Team Ninja Warrior fans were in for a bit of a surprise when it was announced that the show would change premiere dates and channels for season two.
When it was announced that the Esquire Network would evolve from a cable channel to a digital platform, fears were raised for season two of Team Ninja Warrior. A lot of questions were answered when it was revealed that USA Network would take over the show and premiere season two on April 18.
There was a lot of conversation and a bit of confusion around the move, so let’s get into this.
Many American Ninja Warrior fans have a soft spot for Esquire. The channel has been a major home and springboard for the show over the past few years. For those not familiar with the history, here’s the very brief version:
Channel G4 was the original home of the American Ninja Challenge. This morphed into American Ninja Warrior and aired on NBC with repeats on G4. G4 then turned into Esquire, still replaying new episodes of American Ninja Warrior the night after they aired on NBC.
(This whole process was way more complicated than that short statement. It deserves an article all on its own. We’ll get right on that.)
Then in 2016, Esquire announced the first season of Team Ninja Warrior. It was well received and Esquire not only lined up a second season of Team Ninja Warrior, but also introduced Team Ninja Warrior: College Edition.
With the vast popularity of the American Ninja Warrior competitors who were on Team Ninja Warrior, fans were chomping at the bit to see season two.
Then in January, it was announced that the Esquire Channel would transition from a cable channel and go fully digital. It would air on cable through the summer.
Okay, but what did that mean for season two of Team Ninja Warrior? Would it air on Esquire before the summer transition? Would it be a digital series that was just online?
For a short period of time, it looked like Esquire would remain the Team Ninja Warrior home.
However, there was a big announcement in the works. On March 6, it was announced that Team Ninja Warrior would move to the USA Network and premiere on April 18.
So it’s fair to say this has been a bit of an emotional transition. We’re bidding goodbye to Esquire, which has been a very important Ninja Warrior hub for years, but the USA Network has a lot to offer Team Ninja Warrior fans.
The USA Network is a strong home for the show. They ended 2016 as the number one cable network in total viewers. This means fans should have a good chance of having access to watch the show.
The time slot also provides a potential new legion of fans. The show will air on Tuesdays at 10 PM, directly after WWE Smackdown. Wrestling fans, who have a natural love of competition and showmanship, will be introduced to the vivacious characters that make up the Team Ninja Warrior athletes.
USA Network President Chris McCumber shared this quote in a press release announcing the move:
Lastly, there might be a way for total cable-cutters to still watch the show. Recently, YouTube announced “YouTube TV.” The service will allow users to watch regular cable channels on a $35 per month subscription basis. USA Network is one of those channels.
While “YouTube TV” hasn’t provided solid dates as to when it will be fully available, this could mean that any Ninja Warrior fan with a laptop and a spare $35 a month could watch Team Ninja Warrior, which is an exciting prospect.
In the past few weeks, USA Network has ramped up promotion for Team Ninja Warrior, including trailers, show photos and a full list of all the teams competing. The April 18 premiere date is almost here, meaning fans have only a short wait left before their proper introduction to Team Ninja Warrior’s new home.