American Ninja Warrior is a popular adaptation of the already popular Ninja Warrior (known in Japan as Sasuke). The Japanese version aired on G4 for a number of years before the network decided to start its own competition for Americans. With G4’s rebranding, NBC picked up the slack and now has Americans compete on the show for a chance at glory.
Despite hundreds answering the call over five seasons, American Ninja Warrior still hasn’t produced a competitor capable of conquering the final challenge – Mount Midoriyama. It’s not too surprising considering that only a select few Japanese competitors have ever conquered the infamous challenge. Why does the show still attract strong ratings then? Surely audiences would grow tired of watching Americans fail to conquer the final challenge year after year.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, executive producer Kent Weed says it’s all about the human element to the show that brings in viewers:
“It’s the stories of the people that separates us: how people overcome adversity to achieve their goals. Whether they’re doing it for a friend who is ill, a mother that had breast cancer or whether it’s a personal achievement they’re trying to overcome — weight loss, beating drugs or alcohol — it’s personal human achievement, and it’s something that audiences can identity with.”
It’s not just the human element of the show either, but the variety that helps attract viewers. The producers talk about having men and women of all walks of life competing on the show. For example, there’s a gymnast that was told he would never walk again, but he’s now on the show competing. There’s also a 55-year-old man competing against what is predominantly a show where the young compete.
The sixth season of American Ninja Warrior started on May 25 and will air every Monday night on NBC at 8 p.m. EST. If you miss it then, you can catch it again on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on the Esquire Network (formerly known as G4).
Image via American Ninja Warrior/YouTube