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Starz Declares: We Are Spartacus!

The world of gladiators comes to life as the Roman Empire's most brutal fighters clash in the ultimate arena. Starz's new series, SPARTACUS, an entirely new twist on the ancient legend, will utilize virtual environments giving it a unique graphic novel look and style, along with a fresh narrative approach. Debuting exclusively on Starz, SPARTACUS will be produced by Starz Media with exec producers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Joshua Donen.

SPARTACUS will begin production in early 2009, debuting on Starz and its suite of channels later in the year.

This is the second original drama series on Starz, and the first drama produced in-house by the premium service's studio sibling, headed by William Hamm, Exec VP, Originals Productions. Hamm brought the project to the channel.

Steven S. DeKnight (SMALLVILLE, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) has been signed as head writer and show-runner of the series, which was developed by Raimi (SPIDER-MAN trilogy), Tapert (THE GRUDGE, XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS) and Donen (THE QUICK AND THE DEAD) and is being produced in New Zealand by Starz Media's Starz Productions. DeKnight is currently consulting on Joss Whedon's DOLLHOUSE and has been tapped to write for an upcoming issue for season eight of the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER comic book series.

From the talented team responsible for some of the biggest action feature film hits, and consistently popular action TV series, "Spartacus" will take the story of the rebellious warrior-slave and re-imagine it for a generation of TV viewers raised on graphic novels and cutting-edge production technology. Audiences will get 13 hour-long episodes of unsparing action, set in the brutal world of gladiators. Because the series is being produced for Starz -- the fastest-growing premium television service -- there is no shortage of intense action and vivid, R-rated storytelling. This will be a TV series with an original narrative and a very unique look and feel, something Starz hopes will be appointment viewing.

"By utilizing the latest digital filmmaking techniques to create the look of this series, we'll be able to tell the story in a way never before seen with production values far beyond what even the most ambitious TV series can offer," Tapert said.

Starz's new SPARTACUS series was inspired by the real-life slave of the Roman Republic who in 73 B.C. 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 Media's Anchor Bay Ent. will hold exclusive worldwide home entertainment distribution rights to SPARTACUS, while the company's worldwide distribution group will handle international television and domestic syndication sales.