Media Release — The dawn of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is drawing near, as the much-anticipated Starz original series debuts this week. But even before it premieres at 10:00 PM (ET/PT) on Starz on January 22, the series will be available via on-demand and online series previews, beginning on January 20. Episode 2 will follow the same staggered release schedule one week later, January 27 for on-demand and online previewing, followed by January 29 for the Starz 10:00 PM premiere.
Participating cable and satellite affiliates offering the free on-demand sampling opportunities for the first two full episodes include (alphabetically):
Charter Communications (HD), Comcast (HD), Cox Communications (HD), DIRECTV (HD on The 101 Network), Insight Communications (HD), Mediacom Communications Corporation (HD).
(“HD” noted above = HD On Demand availability for free preview)
DIRECTV will also offer episodes 1 and 2 of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” for all subscribers on The 101 Network in both HD and standard definition, beginning with episode 1 on January 21st at midnight (ET/PT), followed by episode 2 on The 101 on January 28th, also at midnight (ET/PT) .
Fancast (www.fancast.com) and Starz.com will have free full-episode streams of episodes 1 and 2 available for early sampling on January 20 and January 27, respectively, while iTunes will make available free downloadable podcasts of the first two full episodes of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” on January 22 and January 29 respectively.
“Spartacus: Blood and Sand” iPhone Game, Motion Comic, Workout Details; iTunes Storefront
As the anticipation to the debut of ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand” builds, Starz Digital Media announced the recent launch of the “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” mobile game designed for iPhone and iPod touch with Artificial Life, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: ALIF). The game utilizes the multi-touch and Wi-Fi connectivity features of the popular mobile devices and brings to life the action and violence in the series.
Also, Starz Digital Media, in association with Double Barrel Motion Labs, is bringing to market a four-part “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” motion comic series. The first three installments of the motion comic series are available now for purchase on the Amazon, iTunes, PlayStation® Network, and Xbox LIVE platforms, with the fourth and final episode of the series available beginning tomorrow.
Digital versions of the “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” official comic book print series, produced by Starz in association with Devil’s Due Publishing, are available for purchase on iTunes through various iPhone applications, including the newly launched Graphic.ly digital content delivery platform.
Finally, in partnership with Men’s Health magazine, the official “Spartacus” workout is available as a free download at the iTunes App Store. The workout was designed by Men’s Health fitness experts to get anyone into fighting shape for the new year.
The first two episode podcasts, motion comic series, mobile game, and Men’s Health workouts are all available at the “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” iTunes Storefront at www.starz.com/spartacus_itunes.
“This series will make an impact with viewers due to its unique look and style and incredible performances by its talented cast,” said Stephan Shelanski, executive vice president, programming for Starz Entertainment. “We are delighted that the interest from our multichannel video and online affiliates has been so strong and are optimistic that the series will be very well received.”
Marc DeBevoise, senior vice president, digital media, business development and strategy for Starz Media and lead executive for Starz Digital Media added, “This incredible and unique series presented us with several digital opportunities to reach the prospective fan base. Motion comics and mobile games are but two ways that we can promote the new series in advance of its debut and offer additional outlets for meeting the demands of the fans.”
The official “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” trailer, motion comic trailers and behind the scenes videos are available at www.starz.com/spartacus. Follow “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” on Twitter: @spartacus_starz and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/spartacus.starz.
About “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”
Produced by Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen and Steven S. DeKnight, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is the most highly anticipated original series in the history of Starz and is scheduled to debut on the pay TV network.
The UK-born and Australia-based Andy Whitfield portrays Spartacus, a soldier in the Roman Auxiliary who is taken prisoner. As punishment for defying a Roman Legate, Spartacus is sentenced to die in the gladiator arena. But after surviving numerous fights, his sentence is commuted and he is sold as a slave to be trained as a gladiator. A newcomer in the U.S., Whitfield has gained acclaim in numerous Australian drama series and also starred in the feature film Gabriel, one of the highest grossing films at the Australian box office in 2007.
Lucy Lawless is cast as Lucretia, who along with her husband Batiatus (John Hannah), own the slave Spartacus and the gladiator camp where the former soldier learns the ways of the arena fighter. The couple has fallen on hard times financially and has bought Spartacus hoping his fighting prowess will help them regain their status in the brutal world of gladiatorial contests. Among her many roles, Lawless is best known for portraying “Xena: Warrior Princess” in the long-running global hit series, and has appeared in Syfy’s critically acclaimed “Battlestar Galactica.”
Hannah is the BAFTA Film Awards nominee best known for his work in The Mummy trilogy as well as Four Weddings and a Funeral and on a number of successful British TV series, including “Rebus,” “New Street Law” and “MDs.”
Additional cast members include: Erin Cummings as Spartacus’ Thracian wife, Sura; Peter Mensah as Doctore, Batiatus’ most loyal and trusted slave; Manu Bennett (30 Days of Night, The Condemned) as Crixus, the top gladiator at Batiatus’ gladiator school; Antonio Te Maioha (“Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Legend of the Seeker”) as Barca, a big, hulking brute of a man who is Batiatus’ bodyguard and hit man; Craig Parker (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, “Legend of the Seeker”) as Glaber, a Roman Legate, who blames Spartacus for his failed military campaign; and Nick E. Tarabay (“Crash,” “The Sopranos”) as Ashur, a former gladiator who is now the school’s resident bookie.
DeKnight is the head writer for the series, which was produced in New Zealand by Starz Media. DeKnight consulted on Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” and will be writing the upcoming eighth installment of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” comic book series.
Starz’ new “Spartacus” series was inspired by the actual slave of the Roman Republic who in 73 BC led a slave revolt that grew to more than 120,000 fighters. Defying the Roman Republic’s legions of soldiers, they campaigned for two years through much of what is now Italy before succumbing to a much larger army. The new series will tell a new set of stories rich in character, action, sex and combat.
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 17.3 million and 30.7 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs more than 1,000 movies and new original series every 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, a tracking stock group of Liberty Media Corporation.
Starz Digital Media, an operating division of Starz Media, LLC, is responsible for all digital and on-demand distribution of library content from Overture Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Starz Originals from Starz Entertainment, and Manga Entertainment. Through a range of distribution and marketing partnerships with multichannel video providers, Internet distributors and wireless operators worldwide, Starz Digital Media makes its content available under numerous business models including download-to-own/electronic sell-through, video-on-demand, pay-per-view, subscription video-on-demand and ad-supported streaming. The division also programs and supports numerous ad-supported broadband channels and develops games and gaming-related content from many of its properties for distribution worldwide.