How Ninja Warrior Went From G4TV Phenomenon To Being A Part Of American Culture

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While NBC’s American Ninja Warrior has become a part of US culture, its roots are based in Japanese game shows, as it is an adaptation of the competition series Sasuke, which formerly aired on the G4 network. Its journey from a syndicated Japanese show on a video gaming network to capturing the attention and minds of Americans on broadcast network TV isn’t a simple one though.

American Ninja Warrior producer Arthur Smith of A. Smith & Co. has spent much of his time working on unscripted and competition programming in the United States. His first taste of Japanese game shows came from his time working on ABC’s I Survived A Japanese Game Show. The reality game show took unsuspecting Americans and sent them to Japan to compete in various games akin to what game shows air in Japan.

I Survived A Japanese Game Show (Photo credit: A. Smith & Co. Productions)
I Survived A Japanese Game Show (Photo credit: A. Smith & Co. Productions)

“It was funny because in the first season the competitors had no idea where they were going,” Smith explained to GameSpot. “We pick them up at the airport, and then just went around to the other side of the airport, and then say, ‘Oh, now we’re going to Japan.’ It was a really funny moment, and they were all game.”

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Source: Game Spot Mashup