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‘Team Ninja Warrior’ Renewed for Season 2 at Esquire Network (EXCLUSIVE)

Esquire Network has renewed “Team Ninja Warrior” for Season 2, Variety has learned exclusively.

The upcoming season will consist of 16 episodes, which will include a five-part special event, “Team Ninja Warrior: College Edition,” featuring top college competitors going head-to-head against rival universities.

The first spinoff of the “American Ninja Warrior” franchise, “Team Ninja Warrior” ranks as Esquire’s most-watched original series of all time. The series features teams made up of past competitors from the flagship series.

“Our success last season made clear that viewers love watching these amazing competitors battle against each other on the course, and as we move into season two, we will continue to raise the bar on the competition as teams are even more driven to conquer not only the course, but each other,” said Matt Hanna, Esquire’s executive vice president of development and production. “Now with the introduction of our college edition episodes, we are bringing some of the most infamous college rivalries to life as only Esquire Network can as these schools go head-to-head for the ultimate Ninja bragging rights.”

The “Ninja Warrior” franchise has been part of Esquire Network’s DNA since the cabler’s launch. “American Ninja Warrior” is based on Japan’s hit TV show “Sasuke,” and the former NBCUniversal cabler G4 originally aired cut-down episodes of the show, calling it “Ninja Warrior,” followed up by “Ninja Fest” in 2006 where a number of Americans were chosen compete on the Japanese “Sasuke” course. In 2009, G4 launched “American Ninja Warrior” sending 10 finalists to “Sasuke,” and in 2012, NBC came on board to co-produce with G4 — and eventually Esquire — and air alternated premiere episodes. Today, the series is a full co-production between NBC and Esquire with the cable net airing new episodes the night after the debut on the broadcast net.

This week, “American Ninja Warrior’s” eighth season premieres June 1 on NBC with the Esquire encore on June 2.

The “Team” renewal comes the same day NBC launched a digital series for the flagship “American Ninja Warrior,” first reported by Variety.

“Team Ninja Warrior” is hosted by comedian Matt Iseman and former NFL player Akbar Gbajabiamila. The new season will have an “amped-up version of the world’s most intense obstacle course,” and again will feature teams of three people — two men and one woman. A. Smith & Co. Productions founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed exec produce with Brian Richardson.

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