‘Spartacus’ sturdy for Starz in return

Final season opens to 1.8 million for three Friday airings

The premiere episode of the final season of Starz original drama series “Spartacus” produced solid ratings on Friday night.

Starz said that the first episode of “Spartacus: War of the Damned” produced the second highest ratings for an original series premiere on the premium cabler, garnering a gross subscriber rating of 5.5 for its three airings. The 5.5 trails only the 2011 Spartacus prequel, “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena” (6.3), but was well ahead of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” (3.7) and “Spartacus: Vengeance” (4.7).

In total viewers, according to Nielsen data, the premiere drew 1.84 million on Friday night — 930,000 for the 9 p.m. premiere, 469,000 at 10 p.m. and 443,000 at 11. Starz said that preliminary totals for the weekend put the latest “Spartacus” at 2.5 million viewers.

According to Starz, the most recent season of the series, “Spartacus: Vengeance,” averaged more than 6 million viewers across multi-platform viewing, including DVR and on-demand.

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