“Spartacus” has been, by far, the most-watched original series Starz has put on the air in the past few years, so the decision to end it after the coming season came as something of a surprise.
But, Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht says, both the network and the show’s producers agreed that it would be better to end it now rather than drag it out.
“I joined Starz when we were editing the first season of the show, and when I saw the end of the first season, I thought, Uh oh, they just exited the franchise — which was the ludus and the ‘Upstairs/Downstairs’ aspect of the show — and now they are in the movie,” Albrecht told reporters Thursday (Aug. 2) at the TCA press tour. “I think the producers and those of us at Starz were always well aware that this was going to be a very different show once the rebels were in the hills and the Romans were in the town.”
The major shift in storytelling after the first season — coupled with the death of the show’s original star, Andy Whitfield — made for tougher ways to find entry to the story, Albrecht says.
“Ultimately, what all of the producers felt, along with us, is that rather than try and string out a story and have one more battle or one more argument between the rebels or one more villain show up, we would kind of follow the trajectory of the history and bring the ‘Spartacus’ story to fruition,” Albrecht says. “[It’s] better probably to leave people wanting more than to risk repeating ourselves and diminish the overall impact of the franchise. But it was a very difficult decision and one we certainly didn’t want to be in the position of making.”
The final season of “Spartacus,” subtitled “War of the Damned,” will premiere in January. Series creator Steven S. DeKnight, meanwhile, is working on a new project called “Incursion,” a sci-fi show Albrecht describes as “‘Band of Brothers’ meets ‘Halo.'”