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UK’s largest commercial broadcaster, ITV, to produce and broadcast local version of “SASUKE”!


UK’s largest commercial broadcaster, ITV, recently announced it would produce a local version of TBS’s sports entertainment program “SASUKE”: “Ninja Warrior UK” (NWUK).

Three well-known and popular personalities will host NWUK: television presenter Ben Shephard; former footballer and football manager and current sports presenter and football analyst Chris Kamera; and former member of girl group The Saturdays and current television presenter Rochelle Humes. Shooting will begin at the end of March in the Manchester Central Convention Complex, which hosts many prominent international events. With a length of 168 meters, a distinctive arched roof 64 meters wide, and a height of 27 meters, this complex is perhaps the ideal venue for NWUK. This will be only the second time that a “SASUKE” program has been shot indoors; the first was the original “SASUKE” competition held in 1997 in Japan. Currently, NWUK is holding trials in London and other major cities in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland to determine the 250 finalists who will take on the most challenging obstacle course in the history of Great Britain.

NWUK is being produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios, which is the largest commercial production company in the UK. NWUK has already established its online properties, and ITV’s press release concerning the new program was covered by “The Independent,” “The Guardian,” and many other major British media. ITV plans to begin broadcasting NWUK in spring as a regular one-hour weekly program. The UK will be the third European country to host a local version of “SASUKE,” following upon Turkey and Sweden. “Ninja Warrior Tukiye” (NWT) began airing on September 17, 2014, while “Ninja Warrior Sverige” (NWS) began airing on January 29, 2015. Although NWT was shot after NWS, it hit the airwaves first. Both programs have been scoring successes in their respective countries.

ITV currently airs “You’ve Been Framed!,” the local UK version of TBS’s “Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan” format. The large-scale format contract for NWUK will thus be the second of its type between TBS and ITV. Moreover, the UK will become the second country after the US to produce local versions of multiple TBS formats and broadcast them via a major commercial terrestrial broadcaster.

Following upon the success of local versions of “SASUKE” in the US, Turkey, Sweden, Malaysia and Singapore, a local Vietnam version is expected to be launched this year. Further, thanks to its extremely successful 2014 season, the 2015 season of “American Ninja Warrior” has also been given the green light. With “Ninja Warrior” now reaching the UK, one of Europe’s biggest markets, the prospect of local “SASUKE” versions being produced in more European countries and other regions around the world seems very likely indeed.


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