EXCLUSIVE THURSDAY UPDATE: I hear that none of the three actors who screen tested for the Spartacus lead this week, Stephen Amell, Aiden Turner and Liam McIntyre, got the role. However, Starz is still holding onto McIntyre, the Australian, while the other two have been released. He may still get to be the next Spartacus, succeeding the ailing Andy Whitfield. But I hear Starz brass is considering all options for its hit series, including the possibility of ending it or bringing in someone else for the lead.

EXCLUSIVE MONDAY: Three Actors Vying For ‘Spartacus’ Lead: Stephen Amell, Aiden Turner and Liam McIntyre.The search for the new lead of Starz’s flagship drama series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, is entering its final stage, with the field narrowed down to three actors: Stephen Amell, Aiden Turner and Liam McIntyre. I hear the three are being flown to New Zealand for screen tests and to meet with the show’s cast and crew, with a final decision on who would be the next Spartacus expected as early as this week. The actor will replace original Spartacus star Andy Whitfield who dropped out in September when his cancer returned. He was first diagnosed with treatable Stage 1 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in early March when the series was in pre-production on Season 2. Whitfield’s cancer recurrence put the second season of Spartacus in limbo, leaving the series’ producers with a choice to recast the role or end the series,which put Starz on the original programming map with its highly-rated first season. Ultimately, they launched a search for a new actor to play the famous gladiator. Like Australian Whitfield was before he landed Spartacus, Canadian Amell (Closing the Ring), Brit Turner (All My Children) and Australian McIntyre (The Pacific) are relatively unknown foreign actors with chiseled looks and impressive physique. Turner is the most familiar name because of his long run on All My Children and as a contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. The Spartacus prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, is slated to launch in January.