Both Seven and Ten were eyeing-up the rights to Australian Ninja Warrior but passed on the opportunity due to the high costs and fears it wouldn’t rate with viewers.
Nine, as we now know, took the risk and the show was a ratings bonanza for the network, making it the most watched show of 2017 outside of the State of Origin series. Its finale pulled a staggering 2.15 million viewers last Tuesday night.
Nine is said to have paid $3 million for the license from overseas, while each episode was said to have cost $1.5 million to make. Hence, why Nine only ran the series for three weeks, while the network was said to be very nervous the show could tank.
KFC paid $4 million to be this year’s major sponsor, alongside Berocca and headache tablet firm Advil.
According to reports on Fairfax Media over the weekend, Endemol Shine, the Aussie producers of the show, had shopped Ninja around to all the networks for a number of years before Nine’s boss, Hugh Marks, agreed to take a risk on it.
Apparently Seven was keen on the show but went cold at the last minute. Seven bosses must be ruing its decision, particularly as Ninja smashed anything it was up against.
It has also been reported that Seven are now planning their own version of the show. Although actual details remain vague.
Seven was also forced to postpone its new Sunday night entertainment show Little Big Shots over fears it would cop a ratings kicking by Ninja.
Speaking to B&T just prior to the launch Ninja’s debut, Nine’s head of content, Adrian Swift, said agencies had been very receptive to the Ninja concept. “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.”