American Ninja Warrior spinoff Team Ninja Warrior is moving to USA Network next month from its original home on sibling Esquire Network. Hosted by comedian Matt Iseman and former NFL player Akbar Gbajabiamila, Team Ninja Warrior will premiere its 11-part second season on USA at 10 PM Tuesday, April 18, immediately following WWE SmackDown.
The move follows the announcement in January that Esquire, a partnership between NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines, will cease operations as a linear TV network following carriage losses. Esquire will continue as a digital-only brand, which was expected to feature original programming. The lineup won’t include Team Ninja Warrior, which launched last year as the network’s most watched original series. The mothership American Ninja Warrior already had migrated to NBC, where it has been a summer staple.
Team Ninja Warrior pits three-person athletic teams against one another on physically demanding, side-by-side obstacle courses that test endurance and speed. For Season 2, fan-favorite competitors from NBC’s Emmy-nominated American Ninja Warrior will form 28 teams, each with two men and one woman, and settle their rivalries on the warped wall — for ultimate ninja bragging rights. In addition to hosts announcers Iseman and Gbajabiamila, Fox Sports’ Alex Curry will serve as sideline reporter.
“Team Ninja Warrior is a perfect pairing to WWE SmackDown,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “With this powerful franchise, we’re giving our passionate audience three full hours of jam-packed, high-stakes action every Tuesday night.”
Team Ninja Warrior is executive-produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions’ founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed (Hell’s Kitchen), along with Brian Richardson as executive producer.