PRESS TOUR: Why Starz is ending 'Spartacus'

Thursday, 02 August 2012 01:55 PM Written by 

Spartacus-041411-144_6x4BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- When Starz announced earlier this year that it's top-rated drama "Spartacus" will end after its upcoming third season (premiering in January), I was sort of surprised.

Networks typically don't cancel hits at the top of their ratings with only three seasons (plus a prequel miniseries) under their belts.

So what gives? Find out after the jump. ...

 

Starz chief Chris Albrecht said he joined the network as the first season was being edited and he got concerned with what he saw.

 

"When I saw the end of the first season I thought, uh-oh, they just exited the franchise, the ludus and the 'Upstairs Downstairs' aspect of the show," he said."I think the producers and those of us at Starz were well aware this would be a different show. Once the rebels are in the hills  and the Romans in the town, how do you get the antagonist in the same space without somebody having to die. We ended up having to tell two distinct stories and that's never the ultimate way to tell a great, serialized drama."

The death of original star Andy Whitfield from cancer last year also took the wind out of their sails.

"Having said that, the show was remarkably, really successful and rather than trying to string out a story and have one more battle or one more argument between the rebels or one more villain show up we'd follow the trajectory of the history and bring the Spartacus story to fruition," Albrecht said. "Better to leave people wanting more than risk repeating ourselves and diminish the overall impact of the fracnhise. It was a difficult decsion and certainly one we didn't want to be in the position of making."

As surprising as it is to see a network end a successful series early, this seems like the correct call for "Spartacus" from a storytelling standpoint.

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