EXCLUSIVE: Syfy has acquired U.S. basic cable rights to all 39 episodes of Starz‘s Spartacus. That includes the three seasons of the swords-and-sandals drama as well as the six-part prequel Gods Of The Arena. Spartacus will make its Syfy debut June 26 and will air at 10 PM, following original series Defiance and Dominion.
The Spartacus deal comes 16 years after then-5-year-old Sci Fi Channel made its biggest acquisition pact to date, spending $150 million for the exclusive basic cable rights to three other Showtime series, Stargate SG-1, The Outer Limits and Poltergeist: The Legacy. Stargate and Poltergeist went on to become original series on Sci Fi, which ordered additional seasons — five for Stargate and one for Poltergeist. Stargate became a signature series for Sci Fi, spawning a franchise.
Spartacus, which was bought from Starz Worldwide Distribution, joins Syfy’s other acquired series including Lost Girl, Bitten, Continuum and the upcoming The Almighty Johnsons (July), Z-Nation (fall) and Olympus (2015). “Our strategy of acquiring hit shows to complement our premium original scripted series has really resonated with our audience,” said Chris Regina, SVP Programming. “With its action-soaked storylines and powerful characters, Spartacus will be a dynamic addition to our schedule.” Also factoring into Syfy’s decision is the fact that, having aired on a pay cable network, Spartacus has not been exposed to a very wide audience.
Inspired by the true story of the famous slave-turned-gladiator of the Roman Republic, Spartacus was created by Steven S. DeKnight who executive produced the series with Rob Tapert and Joshua Donen. The title character was originally played by Andy Whitfield. Following his death, Liam McIntyre took on the role. Lucy Lawless, John Hannah, Erin Cummings, Peter Mensah, Manu Bennett and Craig Parker co-starred.