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“American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. the World” 3-hour special extends series’ run of time slot ratings victories to 14 weeks!

2014.09.24

On September 15 from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. in prime time on the NBC terrestrial network, an “American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. The World” was aired. The three-hour special US spin-off of the TBS sports entertainment “SASUKE” was up against the two-hour new season opener of “Dancing With the Stars” on ABC and a two-hour special episode of “MasterChef” on FOX. The ANW special fought valiantly to win the demographics of adults 18-34, men 18-34, and men 18-49. Moreover, the special’s rating only increased over time: among adults 18-49, it logged a 40 percent higher rating in its third hour than in its first, handily winning this key demographic. Building on the previous 13 weeks of top-rated regular episodes, the special extended ANW’s run of time slot ratings victories to 14 weeks (exclusive of weeks without a new episode: the June 30 broadcast was an encore presentation of “American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. Japan,” and the program was not broadcast on August 25 because of the Emmy Awards).

In the special, the US, Japan, and Europe engaged in a fierce competition among elite five-man teams. Team USA was composed of five finalists from multiple seasons of ANW, while Team Japan featured five veterans from the original “SASUKE.” The new Team Europe fielded five world-class athletes with a variety of backgrounds. The teams competed for points in each stage, with the team earning the highest point total at the end of the competition to be declared the winner. Since Team USA and Team Europe were tied at the end of Stage 3, they decided the contest in a thrilling tiebreaker in Stage 4—the first time in ANW history that the final rope climbing stage has seen action. In the end, only the official clock could reveal which of the two mighty climbers had pressed the buzzer faster, with Europe coming out ahead by only a fraction of a second. While the Japanese team came in third place, Yusuke Morimoto became the first Japanese in history to make it through ANW Stage 3. Then Ryo Matachi also conquered the stage, yet surprisingly both athletes failed to log the fastest time in their respective heats.

From the start of the season, ANW6 was broadcast on the NBC terrestrial network every Monday in prime time from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. and rebroadcast on the Esquire TV cable network every Tuesday in prime time from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Based on the high ratings earned by the program early on, NBC decided midway through the season to rebroadcast each week’s episode of ANW6 the following Sunday in the prime time slot of 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. As a result, ANW6 aired for two hours each Sunday (NBC), Monday (NBC), and Tuesday (Esquire TV) for a total of six regularly scheduled prime time hours every week on national US television networks—a virtually unprecedented achievement.

ANW6 saw the most senior competitor (52 years old) to complete a qualifying course and proceed to the finals, as well as the first woman to accomplish this feat. A very broad range of media reported on the series, and it was especially popular in social media, drawing the positive comments of more than a few famous people. All of this buzz contributed to the consistently high ratings throughout the season. The total number of viewers for the 15-episode broadcast on NBC was over 100 million, with the rebroadcasts on Esquire further adding to that total. In sum, ANW6 will go down in history as one of the biggest summer hits of 2014 and a successful program on every level.

NBC gave an early green light to ANW Season 7 based on the outstanding ratings of Season 6—even before the season was over. In addition, the “Ninja Warrior” page on Facebook currently has over 1 million “Likes.” While details of ANW Season 7 have yet to be determined, NBC is already inviting athletes to apply for the upcoming qualifiers, and the new season is expected to be even bigger and more exciting than Season 6. As time goes by, the born-in-Japan “SASUKE” family of programs continues to increase in popularity worldwide. How the franchise develops going forward will be exciting to watch!

“American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. the World” 3-hour special extends series’ run of time slot ratings victories to 14 weeks!
“American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. the World” 3-hour special extends series’ run of time slot ratings victories to 14 weeks!
“American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. the World” 3-hour special extends series’ run of time slot ratings victories to 14 weeks!
 

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