It’s been running all season as one of the most physically demanding reality competitions on TV. But it’s been on the G4 network., where it’s been averaging only about 300,000 viewers weekly (and is still that network’s most watched show).
But for the two hour, season three finale of “American Ninja Warrior” (NBC, 9 p.m.), in which U.S. competitors vie to be among the 10 who will be among the 100 competitors in the annual Japanese game, moves suddenly to the big broadcast network and parent of the Universal umbrella of which G4 is a part.
Will it be too late to get emotionally involved with the competitors at this late stage? Oh probably not, as you become engrossed in their oddball challenges of strength and finesse, which make “Wipeout” seem like a circus.
“American Ninja Warrior,” in which 10 finalists travel to Mount Midoriyama, Japan, to compete in the four-stage course that few (of any nationality) master. Only three people (all Japanese) have conquered the obstacle course from the 2,600 who have tried. The prize is a $500,000 endorsement contract. Matt Iseman and Jimmy Smith host, with reports from Alison Haslip.
NBC can afford to lend the time to the finale; the only thing else it seems to have this summer are same-week repeats of “America’s Got Talent” (NBC, 8 p.m.) results shows.
A five day trip to South Africa in 1966 by Sen. Robert F. Kennedy that inspired a timeless speech is chronicled in the new documentary “RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope” (PBS, 10 p.m.), check local listings.
With a new “MasterChef” named (and congratulations to Realtor and former Miss Delaware USA Jennifer Behm of Wilmington), “Hell’s Kitchen” (Fox, 8 p.m.) can expand to two hours.
Parker Posey begins a run on “The Big C” (Showtime, 10:30 p.m.).
Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond return for a new season of the original British “Top Gear” (BBC America, 9 p.m.), with parts of the 80 minute premiere originating from Johannesburg.
La La Vasquez’s marriage to NBA star Carmelo Anthony has become its own reality series: “La La’s Full Court Life” (VH1, 9 p.m.). In the opener, she considers life outside of Denver, depending on what happens in the trade deadline. Consider it a graduation from “Basketball Wives” (VH1, 8 p.m.), whose third season closes with a reunion show. And more sports stuff comes from the season premiere of “The T.O. Show” (VH1, 9:30 p.m.).
Now that it’s been canceled, there are fewer episodes left of “Kate Plus Eight” (TLC, 9 p.m.) than there are children.
Summer Glau pops up on “Alphas” (Syfy, 10 p.m.), a series some fantasy geeks are live blogging, god bless them.
I keep forgetting “Rizzoli & Isles” (TNT, 10 p.m.) is supposed to be set in Boston; tonight they investigate a new witch hunt in nearby Salem, of course.
Tori Spelling is recruited to tell a lesson on “The Millionaire Matchmaker” (Bravo, 9 p.m.). Which never would have happened if Patti Stanger were still in New York instead of Los Angeles.
Ellen DeGeneres helps out with the surprise makeoverof a military family’s home on “HGTV’d” (HGTV, 10 p.m.).
Nobody thinks stocking up on spoiled meat is a particularly good idea on “Hoarders” (A&E, 9 p.m.).
“Tia & Tamera” (Style, 9 p.m.) prepare for Tamera’s wedding.
What’s the food like in Kurdistan? “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” (Travel, 9 p.m.) tries to find out.
“Bachelor Pad” (ABC, 8 p.m.) may be improved immensely once they’re rid of the odious triangle of Jake, Vienna and Kasey. But would anybody watch? Again it clocks in at two hours (!).
A murder hits close to home on a new episode of “The Closer” (TNT, 9 p.m.).
The reality show “Bear Swamp Recovery” (TruTV, 10 p.m.) is neither about bears nor swamps, but repo men in Jersey.
A couple of the greatest films from Pixar are on – “Up” (Encore, 8 p.m.) and “Toy Story 3” (Starz, 9 p.m.).
It’s all about Joan Crawford today on Turner Classic Movies with her films “Possessed” (8 p.m.), “Mildred Pierce” (11 p.m.), “Sadie McKee” (1 a.m.), “The Shining Hour” (2:45 a.m.) and “Montana Moon” (4:15 a.m.) as well as the documentary “Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star” (9:30 p.m.).
It’s Bears at Giants in preseason Monday Night Football (ESPN, 8 p.m.).
Regis and Kelly: Shia LaBeouf, Jane Lynch. The View: Sydney Barrows, John Quinones, Robert Irvine (rerun). The Talk: Julie Bowen, Jason Priestly, Maya Soetoro-Ng, Taraji P. Henson (rerun). Ellen DeGeneres: Orlando Bloom, Josh Groban (rerun). Wendy Williams: Joan Rivers, Fred Armisen (rerun).
David Letterman: Denis Leary, Elizabeth Cook, Tony Royster Jr. Jay Leno: Emma Stone, Adam Carolla, Rickey Minor with Sharon Jones, Grace Potter, Charles Bradley and the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. Jimmy Kimmel: Roseanne Barr, Aaron Paul, Viva Brother (rerun). Jimmy Fallon: Cory Monteith, Lou Dobbs, tUnE-yArDs (rerun). Craig Ferguson: Hugh Laurie, Saffron Burrows. Tavis Smiley: Harry Markopolos. Carson Daly: Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo, Adam Blackstone, the Kills (rerun). Jon Stewart: Matt Long (rerun). Stephen Colbert: Elliott Ackerman (rerun). Conan O’Brien: Tom Hanks, Jack McBrayer, Soundgaarden (rerun). Chelsea Handler: Joey Lawrence, Chris Franjola, Arden Myrin, Josh Wolf.