TV Press Tour roundup: 'Spartacus' premiere, Matthew McConaughey, 'Torchwood'

Andywhitfield_spartacusbloodandsand_290 Starz has set a premiere date for its new series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand." The action show will debut Jan. 22, 2010.

The show will air at 10 p.m. ET on Fridays, which is probably a good thing, because the show is about as TV-MA as TV-MA gets. The premium cable channel screened a more adult version of the trailer it showed at Comic-Con, featuring lots of spraying blood and more than a little bit of nudity.

"Spartacus" stars Andy Whitfield as the title character, a Roman slave-turned-gladiator who eventually leads a slave rebellion. Executive producer Steven S. DeKnight said Wednesday (July 29) at press tour that the show's first season would end with Spartacus beginning to lead the slave rebellion.

Starz has also picked up a new comedy series called "Failure to Fly" and has several other projects, including ones from Matthew McConaughey and "Party Down" co-creator Rob Thomas, in development.

"Failure to Fly" comes from creators Eric Schaeffer ("Starved," "If Lucy Fell") and Jill Franklyn ("Seinfeld") and revolves around the members of a support group for people who tried to commit suicide but didn't and are now giving life another change.

We mentioned it's a comedy, right? Schaeffer will also star in the show; other casting will be announced later. It's scheduled to premiere early next year.

Other Starz projects include "Jonah and the Whale," a McConaughey-produced comedy about a guy who's grown up in the shadow of his famous (and hard to live with) father; "Waterloo," in which "Party Down" and "Veronica Mars" vets Thomas and Dan Etheridge will tell the story of an up-and-coming band; and a romantic comedy produced by Martin Lawrence and written by "King of Queens" scribe Michael Soccio.

BBC America says the five-night "Torchwood: Children of Earth" miniseries that aired last week helped the channel to one of its most-watched weeks ever.

Garth Ancier, the president of BBC Worldwide America, didn't give specific numbers on the run, but he said the episodes drew "way up over a million viewers" -- not in the upper ranks of ad-supported cable by any means, but a solid number for the channel, which is in about 63 million homes.

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Related:

Starz releases a bloody good 'Spartacus' trailer
Comic-Con: 'Torchwood' and 'Being Human' get cheeky
Zap2it's summer TV press tour coverage