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October 6, 2015

Andy Whitfield

Starz Pays Tribute to Andy Whitfield With 'Spartacus' Marathon

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 16th 2011 1:15PM
Starz will pay tribute to the late Andy Whitfield by airing a 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' marathon Oct. 2.

The actor passed away Sept. 11 after an 18-month battle with cancer. As Friday's Starz press release noted, the 39-year old actor's "fans, friends, and colleagues alike have compared Whitefield's own persona, to that of the noble, brave, honorable gladiator character he played on screen."

The episodes to be screened starting at 9PM ET Oct. 2 will include the premiere and season finale. The other three episodes were not specified, but they will be "fan favorites" that "showcase his most memorable performances," according to the network.

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Trio of Talking TV Podcasts Take on Fall TV, FX Comedies and 'Boardwalk Empire'

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 15th 2011 2:30PM
The fall deluge is upon us, so to handle all the television that's coming at us, Ryan McGee and I cranked out three Talking TV podcasts this week.

Two of them are devoted to new fall programs. In the first one, we talk about new shows that air on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In the second podcast, we talk about new programs that air Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The third podcast has three main sections: The FX comedies 'Archer' and 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' (which return Thursday), a discussion of HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire' (which begins its second season Sept. 25) and a tribute to 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' actor Andy Whitfield, who passed away on Sunday.

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The Star Dies, But the Show Goes On

by Stephanie Earp, posted Sep 13th 2011 2:00PM

Maybe I've become complacent as medicine has progressed and diseases that used to be terrifying -- cancer, AIDS -- have become survivable. Even though actor Andy Whitfield had, for a second time, bowed out of his lead role in 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' to fight non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, it never crossed my mind that he would die at 39. Too young, too fit, too strong. I think of a lot of TV fans were shocked.

The first time Whitfield left the show, the series went to a short-run prequel focused on different characters. When it became clear Whitfield couldn't take up the mantle of Spartacus again, the role was recast and the series was set to return for a second season in January 2012.

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'Spartacus' Star Andy Whitfield Has Died at 39

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 11th 2011 10:25PM

Andy Whitfield, who played the title role in the first season of Starz's 'Spartacus,' passed away Sunday. The actor was 39.

"No words to express the depth of such a loss," 'Spartacus' creator Steven DeKnight said Sunday evening on Twitter. "You will be deeply missed, my brother."

According to a statement released to the AP by Whitfield's family, he died at home," on a sunny Sydney morning, in the "arms of his loving wife." His wife Vashti called him a "beautiful young warrior."

"He passed peacefully surrounded by love," said the statement from Vashti Whitfield. "Thank you to all his fans whose love and support have help carry him to this point. He will be remembered as the inspiring, courageous and gentle man, father and husband he was."

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'Spartacus' Creator Talks About Recasting the Title Role and What's to Come for the Gladiators

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jan 9th 2011 12:15PM
Though lead actor Andy Whitfield had to leave 'Spartacus' for health reasons last year and the drama's title role is being recast, the gladiator's journey is far from over.

On Friday, Starz president Chris Albrecht told journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour that the network had definitely decided to go forward with a second full season of 'Spartacus.' In an interview later that day, Albrecht said a new lead actor for the drama would be announced in "weeks" and the second season of 'Spartacus' would probably arrive in early 2012.

There are a "couple of very strong candidates" for the role of Spartacus, and season 2 should begin production in New Zealand in April, creator Steven S. DeKnight said in a Friday interview. But DeKnight added that the 'Spartacus' producers and Starz executives weren't always sure they'd go forward without Whitfield, who brought gravity and heart to the role of the famous warrior.

"It's unheard of to recast your titular character in a television show, and we did a lot of soul searching about whether we even wanted to try," DeKnight said. "And then Andy said, 'I really think the show should go forward without me. I give you the blessing. I want this story told.'"

Of course, fans won't have to wait a year to see the House of Batiatus gladiators again. 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,' a six-episode prequel season which does not feature Whitfield and which was filmed last year, debuts on Starz Jan. 21.

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'Spartacus' to Recast Lead Role

by Maureen Ryan, posted Oct 4th 2010 4:55PM
Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Starz is going to recast the title role of its hit gladiator drama, 'Spartacus.' A representative for the Starz network had no comment on the EW report.

It was heartbreaking to learn that 'Spartacus' star Andy Whitfield's cancer, which he'd battled earlier in the year, had recently returned, forcing him to drop out of production on the second season of the show.

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News Roundup: Cancer-Stricken 'Spartacus' Star Andy Whitfield May be Replaced, Weekend Ratings and More

by Jean Bentley, posted Sep 27th 2010 11:30AM
'Spartacus: Blood and Sand'With 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' star Andy Whitfield undergoing treatment for a relapse of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, producers are searching for ways to move forward with the show's second season. According to executive producer Steven S. DeKnight, there are currently two options for the series: recast Whitfield's role or end the series, EW reports.

"I want to talk to Andy and find out how he feels about the options," DeKnight said. "That's obviously very important to us."

The difficult decision to possibly recast was only made with Whitfield's approval -- he encouraged the producers to audition other actors for the role, according to The Hollywood Reporter. However, THR reports that producers, cast and crew are all devastated by Whitfield's illness and would like him to continue in the role. A decision will have to be made in the next eight weeks, when season 2 production is scheduled to begin.

In other TV news ...

DJ Pauly D might be the first 'Jersey Shore' cast member to get his own spinoff. According to a source, the new MTV reality show would be about the star's exploits DJing at nightclubs around the country. [Radar Online]

Steve Burke will replace Jeff Zucker as CEO of NBC Universal. Burke currently serves as COO. "Steve is one of the most well-respected executives in the industry," Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts said in a statement, "and I am confident that he will lead NBCU forward to a new era of growth." [Hollywood Insider]

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'Spartacus' Star Andy Whitfield Leaves Series After Cancer Recurs

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 20th 2010 7:15AM
Andy WhitfieldIt's been announced that Andy Whitfield will not be returning for the second season of 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' because his cancer has recurred.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Whitfield's doctors have advised him to "immediately resume aggressive treatment" for the cancer. He was diagnosed with Stage 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in early March, and production on season 2 was postponed while he underwent treatment.

But recently Whitfield had been in remission, and after being cleared by doctors to return to work, he'd been training hard for season 2. He even attended the 'Spartacus' panel at Comic-Con where he said he felt "better than ever."

In a statement, Whitfield said "It's with a deep sense of disappointment that I must step aside from such an exceptional project as 'Spartacus' and all the wonderful people involved. It seems that it is time for myself and my family to embark on another extraordinary journey. Thank you sincerely for the support so far."

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'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' ... and Dish at Comic Con

by Michael Maloney, posted Jul 24th 2010 12:45PM
spartacus_starz_logoThe cast of 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' including Andy Whitfield, Lucy Lawless, John Hannah, Viva Bianca and executive producer Stephen S. DeKnight met in rooms 6B, C and F at Comic Con on Friday to talk about the show's upcoming season.

DeKnight says there are changes ahead for the legendary title character in the Starz' series second season, which is set to return next January.

"As history tell us, [Spartacus] is going to become more and more socially conscious," the exec previews. "He's going to start to see outside of his need for revenge and vengeance. He ends up leading a slave rebellion that almost brings down the Republic. There are always going to be personal stories for him, but slowly, he's going to start to see the bigger picture and do something about it."

"But he's still going to kill a lot of people?" asked the moderator.

"Quite a few," DeKnight replied.

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'Spartacus' Prequel Heading to Starz

by Chris Harnick, posted May 11th 2010 5:15PM
Lucy LawlessStarz is rolling out a six-part prequel to its hit series 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand,' but with series star Andy Whitfield being treated for cancer, Lucy Lawless and John Hannah will be the focal point of the new show.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the series will follow Lucretia (Lawless) and Batiatus (Hannah) and their champions before Spartacus. Production on the second season of 'Spartacus' has been delayed due to Whitfield's cancer diagnosis. However, Whitfield will be making an appearance in the prequel series.

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How About 'James Bond: The TV Series?'

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 20th 2010 4:05PM
James Bond logoSo MGM announced yesterday that the next James Bond movie -- number 23, if you're keeping track -- has been put on hold "indefinitely" because the studio is for sale and they have no idea what's going on with it.

This is scary stuff. It reminds me of those awful years when everything was put on hold so long that Timothy Dalton said "the heck with this, yo" and left and they were without a Bond for a while. Everything turned out OK, as Pierce Brosnan was Bond for several flicks and then Daniel Craig for the reboot. Let's hope that things get settled before everyone decides to move on.

But it got me thinking: isn't it about time we had a 007 TV series? Why not?

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Starz 'Spartacus' Gaining In Popularity

by Brad Trechak, posted Apr 8th 2010 10:35AM
Spartacus: Blood and SandWe keep hearing about original series from paid channels like HBO or Showtime getting major kudos and ratings, but we never hear much about the original series from Starz, until now. Their series 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' has been picking up some serious numbers in terms of viewers since its premiere on January 22nd of this year.

The show has gotten lukewarm reviews from the critics. Perhaps it's the gladiatorial combat that draws in the viewers. Or perhaps it's the proliferation of sex in the series (including some nudity on the part of former 'Battlestar Galactica' cylon/'Xena: Warrior Princess,' Lucy Lawless). Or perhaps people are confusing it with the movie 'Spartacus' that starred Kirk Douglas and was directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Starz could very well become the Cinemax of scripted programming, relying on more adult original scripted programming with lots of sex and violence in order to be a player in the game along with HBO and Showtime. Time will tell.

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Second Season of 'Spartacus' Postponed Due to Star's Health Problems

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 9th 2010 6:15PM
SpartacusMichael Ausiello is reporting that filming of the second season of 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' has been put off temporarily because of health problems that star Andy Whitfield is experiencing.

Whitfield has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and is undergoing treatment in New Zealand. Fortunately, the illness was caught early and Whitfield's prognosis is great. The show was supposed to start filming season two later this month but they will hold off until Whitfield gets better.

'Spartacus' airs Friday nights at 10 PM ET on STARZ.

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Andy Whitfield Has Cancer; Season 2 of 'Spartacus' Delayed

by AOL TV Staff, posted Mar 9th 2010 3:30PM
Andy Whitfield'Spartacus' lead Andy Whitfield has been diagnosed with a treatable form of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

The Welsh-born actor is reportedly receiving immediate treatment in New Zealand, and is said to be "feeling strong, positive and determined," according to a statement posted on the Ausiello Files.

In the meantime, Starz Entertainment said that it will postpone production on season 2, titled 'Spartacus: Vengeance,' while Whitfield receives treatment for the disease.

For more on this story, visit PopEater.

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