'American Ninja Warrior' Renewed at NBC
American Ninja Warrior isn't showing any signs of slowing down.
Hours ahead of the season finale, the reality competition series has been renewed at NBC for a sixth season at the network and ninth season overall, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The renewal is no surprise given American Ninja Warrior's impressive ratings. The show is averaging a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49 and also ranks among the top 10 primetime series on broadcast in the demo. This season, the fifth on NBC and eighth overall, also currently ranks as the show's most-watched ever in total viewers. (Submissions for the show also reached a series-high last spring of 70,000, according to NBC.)
American Ninja Warrior also is coming off its first Emmy nomination for best reality competition program, for which the winner will be announced at Sunday's awards ceremony.
Original episodes first bow on NBC, with encores airing on the NBCUniversal-owned Esquire Network. G4 was the original home of American Ninja Warrior beginning in 2009; the show moved to sister network NBC in 2012. G4 then became Esquire Network in 2015.
"The increased popularity of American Ninja Warrior on air, as well as its growing social and cultural impact, is a testament to the athletes who push themselves beyond their limits,” NBC Entertainment alternative and reality group president Paul Telegdy said Monday in a statement. “We couldn’t be more proud to see this show reach new heights and watch the effect it has on those who compete and strive to be their best.”
American Ninja Warrior is based on Sasuke, from the Tokyo Broadcasting System Television, which is now in its 31st season in Japan. The American version follows competitors as they tackle a series of obstacles courses in city finals around the country. Those that complete the course then move onto the national finals round in Las Vegas, where they face a four-stage course modeled after Japan's famed Mt. Midoriyama course and compete for a $1 million grand prize.
Matt Iseman hosts along with former NFL player Akbar Gbajabiamila and co-host Kristine Leahy of Fox Sports. American Ninja Warrior hails from A. Smith & Co. Productions, with founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed executive producing along with Brian Richardson and Anthony Storm.
“We are in constant awe of the extraordinary athletes on American Ninja Warrior who make the show as exhilarating to watch as it is to produce,” said E! and Esquire Network president Adam Stotsky. "It is incredibly exciting how the series has evolved from an unconventional Japanese game show with a cult following to the global hit phenomenon that it is today in partnership with NBC — and we are looking forward to many more seasons to come.”
American Ninja Warrior has been proven to be an important part of NBC's summer lineup. While other broadcast networks like CBS and ABC have struggled with originals scripted series during the summer months, NBC has found success with reality fare such as Running Wild With Bear Grylls, America's Got Talent and the soft-scripted Better Late Than Never.
American Ninja Warrior also has spawned a spinoff on Esquire: Team Ninja Warrior. The forthcoming second season of the offshoot, picked up in May, will expand to 16 episodes and feature five special college edition episodes where rival universities go head-to-head.
American Ninja Warrior's season finale airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.