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Spartacus: Gods of the Arena on The Box in New Zealand 01 May 2011

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, the highly anticipated prequel to Spartacus: Blood and Sand, telling the story of the original Champion of the House of Batiatus, will premiere on The BOX on Sunday, 1 May at 9.30pm.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the first season in the Spartacus series franchise, one of the highest rating series on pay television in the United States, quickly became an audience favourite with BOX viewers when it premiered in New Zealand last year.

The prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, was watched by over 2.8 million viewers when it premiered in the US earlier this year and now the powerful series, complete with an irresistible cast, is set to confront Kiwi audiences.

The series follows the character Gannicus (Dustin Clare, Underbelly), the first gladiator to become Champion of Capua. Cast members and characters being reprised from the original series include John Hannah (The Mummy, Four Weddings and A Funeral) as Batiatus, Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) as Lucretia, Peter Mensah (300, The Incredible Hulk) as Oenomaus, and Manu Bennett (30 Days of Night, Street Legal) as Crixus.

Joining returning stars will be additional cast members Jaime Murray (Hu$tle) as Gaia, Marisa Ramirez (General Hospital) as Melitta and Temuera Morrison (Star Wars, Once Were Warriors) as Doctore.

"It's exciting to bring another exhilarating season of our top show of 2010 to viewers next month," says The BOX Channel Manager, Tom Fox.

"Fans of Spartacus: Blood And Sand will not be disappointed as this series is as passionate and brutal as its sequel".

Filmed in New Zealand, the production team includes Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Legend of the Seeker), Rob Tapert (Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Legend of the Seeker), Joshua Donen (Drag Me to Hell) and Steven S DeKnight (Smallville, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena screens Sundays, 9.30pm from 1 May on The BOX, SKY Channel 005.

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