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American Ninja Warrior is one of those shows that only seems to get more popular over time. It's been on the air for years on multiple networks, but it seems to be more watched now than ever. It’s a perfect series for the internet age, as clips of people performing superhuman feats are made to be viral videos. Now NBC and the Esquire Network are looking to give you even more ninja warrioring as they’re putting together a new spinoff series. Get ready for Team Ninja Warrior.
It seems nearly impossible to up the stakes of Ninja Warrior -- a single person vs. their environment should be enough when that environment is designed to make you trip, fall, collapse, flail, and splash. So how do we double down on everything the series has to offer? We add more people of course. According to Deadline, the Esquire Network has ordered eight episodes of the series that will pit 24 teams of three, each made up of previous American Ninja Warrior contestants, against not only the course, but each other in a newly designed dual course. The team with the fastest cumulative time in each one-hour episode will advance to the next round until a champion is crowned.
We’re all for seeing more of Isaac Caldiero or Kacy Catanzaro show off their incredible levels of badassness, but it really feels like the producers of this one have missed something fundamental. Most people never finish the course. Most go crashing into the (presumably) freezing water and have to try again next year. Based on that frequency, it’s hard to see how two people racing each other is going to get that exciting since odds are neither will finish. It’s not clear if contestants will get credit if they crash and burn further along the course than the person they race against. This sounds a bit more like American Gladiators than Ninja Warrior, but who are we kidding, we’ll definitely watch this, too.
This series is not to be confused with Spartan Race, which is a separate team-based, Ninja Warrior-like series from the same production team. That series will have teams of five (not three) and will apparently include not only physical challenges but mental challenges as well. See? Totally different show.
NBC has been broadcasting American Ninja Warrior for three years, back when first-run episodes were still on the G4 Network. When G4 shutdown and was taken over by the Esquire Network, American Ninja Warrior was the only show to survive. Don’t be surprised to see Team Ninja Warrior do some time on the major network as well if it is equally successful.