Starz Stocks Up on ‘Spartacus’

Sam Raimi action series gets renewed before it premieres.

Last Updated: December 21, 2009 @ 12:33 PM

Hoping to drum up media interest in is new Sam Raimi-produced series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," Starz Monday announced it was ordering a second season of the series.

The network called it a "bold vote of confidence," though, in fact, it probably just reflects the fact that Starz doesn’t really worry about ratings for its shows. As long as the network thinks a series will help keep up subscriber counts and has a chance at some backend revenues (via DVD sales, for example), there’s no reason not to order more episodes.

And by doing so now, before the show premieres, Starz gets TV reporters looking for something to write during a slow holiday period to help publicize their new show. Sneaky, huh?

Stephan Shelanski, head of programming for Starz Entertainment, called the "Spartacus" series "the most ambitious original project we’ve ever undertaken, and speaks to the commitment to our subscribers to provide truly original programming."

Starz has ordered 13 more episodes of "Spartacus." The second installment in the series will be subtitled "Vengeance." The first round of episodes will begin airing Jan. 22.

Rob Tapert (The Grudge, “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”), Raimi (Spider-Man and The Evil Dead), Joshua Donen (The Quick and the Dead) and Steven S. DeKnight (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) are executive producing the franchise for Starz.