G4TV's 'American Ninja Warrior' Heads To NBC Monday Night

On Monday (9 p.m. ET/PT), the network airs the third-season finale of American Ninja Warrior, the extreme-obstacle-course athletic event carried by its tiny cable sibling G4 that could prove a test of the show's viability on a major network.

Already it's G4's highest-rated series. Now NBC viewers will see 10 finalists who weathered tryouts and a training "boot camp" trek to Japan to compete in the four-stage course for the chance to win a $500,000 endorsement contract.

Unlike ABC's Wipeout, played for broad laughs, Ninja Warrior is serious business, a variation on a niche sport known as parkour. It's an Americanized version of Sasuke (SAS-kay), a 14-year-old Japanese series that airs twice-yearly tournaments that send 100 contestants through a timed gantlet of a spinning bridge, a 110-pound wall lift and the ultimate cliffhanger, a narrow shelf navigated by fingertips in a punishing test of upper-body strength...only three people [out of 2,600] have achieved "total victory."

"This is definitely the toughest challenge out there," says finalist Brent Steffensen...

Aside from Steffensen, this year's field includes Ryan Stratis, a National Guardsman who qualified for his first trip after five years of attempts, and veteran Paul Kasemir, whose girlfriend and her father died in a hiking accident two weeks before the tournament...

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