journey to Japan to compete and pursue their dreams, and potentially earn a $500,000 endorsement deal from K-Swiss if they can be the first American to ever complete the course. For American Ninja Warrior fans this airing on NBC is a big deal as it represents a more mainstream audience that might take this competition into the big leagues of network exposure in future years!

ANW3 Finale to Air on NBC on August 22

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

NBC announced it will air the season finale of American Ninja Warrior 3 on Aug 22nd in primetime. Sort of curious since I don’t think the ten American finalists from ANW3 have even competed in Sasuke yet!  I doubt that NBC would publicly slot it in there if they weren’t confident that the next Sasuke would be filmed and produced prior to that date.  But then again, what the hell do I know?

Anyway, G4 starts their airing of the series on July 31st, so set your DVRs.  Or in the case of those on DirectTV, ask your friends to set their DVRs so you can go over to their houses and watch it.  I think this is good news for the prospect of American Ninja Warrior 4 happening in 2011…if NBC likes the numbers of the season finale, it may push for ANW4 to happen sooner rather than later, and they’ll have plenty of time to coordinate a fall (Oct or Nov) ANW4 to happen in order to make the next Sasuke that will probably happen in the beginning of 2012.  All this would mean that ANW4 would air sometime in late winter or early spring.