LET THE GAMES BEGIN. THE STARZ ORIGINAL SERIES SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA DEBUTS ON THE MOVIE NETWORK AND MOVIE CENTRAL THIS MONTH

  • The highly anticipated six-part prequel to Spartacus: Blood and Sand premieres Sunday, January 23 at 10 p.m. ET/MT
  • Free online sampling opportunity begins Saturday, January 22 at www.themovienetwork.ca and www.moviecentral.ca

TORONTO, Jan. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral's The Movie Network (Eastern Canada) and Corus Entertainment's Movie Central (Western Canada) are once again entering the brutal, visceral world of Ancient Roman gladiators with Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, a six-part prequel to the Starz action-adventure original drama series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The uniquely graphic series will premiere Sunday, January 23 at 10 p.m. ET on The Movie Network and 10 p.m. MT on Movie Central.

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena centres around Gannicus (new cast member Dustin Clare), the charismatic gladiator aspiring to become Champion of Capua and of the House of Batiatus. With political ambitions and poised to overthrow his father and take control of the House, a young Batiatus (John Hannah) will freely betray anyone to ensure his gladiators are in the highest demand. With his loyal and calculating wife Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) by his side, they will stop at nothing to deceive the masses.

In addition to Hannah and Lawless, the series also stars returning cast members Peter Mensah as Oenomaus before he becomes the gladiator trainer Doctore, and Manu Bennett as the gladiator Crixus. New cast members also include Jaime Murray as Capua's sexy social climber Gaia; Marisa Ramirez as Melitta, a beautiful slave who must face the ultimate decision of the heart; and Jeffrey Thomas as Batiatus' father Titus. The six-part, one-hour series is produced by Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen and Steven S. DeKnight.

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena will be simulcast on The Movie Network and Movie Central's High Definition channels and new episodes will be available on demand following their network premieres. New episodes of the series will also be available on The Movie Network OnLine following their premieres.

FREE ONLINE SAMPLING OPPORTUNITY
Beginning Saturday, January 22, The Movie Network and Movie Central will also offer a free, two-week online sampling of the premiere episode of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. The episode will be available free-of-charge at www.themovienetwork.ca and www.moviecentral.ca.

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, Rogers and Videotron subscribers. For more information, please visit www.themovienetwork.ca .

The Movie Network is a member of the Astral family. Astral (TSX: ACM.A/ACM.B) is one of Canada's largest media companies. It operates several of the country's most popular pay and specialty television, radio, out-of-home advertising and digital media properties. Astral plays a central role in community life across the country by offering diverse, rich and vibrant programming that meets the tastes and needs of consumers and advertisers. To learn more about Astral, visit astral.com.

Movie Central is a commercial-free premium pay TV service available in western Canada. Movie Central premieres the best in Hollywood, international and Canadian films across nine 24-hour movie channels, including dedicated high-definition feeds, a Movie Central On Demand service and exclusive HBO content on HBO Canada. Movie Central is also the first window for Showtime content and home to cutting-edge Canadian series. A major force in the Canadian independent film and television production industry, Movie Central, through The Corus Made with Pay Fund, supports many critically-acclaimed and award-winning Canadian series and films. Visit the Movie Central website at www.moviecentral.ca.

Movie Central is owned by Corus Entertainment Inc., a Canadian-based media and entertainment company. Corus is a market leader in specialty television and radio with additional assets in pay television, television broadcasting, children's book publishing and children's animation. 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://mediacentre.corusent.com.

SOURCE The Movie Network

For further information:

Media contacts:

The Movie Network (eastern Canada)   
Nicolle Balen        
(416) 956-8638      
nbalen@astral.com      

Movie Central (western Canada)
Owen McCorquodale  
(416) 479-6068
owen.mccorquodale@corusent.com

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