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American Ninja Warrior (sometimes abbreviated as ANW) is an American sports entertainment reality show based on the Japanese television reality show SASUKE which also serves as a successor of American Ninja Challenge. It features a set of obstacle courses in various cities. The obstacle courses are divided into Qualifiers courses, Semifinals courses and a four-stage Las Vegas National Finals course (sometimes called Mount Midoriyama). The contestant who finishes all the courses in the fastest time wins a cash prize of $1,000,000. Starting with season 10, if one remaining contestant fails on any of the Finals course parts, but has completed more than the others, he wins a consolatory $100,000 prize. The show is hosted by Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila. To date, Isaac Caldiero, Drew Drechsel, and Vance Walker have won the main cash prize.

The series premiered on December 12, 2009, on cable channel G4. For the first three seasons, the show only screened a single qualifier and semifinals course while the top contestants traveled to Japan to compete at the Sasuke season's finals course. In 2012, the show changed its format by creating the fixed Finals course in Las Vegas and aired on NBC as the alternate channel for its fourth season (they became the original channel in Season 6). In 2020, following COVID-19 restrictions, the show abolished the usual format and filmed a shorter season in St. Louis studio without fans. Production for the 13th season resumed in traditional format. In 2023, the series was renewed for the 15th and 16th seasons, which are filmed simultaneously.

History[]

In late 2006, the American cable channel G4 began airing broadcasts of the Japanese sports entertainment television special Sasuke (subtitled or dubbed in English and re-titled Ninja Warrior) Coinciding with this, the channel held the first American Ninja Challenge, in which Americans gained the opportunity to be sent to compete on Sasuke. Over time, the semi-annual Sasuke broadcasts on G4 gained a cult following in the United States and eventually almost became the channel's most-watched broadcasts. This led to the creation of the American adaptation of the show, American Ninja Warrior, in 2009. American Ninja Warrior followed American Ninja Challenge as the qualifying route for Americans to enter Sasuke.

Since the fourth season, American finalists compete on a nearly-identical finals course on the Las Vegas Strip instead of traveling to Japan to compete on Sasuke."WP 2012"}} NBC began broadcasting the city finals and national finals episodes in the fourth season.

By the fifth season, G4 was set to be replaced by Esquire Network and had wound down all original programming except American Ninja Warrior by January 2013. Notably, the sideboard advertising along the fifth season's courses listed Esquire Network as the broadcaster because G4 was going to transition into Esquire Network by April 22, 2013—prior to the season premiere. However, the channel switch was delayed to September 23, 2013, and Esquire Network took over Style Network's channel space instead. As a result, NBC became the sole broadcaster of the original episodes while Esquire Network aired reruns until the eighth season.

Format[]

Qualifiers[]

TBD

Semifinals[]

TBD

Japan Finals/Las Vegas National Finals[]

TBD

Specials[]

USA vs. The World[]

NBC has aired seven international competitions in which the best ninjas of the season compete against teams from around the world, including Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia for the American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. The World trophy. They were usually filmed after the regular season of American Ninja Warrior finishes. The competitors race on the Las Vegas course used in the National Finals of the regular season. All of the international competitions have been hosted by the American variation's hosts and sideline reporters. The current title holders is Australia.

All-Stars[]

Ten special episodes of the series were aired by NBC, in which the best ninjas overall compete in teams and individually. Team competitions include lineups of five athletes picked by the show's hosts running the National Finals stages in relay races, with the winner determined on Stage 3 based on the number of completed obstacles. In individual competitions, contestants try to complete oversized obstacles, increasing in length after each round, and remain in competition when their opponents fail. One of the specials, subtitled "All-Stars Spectacular", ditched team competitions and entirely focused on skills challenges.

An obstacle originated from the special episodes, Mega Wall, which is a supersized version of Warped Wall, was brought to the regular season as part of qualifier rounds. Its height reached 18'6 feet in the latest season, although in specials it could have been increased up to 19 feet.

Three of all-stars competitions, retitled Women's Championship, only included 12 female competitors as they compete on two obstacle courses from qualifiers, semifinals or National Finals. After each course they complete, they advance to a further round based on the leaderboard. After two rounds, the four remaining athletes proceed to a knockout stage, in which the winner earns a $50.000 prize.

International broadcasts[]

The show is in syndication markets throughout the US and airs on local broadcast channels. At one point syndicated episodes were airing on MTV2 on Saturdays in August 2018. On August 12, 2019, the series began airing reruns on Nickelodeon. However, after airing just 10 episodes, the series was abruptly pulled from the schedule after August 23, 2019.

In Australia and New Zealand, the show is broadcast on SBS2 (2013–2017), 9Go! (2018–present), TV3 and Four . On April 25, 2016, it was announced that Canadian broadcaster CTV Television Network picked up American Ninja Warrior for its broadcast schedule. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the show is broadcast on Challenge and more recently on Sky Two. In Israel, the show is broadcast on Yes Action with the American version, and on Keshet 12 with there own Ninja Warrior Israel. In 2016, Croatian RTL Televizija started broadcasting the show. The show is also shown in Finland on Sub-TV. In the Netherlands the show was first broadcast in 2017 on SBS 6, where their own Ninja Warrior NL has been broadcast. The show also airs in South Africa, on SABC 3, airing Sunday afternoons 13:30. In Southeast Asia, the show airs on AXN Asia channel since 2011.

Video game[]

A sports video game based on the series, American Ninja Warrior Challenge, was released in North America on March 19, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It was developed by Gaming Corps Austin and published by GameMill Entertainment.

Spin-offs[]

Ninja vs. Ninja[]

On October 9, 2015, Esquire Network announced the first spin-off, which would feature 24 three-person teams (two men and one woman) of notable competitors, initially titled Team Ninja Warrior. The teams compete head-to-head against each other, running the course simultaneously, thus creating a new live duel dynamic (including crossing points, where the two competitors can affect the other's progress.) The two teams with the fastest times advance to the finale, where one team will be crowned the winner and receive a cash prize. Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila returned as hosts alongside actor and journalist Alex Curry.The series was the channel's most-watched program in its history.

On May 31, 2016, Esquire Network ordered a sixteen-episode second season that also included a five-episode special college edition that had college students go head-to-head against rival schools. On March 6, 2017, it was announced that Team Ninja Warrior will be moving to sibling cable channel USA Network as Esquire Network winds down its linear channel operations and relaunches as an online only service. A third season of the show, which was re-titled American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs. Ninja, aired on USA Network from March 1 to June 18, 2018.

American Ninja Warrior Junior[]

On May 2, 2018, the second spin-off, entitled American Ninja Warrior Junior, was announced. The first season premiered on Universal Kids on October 13, 2018, Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila reprised their roles from ANW as hosts, with Olympic 2016 gold medalist Laurie Hernandez joining as co-host, guiding competitors in head-to-head challenges. The series featured 142 kids aged 9–14 competing ona course of miniature obstacles similar to the ones introduced in the original series. Similar to ANW, males and females run along the same course, and similarly to Ninja vs. Ninja editions, competitors participate in head-to-head runs. They are divided into three age groups: 9–10, 11–12 and 13–14, with each category coached by AWN competitors and other athletes. For the second season, 2012 Paralympic gold and silver medalist Victoria Arlen replaced Hernandez as sideline reporter.

The success of the spin-off made the producers consider the minimal age requirements lowering to 15 years, as the young competitors would have to wait until they are nineteen in order to compete on the regular season. In 13th and 14th seasons of the show, producers selected only the outstanding young competitors from the spin-off as "special guests".

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