MEDIA NOTE: There will not be an online and/or on-demand sneak preview as was
previously announced - Rome's legendary gladiator comes alive in Spartacus:
Blood and Sand, a new Starz original series premiering on The Movie Network
and Movie Central

- The graphic and visceral series premieres Monday, January 25, 2010 at 9 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT

- Episode one will be available to non-subscribers at www.themovienetwork.ca and www.moviecentral.ca on Tuesday, January 26

TORONTO, Dec. 18 /CNW/ - The brutal, primitive and electrifying world of gladiators bolts to life on Astral Media's The Movie Network (Eastern Canada) and Corus Entertainment's Movie Central (Western Canada) with the debut of the new Starz action-adventure original drama series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, premiering Monday, January 25, 2010 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. Weaving together stories rich in character, action, sex and combat, the series uses a unique graphic look and style and a fresh narrative approach to tell the ancient story of the Roman Republic's most famous rebel.

Andy Whitfield stars as the legendary gladiator warrior Spartacus, a soldier in the Roman Auxiliary who is torn from his homeland and the woman he loves and taken prisoner after defying a Roman Legate. Condemned to the gory brutality of the gladiator arena where blood and death are primetime entertainment, Spartacus' sentence is commuted after he survives numerous fights and he's sold as a slave to a wealthy couple who hope to regain their status in the viscous world of gladiatorial contests.

The series also stars Lucy Lawless and John Hannah as Lucretia and Batiatus, the scheming couple who own Spartacus and a gladiator camp, Ludus; 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 Ludus; Antonio Te Maioha as Barca, Batiatus' bodyguard and hit man; Craig Parker as Glaber, a Roman Legate who blames Spartacus for his failed military campaign; and Nick E. Tarabay as Ashur, a former gladiator who is now the Ludus' resident bookie.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand is 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 legion of soldiers, they campaigned for two years through much of what is now Italy before succumbing to a much larger army. The series is executive produced by Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen and Steven S. DeKnight.

The Movie Network and Movie Central will also offer non-subscribers the opportunity to see the first episode free of charge following the television premiere at www.themovienetwork.ca and www.moviecentral.ca from Tuesday, January 26 to Thursday, February 4.

Also debuting on The Movie Network and Movie Central on Monday, January 25 are new seasons of the Showtime series Secret Diary of a Call Girl at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT, and Tracey Ullman's State of the Union at 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT, and the debut of the new Showtime half-hour reality comedy series, La La Land at 11 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

All episodes of Spartacus: Blood and Sand will be simulcast on The Movie Network and Movie Central's High Definition channels and all subsequent episodes will also be available on demand and on The Movie Network OnLine following their network premiere.

The Movie Network is a pay television service available in eastern Canada. With premiere access to Hollywood hit movies, new and exclusive HBO content, critically-acclaimed Showtime series and first-rate Canadian programming, this pay-television service presents Canadians with some of the best television entertainment available. The Movie Network service includes five 24-hour multiplex channels - M, HBO Canada, MExcess, MFun! and MFest - which deliver diverse and entertaining programs in an uncut and commercial-free television environment. The Movie Network also offers The Movie Network HD, HBO Canada HD, MExcess HD and MFun! HD, four dedicated high-definition channels providing hundreds of titles in HD; The Movie Network OnDemand, a Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) service, available in select areas across eastern Canada; and, TMN OnLine an Internet-based content streaming service available to BellTV subscribers. For more information, please visit www.themovienetwork.ca.

The Movie Network is an Astral Media Television Network. Astral Media is a leading Canadian media company, active in specialty and pay television, radio, outdoor advertising and iMedia. Astral Media's solid and dynamic presence in the country's major markets rests on its commitment to offer a unique combination of high-quality, targeted media for all its audiences.

Movie Central is a 24-hour-a-day, commercial-free premium pay-TV service available to Western Canadians. Exclusive multi-year output agreements with major Hollywood studios ensure that Movie Central is the preferred destination for box office titles. In addition to being the first window, Canadian home to HBO content and Showtime, through its investments, pre-buys and licence fees for Canadian feature films and original series, Movie Central is recognized as a major force in the Canadian independent film and television production industry. The launch of Movie Central On Demand and Movie Central High Definition demonstrates that Movie Central remains committed to being first with innovations that enhance the viewing experience. Visit the Movie Central website at www.moviecentral.ca.

Corus Entertainment Inc. is a Canadian-based media and entertainment company. Corus is a market leader in specialty television and radio with additional assets in pay television, advertising services, television broadcasting, children's book publishing and children's animation. The company's multimedia entertainment brands include YTV, Treehouse, W Network, CosmoTV, VIVA, Movie Central, HBO Canada, Nelvana, Kids Can Press and radio stations including CKNW, CKOI and Q107. Corus creates engaging branded entertainment experiences for its audiences across multiple platforms. A publicly traded company, Corus is listed on the Toronto (CJR.B) and New York (CJR) exchanges. Experience Corus on the web at www.corusent.com.

For access to The Movie Network's media room or Movie Central's press site, please visit http://tv.astral.com or http://pressroom.corusent.com.

SOURCE The Movie Network

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: The Movie Network (eastern Canada), Nicolle Balen, (416) 956-8638, nbalen@tv.astral.com; Movie Central (western Canada), Owen McCorquodale, (416) 530-2249, owen.mccorquodale@corusent.com

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