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Starz's 'Spartacus' Prequel Delivers Record Ratings

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

UPDATED: Starz released numbers Wednesday for its encore viewings on Saturday and Sunday, which added nearly 1 million more viewers, putting the Spartacus weekend total to 2.8 million.

Starz can breathe easy.

The debut episode of Spartacus prequel Gods of the Arena, drew 1.1 million viewers at 10 p.m. on Friday, roughly 400,000 more viewers than the Andy Whitfield-led series opener last year.

For its 11 p.m. encore, Gods of the Arena tacked on 753,000 more viewers, making its combined tally of nearly 1.9 million viewers. The original Spartacus: Blood and Sand premiere drew a combined 1.1 million.

Though it was significantly higher than the Blood and Sand opener, Gods of the Arena premiere was down compared with the finale (1.1 million vs. 1.2 million).

Friday's two-hour tally was significant, in that it outdrew the original by 70%.

Starz recently announced that Aussie actor Liam McIntyre would take over the lead role of Spartacus for the second season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand after Whitfield exited to complete cancer treatment.