The second season premiere of "Spartacus" is still months away, but Starz has already ordered a third season.
 
Starz announced on Monday (November 7) that the third season of "Spartacus" -- subtitle pending -- will begin production in New Zealand in early 2012. The renewal came only a week after Starz set a January 27, 2012 premiere for "Spartacus: Vengeance."
 
"There is no denying the impact 'Spartacus' has had in the marketplace with fans across the globe thirsting for the continuation of the epic tale," blurbs Starz Media Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik. "'Vengeance' brings unparalleled action and drama to Starz viewers in January. We are thrilled to come to an early agreement that allows the writers and talent to get right back to work in preparing for season three."
 
Starz gave a second season renewal to "Spartacus" far ahead of its series premiere, but "Spartacus: Vengeance" was delayed by star Andy Whitfield's battle with cancer, prompting Starz to order the prequel miniseries "Gods of the Arena," which premiered in January 2011. Whitfield, who tragically passed away in September at the age of 39, was replaced by "Neighbours" veteran Liam McIntyre for the upcoming season.
 
"Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" averaged 6.2 million total viewers per episode "across all linear channels and on-demand viewing."
 
"Many surprises are in store for "Vengeance" viewers this year, but rest assured the multi-layered plot and richly developed characters will continue to be a trademark of this series," states Rob Tapert, executive producer. "It’s incredibly gratifying to see how the story has resonated so well with viewers worldwide."
 
Adds executive producer Steven S. DeKnight, "The executives at Starz have been extremely supportive in giving us creative freedom and allowing us to tell the story in a rich, yet bold way that leaves an indelible mark on its fans."
 
While Starz' "Camelot" ended its run after one season, the premium cable network has already renewed the original drama "Boss" for a second season and set the new drama "Magic City" for an April 2012 premiere. Starz also recently ordered the David Goyer-created "Da Vinci's Demons" to series.