Television Business International

Ninja Warrior travels to Europe from Japan’s TBS

Japanese free-to-air broadcaster TBS will launch its Ninja Warrior format at MIPCOM. The series, which challenges contestants to the complete the world’s toughest obstacle course, has already launched in the US and Asia.

Ludo Poppe’s Eccholine will be working with TBS on the Japanese launch. Poppe is the former boss of Belgian prodco Kanakna.

In the US, the series airs on Comcast’s cable channel G4 in the US and a version has also aired on its broadcast network stable mate NBC. In Asia, the show, known in Japan as Sasuke, has aired in Singapore and Malaysia.

TBS and Eccholine, a division of Ecchomedia, will jointly market a European version of Ninja Warrior with TBS providing the rights and knowhow. Eccholine will be providing production expertise.

The partners said the plan includes a “mobile casting course” that will comprise nine obstacles and travel from city to city.  The taping from each city will produce a week’s worth of stripped episodes culminating in a primetime show crowning the city’s champions.

American Ninja Warrior

Makito Sugiyama, chief of international program and format licensing for TBS said: “With Eccholine on board, we have found a way to bring the excitement of Ninja Warrior to broadcasters in Europe without burdening them with the complexity of this production.”

Japanese formats are in the spotlight at this year’s MIPCOM with a selection of the country’s largest broadcasters, including TBS, presenting their new ideas to buyers at a dinner event. TBS is already working with FremantleMedia to develop and launch its formats in the international market.