Starz announced Friday that it is going ahead with the second of its hit drama series Spartacus without the series' cancer-stricken lead actor Andy Whitfield.
president and CEO Chris Albrecht told writers attending Starz'
Television Critics Association winter press tour presentation said the
network is in the process of finding a lead actor to replace Whitfield,
who decided not to return to the series after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last March, although Albrecht would not reveal any specific names.
"This will pick up where we last left Spartacus
and his gang of gladiators," Albrecht said. "We're very confident of
where we are in the casting process and that it will result in finding
someone that can step into Spartacus' sandals, although we will never be
able to truly replace Andy Whitfield."
Albecht also said the
network will continue to focus on dramatic programming and eschew comedy
fare for the foreseeable future, joking that the company overall is
"not a very funny group." Starz last June cancelled its two scripted
comedy series Party Down and Gravity.