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Uprising: Starz Renews "Spartacus" for Second Season

In an unusual move, pay cabler Starz has renewed Spartacus for a second season, over a month before the first season, entitled Spartacus: Blood and Sand is set to debut.

Starz handed out a thirteen-episode second season order to Spartacus today, which will begin production on Season Two in early 2010 in New Zealand. The plot details for Season Two, expected to be entitled Sparactus: Vengeance, are being kept firmly under wraps. Executive producers Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen, and Steven S. DeKnight (who is also the series' head writer) will all return for Season Two.

"We couldn’t be happier with the first season. Spartacus delivers on all levels – action, characters, intrigue, romance and excitement," said Stephan Shelanski, Starz Entertainment EVP, Programming, in a statement. "Spartacus is the most ambitious original project we’ve ever undertaken, and speaks to the commitment to our subscribers to provide truly original programming along with our unmatched lineup of theatrical features."

"Steven S. DeKnight and his team of writers have created a rich narrative that lays the groundwork for more great stories," added Tapert. "The slave rebellion led by Spartacus and the oh-so-current political intrigue and personal dynamics laid out in the first season provide rich source material for the second season and beyond."

Season One of Spartacus is set to premiere on January 21st on Starz.

The full press release from Starz announcing the pickup can be found below.

STARZ RETURNS TO THE ARENA WITH MORE ‘SPARTACUS’
Second Season of Highly Anticipated Action Adventure Series Gets
Green Light Prior To January 22 Premiere


Burbank, Calif. – December 21, 2009 – In a bold vote of confidence, Starz executives announced plans today to order a second season of the ground-breaking new original series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” set to premiere Friday, January 22nd at 10 pm ET/PT. The unusual timing of the renewal, more than one month prior to the debut of the highly anticipated program, gives returning executive producers Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen and Steven S. DeKnight (who is also the head writer on the show) the green light to start production in New Zealand on 13 new episodes in the first quarter of 2010.

“We couldn’t be happier with the first season. Spartacus delivers on all levels – action, characters, intrigue, romance and excitement,” said Starz Entertainment EVP, Programming, Stephan Shelanski. “Spartacus is the most ambitious original project we’ve ever undertaken, and speaks to the commitment to our subscribers to provide truly original programming along with our unmatched lineup of theatrical features.”

“Steven S. DeKnight and his team of writers have created a rich narrative that lays the groundwork for more great stories,” added Executive Producer Rob Tapert. “The slave rebellion led by Spartacus and the oh-so-current political intrigue and personal dynamics laid out in the first season provide rich source material for the second season and beyond.”

The title of the second season is expected to be “Spartacus: Vengeance,” but other details are being kept under wraps, so as not to spoil any of the sure-to-shock plot twists the first season promises to deliver.

Nearly 4 million moviegoers saw the new “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” trailer in theaters over the weekend and it is expected to hit wide online today.

“Spartacus: Blood and Sand” features Australian newcomer Andy Whitfield as the title character, a Thracian fighting to return to his wife after being sold into slavery at a gladiatorial school. He is joined by Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Battlestar: Galactica”) as the deceptive Lucretia, John Hannah (The Mummy movies) as her power-hungry husband Batiatus, Peter Mensah (300) as the head of the gladiatorial school, Doctore, along with a cast of familiar as well as fresh faces.

The series is shot utilizing virtual environments in the graphic novel style of such successful features as 300 and Sin City. The process gives the show a fresh narrative approach and a hyper-realistic look that is unlike anything yet seen on TV. It’s an entirely new vision of the ancient legend.

Debuting exclusively on Starz, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is produced by Starz Media with Executive Producers Rob Tapert (The Grudge, “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”), Sam Raimi (Spider-Man and The Evil Dead), Joshua Donen (The Quick and the Dead) and Steven S. DeKnight (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”).

About Starz Media
Starz Media, LLC, is a programming production and distribution company operating worldwide. It includes the Film Roman, Anchor Bay Entertainment, and Manga Entertainment brands. Its units create animated and live-action programming -- including theatrical films -- and programming created under contract for other media companies. It distributes that programming, and programming acquired from outside producers, through home video retailers, theaters, broadcasters, ad supported and premium television channels, and Internet and wireless video distributors in the US and internationally. Starz Media (www.starzmedia.com) is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation attributed to the Liberty Capital Group.

About Starz Entertainment
Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie service provider operating in the United States. It offers 16 movie channels including the flagship Starz® and Encore® brands with approximately 17.3 million and 30.7 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs more than 1,000 movies per month across its pay TV channels and offers advanced services including Starz HD, Encore HD, Starz On Demand, Encore On Demand, MoviePlex On Demand, Starz HD On Demand, Encore HD On Demand, MoviePlex HD On Demand, and Starz Play. Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation, and is attributed to Liberty Starz (NASDAQ: LSTZA), a tracking stock group of Liberty Media Corporation.

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