StarzLos Angeles, Calif. (NCTA Cable Show 2010) – May 11, 2010 – Pre-production is underway on a six-part prequel to Starz’ hit original series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.” Production on the second season of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” was postponed this spring to allow Andy Whitfield, who played the title character in the first season, to be treated for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in New Zealand. His doctors indicate that the actor is responding well. Whitfield 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.

“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 rating.* The production team remains intact for the six-part prequel.