'Spartacus' premiere sets Starz record

Friday's series debut is network's most-watched

Starz new original series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" got off to a fairly impressive start Friday evening.

The gory drama pulled 553,000 viewers on Starz and then gathered another 460,000 on Encore, according to Nielsen figures provided to the network.

Those are modest overall numbers, but in Starz' brief history as a player in the original series game, it's easily their most-watched debut yet. It also handily beats the performance of "Crash," whose most recent and final season debuted to 185,000.

The folks at Starz expects once all sources of viewership are tallied, such as DVR and repeats this week, the "Spartacus" premiere will clear two million viewers.