Channel Nine has unveiled plans for its latest foray into the reality space – Australian Ninja Warrior – revealing the show’s sponsors in the process.
The elite obstacle course program is based on an original Japanese show called Sasuke, which was adapted for the US as American Ninja Warrior which began airing back in 2009.
Nine has unveiled the local version, debuting this Sunday night at 7pm, will have a three-week duration and run three nights a week – Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (weekdays at 7.30pm). Check out the Aussie trailer below:
KFC has been announced as the major sponsor, alongside Berocca and headache tablet firm Advil.
Nine is hoping the Aussie version has a universal family appeal and plays into the Cross Fit health movement that’s so massive at the moment.
“We felt it was fresh in this world of endless reality shows,” Nine’s head of content, Adrian Swift, told B&T. “It’s fresh and I think it taps into the healthy zeitgeist at the moment.
“Anyone can watch it… it’s got fitness, it’s got the perve factor; I think it’s one of those shows that just has something for everyone,” Swift said.
Agencies, too, were quick to get on board the show, realising it wasn’t yet another cooking/singing/reno reality show but something genuinely new, Swift said.
“It was a very easy thing to sell to adland,” he said. “Take them some new drama called My Sister’s Dog or something and that’s a much harder sell, it’s so much easier to understand what Australian Ninja Warrior is trying to achieve and that makes things much easier.”
Interestingly, Swift revealed that the show had been inundated with wannabe contestants ever since it put the call out. Personal trainers, rock climbers, parkour enthusiasts making up the bulk, plus, as Swift revealed, “by far the biggest group were people who had been waiting for the show to come to Australia over the past five years. There has been literally people training in their back gardens for the past five years waiting for someone to put this show on Australian TV.”
The winner of the show is the contestant who manages to get through the course to “Mount Midoriyama”. Apparently it took seven seasons of the US show for anyone to achieve the feat.
Nor does Swift believe the show has similarities to Ten’s Biggest Loser which, thus far, lays claim as TV’s biggest turkey for 2017.
“Biggest Loser is a great international format, but it’s more a schadenfreude show, it’s a ‘run fatty run show’. It’s people looking at fat people and judging them. Contrary, the people turn up at the starting line of Ninja and they challenge themselves against the toughest course in the world. It’s a really different paradigm,” Swift said.