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“American Ninja Warrior” gets early green light for seventh season!
“American Ninja Warrior” (ANW), the US spin-off of the TBS sports entertainment program “SASUKE” has been renewed for a seventh season! The early timing of the announcement is rare for a network television program.
Since May 26, ANW Season 6 has been broadcast on the NBC terrestrial network and the Esquire TV cable network in prime time. In Season 4 in 2012, ANW became the first program in US television history to be broadcast on two national networks in prime time in the same period. Until last year, ANW was broadcast for one hour in prime time on both networks, earning high ratings season after season in the 18-49 demographic, which advertisers value the most. Extended to two hours in 2014, ANW has been broadcast on NBC every Monday in prime time from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. and rebroadcast on Esquire TV every Tuesday in prime time from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.
Season six has featured the first female competitor and the first competitor over 50 to pass a qualifying round, generating significant buzz and logging ratings even better than those of last season. Despite facing tough competition from such programs as “24: Live Another Day,” since its second episode on June 2, ANW has won its time slot in the 18-49 demographic for 12 weeks in a row (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).
Building on this success, NBC decided to rebroadcast each week’s episode of “American Ninja Warrior” the following Sunday in the prime time slot of 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. As a result, ANW has been running two hours each on 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. It is rare for a regular program to run during the same time slot on multiple US networks, and ANW serves as perhaps the sole example of a two-hour program achieving this feat.
NBC has announced the renewal of ANW for a seventh season—even before the completion of the current season. Such early timing for the announcement of a program renewal is rare and reflects ANW’s status as a major summer hit and its extensive and loyal fan base.
Produced on a larger scale than ever before, ANW6 has featured qualifying rounds in Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis, Miami, and Denver. As in the previous two seasons, the finals were held in Las Vegas and featured a full-scale replica of the grueling four-stage “SASUKE” obstacle course in Japan at “Mt. Midoriyama.” This course was constructed alongside the Las Vegas strip, which runs through the heart of the city with its famous casinos and entertainment venues. 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!