Starz renews 'Spartacus' before it premieres

Action-drama's first season debuts Jan. 22

Starz is renewing its upcoming action-drama "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" -- and the series hasn't even premiered yet.

Starz called the move "a bold vote of confidence."

"We couldn't be happier with the first season," said Starz Entertainment EVP, Programming, Stephan Shelanski. "'Spartacus' delivers on all levels – action, characters, intrigue, romance and excitement. 'Spartacus' is the most ambitious original project we've ever undertaken, and speaks to the commitment to our subscribers to provide truly original programming along with our unmatched lineup of theatrical features."

The network is debuting the bloody spectacle, which uses the graphic novel style of films like "300," on Jan. 22. The second season will be titled, "Spartacus: Vengeance."

This isn't the first time a network has renewed a show before its series debut. Showtime made headlines by ordering a second season of its Hank Azaria drama "Huff" before its debut (and the series only lasted two seasons). Though such a move does indeed show confidence, it can also reduce costs by preventing a break in production.