Starz Already Renews <i>Spartacus</i>

Demonstrating confidence in a new actor in the title role, Starz has renewed Spartacus for a third season more than two months before the premiere of Spartacus: Vengeance.

Liam McIntyre debuts Jan. 27 as the legendary Thracian slave, replacing original star Andy Whitfield, who left following the first season to undergo treatments for a recurrence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He passed away Sept. 11.

McIntyre will be joined in the second season by returning stars Lucy Lawless, Peter Mensah, Manu Bennett, Dustin Clare, Nick E. Tarabay, Katrina Law, Craig Parker and Viva Bianca.

"Many surprises are in store for Vengeance viewers this year, but rest assured the multi-layered plot and richly developed characters will continue to be a trademark of this series," Executive Producer Rob Tapert said in a statement. "It's incredibly gratifying to see how the story has resonated so well with viewers worldwide."

Production on Season 3 is expected to begin in early 2012 in New Zealand. Spartacus: Vengeance premieres Friday, Jan. 27, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.

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