Starz has come up with a good way to deal with production downtime for the second season of Spartacus Blood and Sand while Andy Whitfield gets treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: a prequel.
Any solution involving more John Hannah and Lucy Lawless should sit well with fans.
via press release:
Production on Starz' 'Spartacus' Six-Part Prequel to Begin This Summer
Andy Whitfield to Appear In Two Episodes Along With Lucy Lawless, John Hannah, Peter Mensah Plus Other Returning and New Characters
LOS ANGELES, May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- NCTA Cable Show 2010 -- Pre-production is underway on a six-part prequel to Starz' hit original series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand."
Andy Whitfield, who played the title character in the series, will appear in the prequel briefly, but Lucy Lawless and John Hannah take center stage in this story of the rise of the House of Batiatus and its champions before Spartacus arrives as a captured Thracian slave. With the title still to be determined, the prequel will begin production this summer in New Zealand, and is slated to air on Starz in January 2011.
John Hannah returns as Batiatus, owner of the Ludus, along with his wife Lucretia, played by Lucy Lawless. Other returning actors include Peter Mensah (Doctore), Manu Bennett (Crixus), Antonio Te Maioha (Barca), Nick E. Tarabay (Ashur), Lesley-Ann Brandt (Naevia) – and others. New characters will also be added – most notably the gladiator who was champion of the House of Batiatus before Spartacus or even Crixus – who will help fill in the story about the people and politics in the House of Batiatus and ancient Capua as a whole.
Production on the second season of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" was postponed this spring to allow Andy Whitfield to be treated for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in New Zealand. His doctors indicate that the actor is responding well.
"The prequel story maintains the excitement and entertainment value of the first season of 'Spartacus,' giving audiences the engaging experience they've come to expect," said Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht. "We look forward to continuing the Spartacus story."
Produced by Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen and Steven S. DeKnight, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" was the highest rated show for the 18-49 demographic among all cable networks for 12 of the 13 Fridays on which it aired based on coverage.* The production team remains intact for the six-part prequel.
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 17.1 million and 31.1 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 ( LSTZA), a tracking stock group of Liberty Media Corporation.
*Source: Nielsen Live + SD Coverage Ratings for A18-49 each Friday between 1/29/10 – 4/16/10 among all basic and premium cable channels.