News Release Issued: January 26, 2010 4:47 PM EST
Record Audience of 3.3 Million Powers Weekend Debut of New Starz Original Series, 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand'
ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Updated figures for the series premiere of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" indicate that more than 3.3 million total viewers* tuned in for episode one of the new Starz Original, a record performance for a series debut on the premium pay TV network.
Based on live plus same-day DVR viewing, the Friday night 10PM ET/PT airing on Starz drew a 2.1 HH rating (661,000 viewers) and Encore a 1.2 rating (580,000 viewers), or more than 1.2 million viewers combined. An additional 430,000 viewers (1.6 HH rating) watched at 11PM ET/PT on Starz.
The 3.3 million viewership figure includes three additional weekend airings on Starz and Encore with same-day DVR usage. Figures from other Starz channels, additional DVR usage, starz.com viewership and on-demand/online previews with affiliates are expected to grow that figure well past 4 million total viewers.
With a gross average viewing audience of more than 2.5 million for the six Starz/Encore airings, Stephan Shelanski, executive vice president, programming for Starz Entertainment commented, "This is the most successful premiere in the company's history. We are very gratified to see that our excitement and faith in the series - already renewed for a second season - has been matched by initial demand. This show is unlike anything ever seen on television, and we are confident that passion for the series will grow as the character development and incredible story arcs unfold."
Post-premiere episodes of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" debut on Starz on Fridays at 10PM ET/PT with an additional airing on Sunday nights at 10PM ET/PT.
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. The 13-episode hour-long drama was renewed for an epic second season prior to the series premiere on January 22, 2010.
The UK-born and Australia-based Andy Whitfield portrays Spartacus, a soldier in the Roman Auxiliary who is taken prisoner. 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. Additional cast members include: Erin Cummings as Spartacus' Thracian wife, Sura; Peter Mensah as Doctore, Batiatus' most loyal and trusted slave; Manu Bennett as Crixus, the top gladiator at Batiatus' gladiator school; Antonio Te Maioha as Barca, who is Batiatus' bodyguard and hit man; Craig Parker as Glaber, who blames Spartacus for his failed military campaign; and Nick E. Tarabay as Ashur, a former gladiator who is now the school's resident bookie. 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 is the exclusive subscription television and broadband provider of Starz Originals (including "Party Down," "Crash," "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," and "Gravity") and feature films. First-run movies are from leading Hollywood studios including Walt Disney Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Overture Films, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Pixar, TriStar, Screen Gems, Sony Classics and Warren Miller Films. Starz licenses hundreds of feature films from a wide array of independent distributors including IFC, Yari Film Group, and Summit Entertainment and a vast collection of classic and favorite titles from most Hollywood studios, including Warner Bros., Universal and MGM.
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 (NASDAQ: LSTZA), a tracking stock group of Liberty Media Corporation.
*3.3 million viewers based on Live + Same Day P2+ Cume estimates across Starz and Encore channels, Nielsen NPOWER 1/22/10 - 1/24/10. All Ratings references based on Live + SD HH Coverage Area estimates for respective program telecasts. All other viewer references based on Live + Same Day P2+ Average Audience and Gross Average Audience estimates for Starz and Encore, Nielsen NPOWER 1/22/10 - 1/24/10. Subject to qualifications available upon request.